Wide welcome for draft legislation within Labour Party

Praise for role of two Labour Ministers in drafting the Heads of Bill

Senator Ivana Bacik, a prominent campaigner on this issue, welcomed the publication of the draft legislation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Senator Ivana Bacik, a prominent campaigner on this issue, welcomed the publication of the draft legislation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Thu, May 2, 2013, 09:14


The heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill have been widely welcomed within the Labour Party.

At the weekly meeting of the parliamentary party yesterday, there was broad welcome for the draft legislation, with no dissenting voices. The two Labour Ministers of State in the Department of Health, Alex White and Kathleen Lynch, were praised by colleagues for their work on it.

Senator Ivana Bacik, a prominent campaigner on this issue, welcomed the publication of the draft legislation, saying it would give greater clarity in the law for women and doctors.

“It has been drafted in a realistic manner which complies with our obligations to women both under the X case and under the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] judgment. I am glad that we are finally facing up to our responsibilities as legislators on this pressing issue,” she said.

Ciara Conway, Labour TD for Waterford, said calling for legislation to deal with the X Case was popular neither politically nor from the pulpits but was the right thing to do.

Wicklow TD Anne Ferris described as inaccurate criticism that the provision for three doctors to assess the risk of suicide for pregnant women was too restrictive. She said the legislation was in keeping with the recommendations of the expert group chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

Roscommon Labour Party senator John Kelly said he did not know whether there was an absolute need for legislation and that medical guidelines might have sufficed.

He expressed reservations about the inclusion of a suicide clause and also expressed unease about comments made by party colleagues Aodhán Ó Riordáin and Anne Ferris, reported last weekend, saying they believed in further liberalisation of the law.

“If legislation was required it should be airtight and involve a case where the person has to prove suicidal intent,” he said.