Anti-abortion campaigners have accused the Government of using the issue of abortion pills to win votes ahead of this week’s referendum to liberalise Ireland’s laws.
Love Both legal adviser Caroline Simons claimed health minister Simon Harris was “cynically” using the problem to argue for a yes vote on Friday.
Her comments came after Mr Harris said terminations were a reality in Ireland due to the use of abortion pills.
Finally something I can agree with them on. Yes the issue of abortion pills is one of the reasons why I believe we should vote yes. It was also one of the reasons highlighted by the special all party committee. Termination is a reality for Irish women. We need to face realities https://t.co/oPI9ZV5Tu3— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 21, 2018
Voters will be asked whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which gives equal right to life of the mother and the unborn, and replace it with wording to allow parliament to legislate for terminations.
Ms Simons said instead of acting to address the issue, Minister Harris was expressing “a new found concern” about the health risks they posed.
“If the Minister was really concerned about abortion pills and the problem they represent, he would have done something practical about it such as promoting information about the dangers of abortion pills and resourcing the customs authorities to intercept them,” she said.
“The minister must stop cynically using the issue of abortion pills, which are a problem in the UK where abortion is available, to argue for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.”
She added it was “quite clear” that repealing the amendment would not mean the problem of importation and use of of abortion pills would suddenly disappear.
More than 3.2 million people are registered to vote in the referendum.