Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Effect of Losing the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act sections 58 & 59

A meeting of pro-life groups under the banner of Ireland United for Life took place in Knock on Saturday 9th February. A statement from Johanna Higgins LLB, of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland, Inner Temple, London and Kings Inns Dublin, Barrister, was read out during the meeting. This statement highlighted what the effect would be of losing the 1861 Act’s 58/59, which is law throughout the whole of Ireland.  
“If the 1861 Act were to be repealed in the Republic of Ireland it would be a disastrous matter for the Unborn Child and for the country [Ireland] North and South. The 1861 Act has prevented the mutilation of Irish babies for over 150 years. This protection has resisted the greatest attacks of the pro abortion movement through the worst years of a culture of murder, which has claimed the lives or untold millions of children worldwide.  There is no exception to the Illegal abortion offence contained in the Act, notwithstanding what some may wish. It is a serious crime to take the life of an Unborn Child in Ireland, whatever the circumstances, and if we want to protect the Unborn Children of the future, we must protect the 1861 Act which protects the Unborn. 
The X Case decision on the Constitutional provision directly clashes with the 1861 Act. This is why the abortionists call for "legislation for the x case", because the legislation, that is the 1861 Act, DOES NOT ALLOW FOR THE X CASE.   
If a doctor induced an Unborn Child in the Republic, causing its abortion, or killed that child in the womb and delivered it dead, it would be a jury in a criminal trial who would decide whether or not he had a defence. The X case has not legalised abortion, because the 1861 Act is still in place.
The X case is a perverse decision which resulted in the Constitutional provision, which was meant to protect the statutory prohibition against abortion (1861 Act), actually being used to undermine the statutory prohibition.
The repeal of the 1861 Act would be a resounding success for the global abortion movement. Any substitute legislation would be less than the protection which the 1861 Act has afforded our Unborn Children thus far. Any legislation which had ANY exception in its text would be an open door for liberalised abortion in Ireland. Drafting legislation is a very delicate matter. History shows us that even clauses which intend to tighten up the law have lead to the opposite happening due to liberal interpretations, as in the case of the Pro Life Constitutional Provision and the X case. 
For the North of Ireland the repeal of the 1861 Act, in the Republic, would bring great pressure to bear. The abortion providers in Britain will surely waste no time in repealing the 1861 Act, which is still in place in Britain. The 1967 Act was only introduced as medical grounds for abortion. It was later expanded to mean abortion to full term. The leading abortionists have only dreamed of the chance to repeal the 1861 Act, which would make abortion on demand a legal reality. What then for the Irish Unborn Babies in the North of Ireland?
The Irish Medical Council guidelines DO NOT accurately reflect the law. The Irish Media DO NOT accurately reflect the law, and, unfortunately, due to propaganda, many well meaning people DO NOT accurately state the law.  Abortion is a serious criminal offence, a defendant in a criminal trial before a jury may have a defence. That is not an exception to a law, just as defence to murder or rape is never described as an exception.   
Abortion must be described in a criminal context. The abortionists have expended a lot of money medicalising the terminology of abortion. The pro life movement must regain the notion that abortion is a serious criminal offence and treat the criminal law protecting the Unborn Child as seriously as we treat the criminal laws which protect us."
(Johanna Higgins LLB, of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland, Inner Temple, London and  Kings Inns Dublin, Barrister. Appointed as a Senior Public Prosecutor NI in 2003. Mrs Higgins has advised the All Party Pro Life Group, Stormont, on the Criminal Law of Abortion. She has published "A Statement on the Criminal Law of Abortion and Child Destruction in Northern Ireland", which was launched in Stormont in 2011.)