English abortion law is Irish abortion law if Eighth Amendment is retained, says legal expert

By Elaine Loughlin
Political Correspondent

As long as the Eighth Amendment is retained, "English abortion law is Irish abortion law" a legal expert has said.

Attending an event to "debunk the myths" around repealing the Eighth Amendment, Prof Fiona De Londras said a number of arguments put forward in the referendum debate are "clearly misleading".

Minister Josepha Madigan, who also attended the event in Dublin this morning, hit out at those who are "deliberately propagating mistruths" ahead of the referendum.

Speaking after canvassing commuters in Dublin city centre this morning, Ms Madigan, who is leading Fine Gael's campaign for a Yes vote, suggested people should complain about any posters they find "offensive" to the gardaí.

She said the Yes side will not be putting up any posters which are "particularly graphic" as she said this "doesn't particularly encourage people in any positive way to engage in the campaign".

"We are not about scaremongering or trying to alienate people."

Prof De Londras, an Irish academic and professor of Global Legal Studies at the University of Birmingham, moved to call out mistruths and misinformation and state the facts.

"One of the most powerful bits of this is actually teaching people about English abortion law and how that works and people tend to think that it's completely extreme or not appropriate for Ireland but the reality is that as long as the Eighth Amendment is in place, English abortion law is Irish abortion law.

"If people think it is too extreme then the solution is to repeal the Eighth Amendment and introduce an Irish law that strikes a balance that we think more aligns with what you would want to achieve in this country," she said.

She added that the introduction of abortion, along with other supports, such as consent classes, freely available contraception and financial and structural supports for women can, in fact, reduce the number of terminations.

"We know that making abortion illegal doesn't stop abortion, just like making abortion legal doesn't create abortion," she said.

"Social conditions determine in many ways rates of abortion and the law is there to support people to make decisions in conjunction with these others parcels and that's what is reflected in the ancillary recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly."

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