Abortion law may have saved Savita - Shatter
Unfortunate to lose any Fine Gael colleague on important issue, justice minister says
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it was ’unfortunate’ to ’ lose any colleagues on an issue of great importance’. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times
Commenting on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in Dublin this morning, Mr Shatter said for the first time in 30 years a Government had fulfilled its obligations to ensure the medical profession know exactly what procedures apply should there be a real and substantial risk to the life of a mother when she is pregnant.
“I think if this legislation had been in force earlier it may be the case that Savita Halappanavar would not have lost her life,” he said.
“And I think that very, very tragic case starkly illustrates the need for legislation in this area.”
Asked of concerns raised by Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton about the Bill, he said he had not seen the amendments she had proposed, but he would support the amendments proposed by Minister for Health James Reilly to clarify issues.
Ms Creighton is expected to vote against the Bill if a series of amendments she has tabled are not accepted.
Mr Shatter said Ms Creighton was “a very good friend” and it was for her to make decisions about the way she will vote. “She is part of the Fine Gael party I would hope she wouldn’t step outside that,” he said.
“I think it is unfortunate that we should lose any colleagues on an issue of great importance,” he said. “The Government and the party has an obligation to meet its legislative responsibilities and we are doing that.”
Today Ms Creighton reiterated her position .“I am Fine Gael to my core. I have no desire to leave or be put out of Fine Gael, that’s not my ambition here, it’s the very last thing I want to happen,” she said.
“I need to do what I believe is right and what I think the medical experts have told us unequivocally right thing to do and that is to remove all reference to abortion as a solution to suicidal intent, it is not a solution,” she told RTÉ.