In ten days' time the Irish will vote on whether an amendment to their constitution that bans abortion in almost every situation should be repealed. The government is pushing for liberalisation and wants all abortions before the twelfth week of pregnancy to be legalised. A fierce debate about the pros and cons of such a move is raging in the country's media.
Abortion ban is cruel
The current abortion ban represents an inadmissible intrusion in women's private sphere, columnist Gene Kerrigan criticises in The Irish Independent:
“The 'pro-life' forces have nothing to say to raped and pregnant children, or to raped and pregnant women. And if a woman knows that the foetus inside her will at best live just long enough to lose the fight to breathe they nevertheless demand that she see the pregnancy through. In this stark view of the world, there's no place for a woman's intellect or conscience. The choice, whatever circumstances she might face, has already been made. ... There is not another measure implemented in the history of the state that is so intrusive, so authoritarian in personal matters, so cruel in its effects as the Eighth Amendment.”
Avoid a situation like that in Germany
Thanks to modern prenatal diagnostics the number of abortions of babies with disabilities in Ireland would increase if the ban is lifted, as it already has in Germany, columnist Breda O'Brien warns in The Irish Times:
“However, if the Eighth is not retained, suppose a woman, Anne, opts for NIPT at 10 weeks. Some companies guarantee a result in five days. Given that a positive diagnosis is 99 per cent accurate, Anne might then ask for an abortion. No reason will be required. ... Before the last German election, Natalie Dedreux, a teenager with Down syndrome, asked Angela Merkel why nine out of 10 babies with Down syndrome are aborted in Germany. Merkel was visibly discomfited and had no answer. Neither will we if this referendum is passed.”