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Special Report by John Vennari
Former President Mary Robinson has called for abortion to be introduced in Ireland.
In a new book on her life, Mrs. Robinson said, "I would make abortion available in limited circumstances".
Mrs. Robinson, who had been President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, is now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Nov. 2, 1998 edition of The Irish Times, a leading newspaper in that country, reported her pro-abortion statements.
"It would be a kind of coming to terms with the problem instead of exporting and moralizing it," Mrs. Robinson is quoted as saying.
Robinson's use of the word "exporting" is bound to draw attention, since news reports from August and September, 1998 indicate that over 5,000 Irish women are traveling to Britain for abortions each year, a record high.
Though a recent poll shows 70 percent in Ireland oppose abortion in all circumstances, the government had indicated that a "green paper" about abortion will be published in the spring of the year 2000.
Various news reports indicate that pro-abortion advocates are fueling up for a national debate.
Support for abortion is coming from some unlikely sources. The Adelaide Hospital Society, a Protestant organization in Ireland that describes itself as a "Christian charitable organization committed to the sanctity of human life and dignity of the human person," argued for the introduction of legalizing abortion in some strictly defined cases during the first eight weeks of gestation.
On the other hand, the Nov. 4 edition of The Irish Times printed a letter from the Benedictine monk, Dominic Johnson from Glenstal Abbey in Limerick. Father Johnson said that he had removed the framed photograph of himself and Mrs. Robinson that was hanging in his office and "tore up the negative" in an act of silent protest against the former President's call for the legalization of abortion.
"Mrs. Robinson's office at present is United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights," said Father Johnson, "What a contradiction in terms! Unborn children are human beings with the basic human right to life. They are human beings with potential: they are not potential human beings. The commissioner would deny them their human right to life in limited circumstances'."