Coalition divided on abortion report


The two Government parties are divided over a European Parliament report criticising some member states over abortion.

The report on fundamental freedoms in the EU will be voted on in Strasbourg this week and raises concerns at restrictions on “safe and legal abortion”.

Fine Gael’s political group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party, is opposing the report while Labour MEPs, part of the Socialist group, are expected to vote for it. “I would be happy to vote for it . . . everything in this document is in line with Labour Party policy,” said Emer Costello, MEP for Dublin.

Fine Gael MEPs were likely to oppose the report in Wednesday’s vote in line with the rest of its political group since the EU did not have competency in the area of abortion, said a spokeswoman for the Fine Gael MEPs. The European People’s Party will put forward its own report on fundamental rights, omitting references to abortion and other contentious issues.

“It may not be in our competence but as a political chamber it is within our rights to deal with these issues,” said Ms Costello. She said while the Labour Party had a clear policy on legislating on the X-case in Ireland, Fine Gael “can be quite conflicted” on the issue.

Labour’s Nessa Childers said she was “very disappointed” the European People’s Party wanted “to turn back the clock on women’s health, access to family planning and safe access to abortion when necessary to protect their health and their life”.