By Nyrenee Bailey and Cillian Ryan
PRO Choice TD Ruth Coppinger has described the government’s establishment of a citizen’s assembly to examine Ireland’s abortion laws as a “craggy island” solution to the issue.
The Anti Austerity Alliance TD made her comments at a discussion on repealing the 8th amendment held in Limerick on Saturday.
Speaking at the event the ROSA (Reproductive rights against oppression, sexism and austerity) activist claimed the Dáil does not represent the general consensus of the country.
“For 33 years they’ve tried to sweep this under the carpet and I think there’s recognition amongst people that we should provide abortion in our health care system here.
“We are not going to let this drop. Now is the time,” she said.
According to Deputy Coppinger the only impediment to this bill is Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, who have “conspired” to keep this off the government agenda by setting up the citizen’s assembly, which she said was a “craggy island solution” to the issue.
The Anti Austerity Alliance TD also warned of the dangers of simply replacing the 8th amendment.
“We need to be aware of the tactical things that may come up,” she said.
Activist Laura Fitzgerald also spoke at the event and mentioned the need to “fundamentally break the oppressive past” and to “fully separate” the Catholic Church from the state.
Ms. Fitzgerald expressed her opinion on the repeal and feminism movement stating; “I’m extremely optimistic we can challenge a violently backwards and misogynistic state”.
Dave Longan, a student from Waterford said: “I’m of the opinion that the ideologies of things like the repeal movement only really grow stronger through debate and discussion.”
Student James Pippin said forcing a woman to proceed with an unwanted pregnancy is inhuman.
“Whether it comes from rape or anything, for the state to come out and say that you have to continue with that pregnancy and force that trauma on the woman is not fair, it’s inhuman,” he said.
A further protest organised by the Repeal the 8th movement will take place outside the Dáil on October 25. This will coincide with a bill appealing for repeal that Ruth Coppinger is putting before the Dáil on that date.
During her speech in Dolan’s, the AA-PBP TD recalled a debate she witnessed in Limerick on the topic of the 8th amendment, which she said “consisted of old men talking about the 8th”, and claimed this was “part of the problem”.
When asked later to clarify her point she said:
“There is a bit of a problem with elderly men talking about what effects women of child bearing age. How could that be right? It would be like me pontificating about black rights, or other rights that don’t actually impact me.”