'Liberal' abortion regime not State goal '
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted Ireland will not have a “liberal” abortion regime after the Government moves to give legal clarity in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
Mr Kenny’s comments were aimed at reassuring some Fine Gael TDs and Senators who have expressed a belief that legislating for the issue of suicide ideation could lead to what they call “abortion on demand”.
“I think this is a case of being clear about the introduction of rules here that give clarity and legal certainty, and restriction on the other hand on what is a very liberal regime without any terms and conditions applied,” he said.
Referendum no option
Mr Kenny was asked yesterday about Fine Gael’s parliamentary meeting on Wednesday night, at which Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar questioned the rush to rule out a referendum on the contentious issue. The Taoiseach said holding a referendum was not an option, according to a number of those present.
Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton yesterday said she did not “particularly agree” with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s recent comments on abortion.
Mr Shatter this week told the Dáil the right of pregnant women to have their health protected was a qualified right under Ireland’s constitutional framework.
“These are more than just political questions. These are deep conscience issues for every member of the Oireachtas,” she said. Ms Creighton added she was not clear in her own mind what should be done.
The Oireachtas should be given time to “reflect very deeply” and take expert legal and medical advice before arriving at a conclusion. She said she accepted the Oireachtas had to act on the issue, but she did not accept legislation was the only option.
“I don’t think we would be thanked if we introduced potentially flawed legislation or regulations,” she added.
She said the use of the party whip system in the Dáil was “excessive”.
Meanwhile, Independent TD Clare Daly said she would table her third Bill relating to X-case legislation if the Government did not bring forward legislation in the new year.
Ms Daly’s second abortion Bill was defeated after a vote of 101 to 27 in the Dáil on Wednesday night. Her first Bill was defeated 111 to 20 in April. On both occasions, the Bills were opposed by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil. Ms Daly said she had expected the result.
“I wasn’t that surprised, but I’m a bit disappointed,” she said. Criticising those who voted against the Bill, Ms Daly said: “They could have engaged the issue to the second stage. There wasn’t anything wrong with the Bill that couldn’t have been tweaked at a later stage.
“Of course we will table another Bill to legislate for the X case. The last time we tabled a Bill, we said we would keep the pressure on until legislation was passed. I don’t think there will be another abortion Bill voted on in the Dáil for another six months.”