Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Leslie Hughes has been selected by Sinn Féin to head the party's campaign in Waterford to repeal the 8th amendment. Leslie, who is a Sinn Féin area representative for Waterford City West, said "I am delighted to have been chosen by my colleagues to head Sinn Féin's repeal the 8th campaign in Waterford. Repeal of the 8th Amendment is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that Irish women have access to proper and appropriate healthcare.

"The 8th Amendment should never have been placed in our Constitution. Bitter experience over decades demonstrates this.

"It is essential to recall real cost to women and girls of the Eighth amendment:

"In the 1992 X-Case, a suicidal girl of 14, the child victim of a rape, was prevented by the High Court from travelling abroad to obtain an abortion.

"It has caused countless women and families with the trauma of a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality to be forced to make a harrowing journey abroad.

"It has created an alphabet roll call of women's suffering, women who in many cases sought relief in international courts and tribunals to recognise their suffering and the cruelty of our state.

"It cost the life of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 while miscarrying was denied an abortion that could have saved her life. She died after doctors refused to carry out the necessary procedure due to the legal ambiguity and uncertainty created by the 8th Amendment.

"In 2015, a pregnant mother was kept on life-support for 24 days after she was declared medically brain-dead because a foetal heartbeat was detected in her womb. When her family asked that life support be removed, their request was denied because of the 8th Amendment, despite the fact that the baby had no chance of survival. It took a legal appeal by her family to High Court for her life support to be switched off.

"We as a society must demand and ensure that there are no more hard cases, no more Savita's and no more traumatised women. The state must not force a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term. Women and families faced with the devastating diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality can no longer be denied care, comfort and choice here in their home country. Doctors must be free to do their job; they must be able to take medical decisions in the interests of women without the threat of a criminal sanction hanging over them."

Mrs Hughes concluded "It is time to trust women. It is time to allow doctors to do their jobs. The 8th Amendment is a relic of an Ireland of the past. Yet, it restricts the rights of women in the here and now and affects our future in such a profound way."


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