The Irish Country Women’s Association (ICA) has not distanced itself from a new campaign by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) to repeal the Eighth amendment and introduce ‘safe, legal’ abortion to Ireland”. The ICA is a member of the Women’s Council.
Asked by The Irish Catholic if the ICA also wanted ‘safe and legal abortion’, an ICA representative said the organisation would not comment and was leaving the issue of abortion to individual members to “vote with their consciences”.
Commenting on the ICA position, a spokesman from the Iona Institute said, “the refusal by the ICA to distance itself from the policy of the NWCI makes it look like the ICA is endorsing the NWCI position on abortion. It should distance itself from it.”
Earlier this week the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) sharply criticised the NWCI’s decision to campaign publicly for the dismantling of the pro-life amendment to the Constitution.
“It is a scandal that a tax payer funded group like the NWCI is openly campaigning for abortion and that Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald appears to see nothing wrong with that,” said Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald launched the Council’s four year plan ‘2016 – 2020: Driving Women’s Equality’ at the NWCI’s recent AGM, which calls for “full reproductive choice for Irish women in the coming debate and possible referendum.”
According to the last audited accounts on the NWCI website, it received €397,595 of its total grant aid of €475,800, from government sources.
The NWCI has 170 member groups including Abortion Rights Campaign, Action for Choice, Doctors for Choice and Termination for Medical Reasons.
Other groups represented by the Council are the Irish Countrywoman’s Association (ICA), Irish Girl Guides and the Methodist Women in Ireland.
NWCI director Orla O’Connor told The Irish Catholic that its policies are set at the AGM through motions put by its members.
The motion backing the introduction of “free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland” was the culmination of a number of other motions passed by members over the last 15 years.