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Irish Voters Reject Abortion Referendum

March 7, 2002

Defeat for Catholic Bishops

Washington, DC–Catholics for a Free Choice President Frances Kissling issued the following statement today:

We are gratified that the Catholic people of Ireland—in spite of the heavy lobbying by Irish bishops—defeated the Government’s referendum on abortion.

At the same time, we remain concerned that Irish women’s access to legal abortion is so severely restricted.  We think that the question of abortion, while morally complex, is best left to the consciences of individual women, their doctors and families.

We believe that consensus will grow and the restrictive laws on abortion in Ireland will change.

On Monday, an international coalition of CFFC and Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Catholics for the Right to Decide) groups from countries where the church hierarchy has strong political influence—Brazil, Bolivia, Spain, Chile, México, Colombia, France, Canada, United States and Córdoba, Argentina—urged citizens not to “turn back the clock” in Ireland to the Dark Ages and deny suicidal women the right to an abortion in their own country.