Referendum 'not linked to abortion'

Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 01:00

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has said the issue of abortion should not be linked to the children’s rights referendum.

Ms Fitzgerald insisted the proposed constitutional amendment would not result in enforced vaccinations. She called for a “high-quality, informed debate” and said only accurate information about the referendum should be discussed.

“I don’t see it [abortion] as being connected…It is a very separate issue. Some people may choose to make links and people have a right to make the comments that they make,” she said.

“There’s no question of forced vaccinations or forced anything else. We have laws in relation to those kind of issues which remain in place. Let’s be very clear about what the referendum does and let’s not frightened people about what it doesn’t do.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the referendum would protect children at risk. It will also make it easier for the children of married parents to be adopted.

Polling day is Saturday, November 10th. Ms Fitzgerald said she wanted to see a high turnout.

She said she had no comment to make on news that the first clinic to offer abortions on the island of Ireland is due to open in Belfast next Thursday. “It’s obviously in a different jurisdiction, different situation.”

She said the expert group on abortion’s report had not yet come to Government, although it was expected in the near future. When Cabinet received the report, the options it contained would be considered.

The Minister was speaking ahead of a briefing organised by the Children’s Rights Alliance, which is supporting the proposed constitutional amendment.

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