A demonstration in Dublin has heard criticism of “extreme” abortion law recommendations.
Thousands attended the March for Life event in the capital from St Stephen’s Green to Leinster House.
It came as an independent review into Ireland’s abortion legislation has recommended the removal of the current mandatory three-day waiting period between the certification of a termination of pregnancy and the procedure taking place.
It said this should be replaced with a statutory right of a woman to a reflection period which she may exercise at her own discretion.
It is set to be referred to the Oireachtas health committee.
Speakers at Monday’s rally criticised the government, saying it had allowed the review to focus on paving the way for wider access to abortion.
Campaign spokesperson Eilis Mulroy slammed the report as “extreme and one-sided”.
“The recommendation to scrap the life-saving three-day reflection period before an abortion happens is reckless and the proposal to decriminalise abortion entirely, would, if given effect, clear the way abortion on request up to birth,” she contended.
Ms Mulroy also criticised the report saying it “undermines freedom of conscience protections for healthcare workers”, and also “misleadingly presents abortion, which ends a human life, as healthcare”.
She voiced concern that government will “placate the very vocal and never satisfied pro-abortion lobby”.
“We are determined to ensure this doesn’t happen. It’s not just people who voted No to abortion in the 2018 referendum who will be troubled by this report, but I’ve no doubt that many people who voted Yes in 2018 will also be alarmed at the push for more abortion instead of looking for ways to reduce the abortion rate,” she said.
Expanded access to abortion was enacted in Ireland following a referendum which repealed the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution in May 2018.
Aontu leader and TD for Meath West Peadar Toibin told the crowd that the number of abortions rose by 25 per cent in the last year.
“In the four years that the law has been in place nearly 28,500 babies have been aborted. It’s the equivalent of 1,228 classrooms for children. It is the equivalent to the population of Kilkenny city,” he said.
“When the leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael campaigned for abortion to be introduced, they identified specific protections and safeguards, yet less than five years later, it looks like the government is seeking to dismantle what few protections and safeguards were included.”
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By Rebecca Black, PA