Delegates affirm Fianna Fáil status as ‘pro-life’ party

Just one delegate speaks against motions and only a handful of delegates votes against them

Micheál Martin said the party would listen to the debate which would inform its policy decisions on the issue. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Micheál Martin said the party would listen to the debate which would inform its policy decisions on the issue. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 20:40

Resolutions confirming Fianna Fáil’s status as a “pro-life” party had overwhelming support at the party’s ardfheis. During a debate on health issues just one delegate spoke against the motions and only a handful of delegates voted against them.

In a lengthy discussion on the issue delegates opposed “any legislation which has the potential to be significantly expanded beyond the limited circumstances where an intervention is required to protect mothers”.

Delegates also opposed legislation that would introduce the “risk of suicide as a threat to life of the mother and legitimises abortion in Ireland”.

And they backed the resolution which “reaffirms Fianna Fáil’s position as a pro-life party”.

A fourth motion calling for a constitutional referendum before any legislation was introduced to permit abortion or termination on the grounds of risk of suicide was not moved.

Delegates accused the Government of arrogance in introducing legislation when the Oireachtas hearings it held earlier this year heard evidence that abortion was not a treatment for suicidal feelings.

Roscommon delegate Lorcan Price said there were two people to be protected “the mother and the unborn child” and the Government was being “disingenuous” and “deceitful” to introduce legislation on suicide in the wake of the Oireachtas hearings.

Another delegate Geraldine Smith, criticised the National Women’s Council, claiming it was dismissive in its attitude to the group Women Hurt, representing women who regretted having abortions.

Christina Murhill said the party was being too strict in dealing with the issue of abortion, especially in cases where a foetus is described as incompatible with life. She said the paretns had the option of either going to the UK, where they would have no counselling services, or continuing with the pregnancy even though there was no hope of the baby surviving and she urged delegates to reject the motion.

Earlier party leader Micheál Martin said he did not believe there should be another referendum on the issue. He told reporters the party would listen to the debate which would inform its policy decisions on the issue.

He insisted the party would approach the Government’s legislation in a non-partisan manner.

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