It's slightly ironic, given the current situation, that the new release of State papers illustrates concerns held by two Attorneys General in 1982 over the possible implications of the Pro Life Amendment.
This was despite the government being warned by attorney general Patrick Connolly SC that a “pro-life” amendment “might well have the effect of threatening the right of the mother” to have a life-saving operation.
Foreseeing some of the problems thrown up by the 1992 X case, Mr Connolly noted that, “whatever my personal views be”, a rape victim could not be exempted from any constitutional prohibition.
Nor, “in the current climate of what it is sought to achieve”, could the amendment exempt abortion where the mental health of a woman was at serious risk.And it subsequently transpired that both of these predictions have been proven correct. It is surely obvious that the Pro Life Amendment was disastrous, from whichever way it is looked at. It's now clear that the Haughey government was aware of the risks, but pushed on regardless.His successor, John Murray, did not think the proposed wording would diminish the rights of the mother - instead, he warned that making the right to life of the unborn subject to the right to life of the mother could "open the door" to abortion unless the courts interpreted the wording narrowly.
Abortion referendum wording was seen as 'time bomb' - The Irish Times - Fri, Dec 28, 2012
State papers reveal pro-life amendment concerns - RTÉ News