Why it’s time to DEFUND the National Women’s Council

Why it’s time to DEFUND the National Women’s Council

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is arguably the most vocal group campaigning for wider access to abortion in Ireland.

As a taxpayer funded body, they have been leading the pro-abortion charge for more abortion for years, becoming ever more extreme as time passes.

In April 2022, the NWCI called for abortion on request up to viability to be legalised, in a presentation to the Oireachtas Health Committee. It is also one of the recommendations they made to the Government’s Three Year Review on the abortion law.

Viability or the cusp of viability is a stage in pregnancy where unborn babies are known to survive outside the womb, like the example recently of baby Hector Tully from Edinburgh who was born prematurely at 23 weeks.

“Viability” is an ever-changing term with all the medical advances taking place. Babies can survive at stages much earlier today than many medics would have thought possible even a decade ago. Look at the law in Britain, where abortion is legal, effectively on request up to 24 weeks.

Calling for abortion on request up to viability and even beyond is a very extreme proposal by any standard. It is not just people who voted No to abortion in 2018 who would oppose such a change but the vast majority of the voting public.

The NWCI has a history of intervening in the abortion debate at critical junctures in order to pile on the pressure for the changes they want to see. Right now, they are exerting pressure to influence the outcome of the Three Year Review of the abortion law. While it is an utterly predictable ploy it’s also a deeply troubling and undemocratic one.

The NWCI still likes to create a public impression that they represent ALL women, when clearly they don’t.

They NEVER consult with or seek the opinions of say groups like Women Hurt, a group that represents women who regret their abortions. Not only do they refuse to reach out to such groups, they are openly hostile and dismissive towards them.

When Women Hurt launched a totally inoffensive billboard campaign some years back to publicise their existence, the NWCI attacked the initiative calling it “harsh, cruel and unhelpful.”

In their annual report for 2021, the NWCI say they received €1,139,544 in total income. Of this, at least €962,791 is directly related to receipt of state funding, accounting for 84.5 percent of their total income. For a taxpayer funded group like the NWCI who are meant to represent the concerns of all women, to never seek the views or represent the concerns of women who oppose abortion is utterly indefensible.

More than 1 in 3 women voted No to abortion in 2018. What right does the NWCI have to ignore the voices and opinions of these women? What right does the NWCI have to spend taxpayers’ money to propagate its own narrow and exclusive agenda? It is a scandal that they are treated as a key “stakeholder” by the Government when it comes to influencing the work of the Three Year Review of the abortion law. Over the past two years, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and his staff met with the NWCI on numerous occasions to discuss the content and parameters of the review of the abortion law taking place.

It is emblematic of the entire process surrounding the three-year-review, where only the most radical pro-abortion groups were consulted by the Government. This farce – and farce is what it is, cannot continue.

We are supposed to live in a democracy where different viewpoints, experiences and perspectives are respected and represented in the decision making process. There isn’t a more glaring example than the NWCI where democracy and accountability is dispensed with to pave the way for a select and unrepresentative group of people to push their extreme agenda uninterrupted.

What’s being allowed to happen is shameful and undemocratic.

It’s time to DEFUND the National Women’s Council and start over.

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