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7 March 2018

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'Time to trust women' says Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald following Supreme Court ruling no rights of the unborn

“We have a historic responsibility to get this right. It is time to trust women. Respect and compassion for women must prevail. It is time to allow doctors to do their job and it is time for us, as legislators, to do ours.” - Mary Lou Mc Donald TD

Sinn Féin President, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has said that there is no basis for any further delay of the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment of the constitution, following today’s Supreme Court’s ruling on the rights of the unborn.

The Supreme Court ruled today that the unborn has no rights under the Constitution other than the right to life in the Eighth amendment. This comes after the government appealed a previous High Court finding

The decision of the seven judge court, led by Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke, was unanimous. They found that the unborn did not have constitutionally protected rights other than those expressly set out in the Eighth Amendment.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, Deputy McDonald welcomed that the ruling has cleared the way to advance the Referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The Dublin Central TD said: “Taoiseach, I understand that you had a concern for legal clarity before advancing with the legislation.

“But now matters have been clarified, there is no reason or basis for any further delay. The Eighth Amendment represents a real and ongoing threat to the health and lives of Irish women.”

As it currently stands, the Eighth Amendment casts a cold shadow on medical practice. The threat of criminal sanctions hangs over doctors, when making medical decisions in the best interests of the health of women.

Today’s Supreme Court decision means that Government can now go ahead with planning for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, planned for the end of May.

With time ticking by, the Sinn Féin President pointed out the urgency needed in getting the process of moving the Referendum Bill started.

Deputy McDonald said: “Now that we have legal clarity, and given the unanimity of the Supreme Court decision, can I put it to you that the Cabinet meets with the Attorney General today on this matter?

“Also, that the legislation is published today and that the Business Committee meets today to schedule a debate starting tomorrow? And that we have a full day sitting on Friday to advance the legislation?

In her support for the ‘Repeal The 8th campaign, Deputy McDonald highlighted the need for a creation of a better Ireland for women, and to ensure that they will no longer be faced with the injustices that generations of Irish women have had to endure.

Deputy McDonald said: “The referendum will be about the whole of Irish society finally joining together and saying that women are entitled to their fundamental right to healthcare.

“We have a historic responsibility to get this right. It is time to trust women. Respect and compassion for women must prevail. It is time to allow doctors to do their job and it is time for us, as legislators, to do ours.”

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