|Association of Catholic Lawyer of Ireland|
|October 20, 2007|
IRISH AND AMERICAN CATHOLIC LAWYERS ASSOCIATIONS SUPPORT PRO LIFE MOTION BEFORE STORMONT.The newly formed Association of Catholic Lawyers of Ireland (ACLI) has written in support of the Pro Life motion tabled by Mr Jeffrey Donaldson and Mrs Iris Robinson.
Co-Signatories to the letter, which has been sent to various papers , are the American Catholic Lawyers Association (ACLA), a group which has much experience since 1990 in representing Pro Life litigants and defendants in America. .
Mrs Johanna Higgins, Barrister and co-founder of the ACLI says; The group was formed mainly in response to the attempts to introduce abortion into our society by whatever means.
Mrs Higgins further states I have worked for some years on a charitable basis for pro life groups and wanted to formalise this work with the formation of the ACLI.
We were delighted to receive the support of Mr Christopher Ferrara on behalf of the ACLU which has some great pro life victories under its belt.
Mrs Higgins has been advising Precious Life regarding the Draft Abortion Guidelines issued by the Department of Health. She has written a Briefing Paper on the Guidelines which lays out the main legal faults and concerns and consolidates a more detailed legal submission which was presented to the Department last April.
It is of great concern that the Department of Health could have made such glaring errors in law and effectively produced guidance, which if implemented could lead to a very liberal interpretation of the law.
We feel it is vitally important to support our MLAs who are standing forward on this issue and who are acting in the interests of justice for the unborn child. stated Mrs Higgins.
Note to Editors:
Mrs Higgins is available for comment on 02870835914
The full text of the letter reads:
With regard to the proposed parliamentary motion before the Northern Irish Assembly tabled by Mr Jeffrey Donaldson MLA MP and Mrs Iris Robinson MLA MP against the Draft Abortion Guidelines issued by the Department of Health we should like to make the following comments.
There exist in the North of Ireland two statutes which contain the two offences of Illegal Abortion and Child Destruction. These are serious Criminal offences both of which carry possible life sentences. It is our view that the Draft Guidelines put forward by the Department of Health misrepresent the legal position in this jurisdiction with regard to these offences. The effect of that misrepresentation will, in our opinion, lead to an increase in the deliberate abortion of unborn children. If these direct abortions are carried out as a result of misrepresentation, and are in fact illegal then , as with all criminal activity, there will have to be appropriate action taken against the perpetrators. Such is the magnitude of the task of explaining the law on this matter.
As lawyers we find it is our clear duty to stand against such wrongful interpretation of the law. Especially because in this case the law protects the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn child. It is an injustice to both the people of a country and to the rule of law itself to treat with contempt the true meaning of a statute.
Those of us who live in countries where we have had to sustain the moral horror of virtually freely accessible abortion due to, what is in our view, the corruption of social justice, have long held in high regard the people of the North and South of Ireland and their refusal to countenance liberal abortion.
We therefore wholeheartedly support the Pro Life motion tabled by Mr Jeffrey Donaldson and Mrs Iris Robinson and pray that it is successful and that the unborn remain protected, as was the intention of the persons who drafted the above laws in good faith.
Mrs Johanna Higgins LLB, Barrister
Ms Geraldine Foley LLB, Barrister
Miss Karen McMillan LLB, Barrister
Association of Catholic Lawyers of Ireland
Mr Christopher A. Ferrara, J.D., Attorney
President and Chief Counsel
American Catholics Lawyers Association, Inc.