A Derry doctor will urged republicans and leftists conscientiously opposed to the liberalisation of abortion law in Ireland to oppose the Repeal the Eighth Amendment campaign in the South, and the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to the North, at a meeting in the Tower Hotel in Derry at 7.30pm tonight, Thursday, January 26.
Dr. Anne McCloskey, who stood as an independent in the Assembly election to Foyle last May, said the Cherish All The Children Equally Human Rights Association, is hosting the meeting in opposition to an increase in access to abortion services on the island.
“We are looking at this from a human rights basis,” she said.
“We are a secular organisation. People who have very strong religious views are welcome but we also have a healthy smattering of atheists and agnostics and it’s really to counter this nonsense that, you know, if you are pro-life you are anti-women in some way.”
The group, which includes well-known Dungiven republicans Anne and Francie Brolly, claims it is opposed to the removal of the Eight Amendment of Article 40 of the Irish Constitution on human rights grounds.
The clause that “the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right” was inserted into Article 40, which deals with fundamental personal rights, in 1983.
Dr. McCloskey claimed the spirit of the provision can be traced back to the 1916 Proclamation and its demand that the Irish Republic “cherish all the children equally”.
The Shantallow GP, whilst refusing to rule out another run in Foyle in March, said the group would be urging all candidates to declare their positions.
“We would like candidates to stand up for the rights of the unborn,” she said.
“We would like them to declare their support for the notion that people with disability shouldn’t be treated any differently from any other child.”
Asked about the dilemma faced by women who receive a perinatal diagnosis that the child they are carrying is suffering from a fatal foetal abnormality, Dr. McCloskey said there were alternatives to abortion.
“What we are calling for is for people to be offered a comprehensive perinatal care package, which includes hospice care and stuff like that.
“It is known in places like America that this actually works, that you get better outcomes for people,” said Dr. McCloskey.