Ex-Supreme Court judge rejects alternative to Eighth Amendment

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness
Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness has said a replacement clause on abortion should not be introduced to the Constitution if the Eighth Amendment is repealed.

The retired Supreme Court judge said that legislation was “the available alternative” to the constitutional clause which underpins restricted access to abortion in Ireland, rejecting arguments that a less strict clause should be added as a replacement.

However, Mrs Justice McGuinness also told the Irish Independent that any new legislation needed to be understood and accepted by the general public.

She added: “Perhaps too much scorn has been poured on the Taoiseach’s suggestion of a public discussion.”

Mrs Justice McGuinness spoke to the newspaper after launching the second volume of The Abortion Papers last night, a collection of academic and personal essays written after the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Ms Halappanavar’s death at a Galway hospital in 2012 as a result of pregnancy complications sparked controversy because her repeated requests for an abortion in the days leading up to her death were denied.

A claim for damages against the Health Services Executive will be brought to the High Court in Dublin by husband Praveen Halappanavar in March next year.

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