Bacik calls for Seanad debate on abortion in cases of rape

Sharp reaction from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael senators

 Ivana Bacik: said the  Bill had greatly improved on the heads debated at the Oireachtas health committee hearings

Ivana Bacik: said the Bill had greatly improved on the heads debated at the Oireachtas health committee hearings

Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 18:51

A call by Ivana Bacik (Lab) for a debate on a constitutional amendment allowing for abortion in cases of rape led to sharp exchanges in the Seanad.

Ms Bacik said the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, had greatly improved on the heads debated at the Oireachtas health committee hearings. It was worth noting, she added, that the Irish Times opinion poll had shown a clear majority supporting the Bill and that 81 per cent favoured abortion in cases of rape.

“I seek a debate on how we can widen the provision of abortion beyond that which is provided in the Bill and which is our responsibility as legislators to provide for within the terms of the Constitution.”

Ms Bacik said the debate could be held after the House had passed the Bill, as she hoped it would.

Terry Leyden (FF) said Ms Bacik should not be so presumptuous. “It has already started,” said Paschal Mooney (FF). “One could predict that abortion on demand would be sought.’’

Paul Coghlan (FG) said he totally disagreed with Ms Bacik.

“I would not like to widen in any way the terms in which medical terminations may be permitted,” he added. “I would not like to vote for or support abortion in any shape or form.’’

Mr Coghlan said they must be conscious of the parameters and that people were trying their best at Cabinet and he supported them, but there were lines that were drawn in Article 40 of the Constitution and they must be respectful.

Michael Mullins (FG) said he was disappointed to hear Ms Bacik already expressing her wish to extend the scope of the legislation.