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Swedish MP: I don't want to force abortion on Ireland

James Savage · 4 Aug 2009, 08:27

Published: 04 Aug 2009 08:27 GMT+02:00

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Birgitta Ohlsson, chairwoman of the centre-right Liberal Party's women's movement, launched a petition last month calling for abortion to be legalised throughout the European Union. The petition, entitled 'Make Noise for Free Choice' is aimed at Ireland, Poland and Malta, all Catholic countries that ban pregnancy terminations.

"From a liberal perspective, the right to abortion is not just a Swedish or European issue, it's a global issue," Ohlsson said.

The petition calls on the European Union "to secure the right to free, safe and legal abortions and render it a human right." It calls for the issue to be reclassified across the union as a human rights issue, rather than be dealt with as a health issue as at present.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission must consider proposing Europe-wide legislation if one million signatures can be collected calling for action on a given issue.

The decision to link the abortion question to the treaty has alarmed some pro-Lisbon Irish politicians. Fianna Fáil MEP Brian Crowley told the Irish Times that supporters of the petition "either don't know what is in the EU treaties or are engaging in publicity-seeking stupidity."

Ireland has been issued additional guarantees by the European Council that the treaty will not be used to impose abortion laws.

But speaking to The Local on Monday, Ohlsson denied she wanted Europe-wide legislation:

"We are not pushing for a European law. We're not seeking to change Irish law," she said. If the target of one million signatures was reached, "the Commission would need to raise the issue, but they cannot force countries to do anything."

Story continues below…

The petition "is also a great opportunity to support activists in Malta, Ireland or Poland," Ohlsson added.

At the time of writing, the petition had been signed by slightly more than 4,000 people.

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James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:55 August 4, 2009 by voiceofreason
Liberal (publicity-seeking) terrorists, that's what they are. They try to force their will on every body. They stand for nothing but fall for everything (Populism).

Who ever said liberals hold all the wisdom and knowledge in this world to dictate to others what they should permit and not.
10:58 August 4, 2009 by Puffin
You do understand what the term "Liberal" means in the traditional sense that it is used in Europe? - it stands for

- individual rights

- business

- free trade

You are not confusing it with the way that the term is used in the US I hope
11:24 August 4, 2009 by bocale1
Giving people the right to choose does not mean forcing anybody to do anything.

Actually, in countries that have allowed abortion, the number of cases have decreased year by year.

It is only a matter of making legal practices that already exist underground and assuring better safety for women.

Said that, I think that Irish people are mature enough to decide by themselves.
12:30 August 4, 2009 by conboy
In 92 the Irish Supreme Court ruled that the unavailability of abortion in Ireland for women was unconstitutional assuming that womens lives were at risk. They issued a judegement and a recommendation to the two house of the Oireachtas that legislation for abortion be introduced. The Muppets in Dail Eireann have done NOTHING about it since then. Discussing this issue in the context is a complete red herring!

Ohlsson might want a European law but as an Irish citizen I would prefer it if Irish politicians would get up off their substantial rear ends and do what they are paid to do i.e. Legislate!
12:41 August 4, 2009 by Nemesis
As someone who grew up in aborder area in Ireland I am glad to see this woman raise the issue. In the south of Ireland and the north religeous groups control most choices for women.

Choice is not forcing abortion on people. Choice gives women freedom to choose for themselves.

Ireland is still a backward state, contrary to what you may have heard about the celtic tiger. I have seen the high level of church control, not just catholic but prodestant as well.

Religeous backwardness needs to be swept away in Ireland and Ireland needs to be brought at least into the 18th century if not the 21st century.
13:13 August 4, 2009 by Beavis
1 small fact..Ireland is not a "Catholic country". The church and government tries to meddle as much as possible , but the majority of the people have moved on. Anyhow a couple of weeks ago they snook in new laws (the same way the swedish state snook in the privacy law in April) without the consent of the people. So from October, blastphamy will become illegal! (With a 25,000 euro fine to boot!) (So discussing abortion in public is illegal)

Im quite happy to have Swedish and other euro politians impose their laws on Ireland as much as they want, otherwise its back to the Ireland of 1925 literally..
18:50 August 4, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"Ireland is not a "Catholic country".

Nonsense. If its not Catholic then what is it? I wouldn't call Ireland truly secular as the Catholic Church is still highly influential in politics, albiet less than even a generation ago.
19:47 August 4, 2009 by Beavis
Saying Ireland is a catholic country is like saying Sweden is a protestant country. The church still meddles in the affairs of state but no longer holds the position it once did. So secular with some meddling
19:50 August 4, 2009 by Nemesis
A few facts are needed here. The Republic of Ireland is a catholic state and was bordering on fundementalism until 25 years ago.

Ireland has been bled dry by the catholic church for decades. The chuch ran workhouses in which women and children were worked to death for the profit of the church.

Take a look at this site to childabusecommission.ie to see where the insidsuous nature of the catholic church went in Irish society. Since that report, the catholic church is still running all the schools and hospitals.

Also Northern Ireland is dominated by the catholic church, Free Presbyterian's and other prodestant churches.

Regarding the new blasphemy laws in Ireland, it will be technically illegal to talk about priests abusing children or question the catholic church being in charge of all schools and hospitals. Ireland has just taken a step backwards that could technically take it back to the inquisition.
21:10 August 4, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"Saying Ireland is a catholic country is like saying Sweden is a protestant country. "

Wrong again Beavis. There is no real real comparison between Sweden and Ireland. The church hasn't been involved in Swedish politics directly for several generations. The Catholic church still usurps a lot of influence in Ireland.
21:33 August 4, 2009 by Beavis
Really now Ted, what exactly are the "Christian democrats"?

"Since that report, the catholic church is still running all the schools and hospitals" er nope.Only 50% of hospitals now.And scbools are not all run by the catholic church, even when they had the most power they were not. (Take for example Mount Temple where U2 formed in the '70s.)Yes the church was evil to the core and still is (im not disagreeing) but to say the state is Catholic is incorect.Take a look at this website.At least 75% of Ireland is now non-catholic.The figures show that most of the population are catholic due to people being born into a religion-leaving and still being counted.

22:36 August 4, 2009 by Rebel
Let the Irish and the Poles vote on the issues themselves and not have the EU try to impose anything on them. Hey wait, let them do it! Then we can see Ireland and Poland leve the EU once and for all. Poland can get access to Russian markets again and Ireland doesn't really need the EU anymore either.
12:09 August 5, 2009 by Nemesis

In the coutry areas about 90% of schools are chruch run. Only in Dublin and cork is the percentage lower. The same applies to the hospitals. Dublin figures never apply to the rest of Ireland.

As for your statement that 75% of Ireland is non catholic, that is nonsense. Tell that to anyone who is not catholic and living there. If 75% of Ireland was non catholic there would be very quick changes in the society.

The Irish need to stop voting the way there grandparents voted. Also religeon needs to be banned in Ireland and declared a mental disorder. All church assets should be seized by the state, as it was the taxpayers who paid for it all anyway. Churches should be turned into bars, nigthclubs, social centres, etc. Then maybe the country can start to advance to about the 11th century.
15:13 August 5, 2009 by ooh456
Religion is a mental disorder, Nemesis. Didn't you get the memo?
17:10 August 5, 2009 by Beavis
Ok slight correction, 75% are non practicing catholics.

I agree with their assets being seized.The cathoic church need to be made pay (literally) for their sins.:)
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