Sinn Féin TD faces party discipline if he votes against abortion Bill

Tóibín accepts he may lose party whip but says he cannot support legislation that permits abortion

Sinn Fein Meath West TD Peadar T?ib?n

Sinn Fein Meath West TD Peadar T?ib?n

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 09:10

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín last night said he will vote against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill when it comes before the Dáil.

Mr Tóibín, a TD for Meath West, told The Irish Times he is prepared to defy his party whip because of his deeply held views against abortion.

If he votes against the Bill which will come before the Dáil on Thursday, he will certainly be expelled from the Sinn Féin parliamentary party.

‘Serious breach’
A party spokesman confirmed last night that if Mr Tóibín voted against the party, it would be “a serious breach of party rules” and he would be “be subject to party discipline”.

In a statement issued to this newspaper, Mr Tóibín said it gave him immense difficulty to part from the party on the issue and reiterated his loyalty to Sinn Féin in all other respects.

He continued by saying he would vote against the Bill, because it would introduce for the first time in law a therapy for suicidal ideation that included the ending of another human life.

“It would also mean for the first time that a therapy for suicidal ideation in Ireland would have no basis in science.

“On the contrary the evidence states that abortion often does damage the health of the mother, can lead to suicide and of course is completely destructive of the life of the child.”

‘Cusp of viability’
“I am also seriously concerned that this legislation allows for abortion up until birth and that this legislation allows for a healthy unborn child on the cusp of viability to be brought to term with the likely probability that the child would be disabled by the State and possibly be institutionalised for life.

“It is an impossible ask for me to vote for legislation that will lead to another person’s death. TDs are responsible for their actions . . . I believe that if a TD votes for abortion that TD is in part responsible for abortions that happen under that legislation. I do not believe that it is possible to claim to be pro life and legislate for abortion,” he said.

This is the first time in recent times Sinn Féin has had to deal with a party member defying its official stance.