Former presidential candidate and MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has called on the Government to hold a referendum on the abortion legislation.
Ms Scallon said to “decriminalise abortion” was a “contradiction of the most fundamental principle of the legal system; the principle that human life is to be safeguarded and defended at all times”.
“The right to life is the foundation of all other human rights,” she said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s assertion that he has “a duty and responsibility to legislate” was “totally unfounded”.
“There is no legal or constitutional obligation for Enda Kenny or any other politician to legislate for the deliberate killing of an unborn child and there is no medical evidence to support this radical change to how we treat our mothers and their children,” she said.
Ms Scallon said legislation for abortion was never included in election manifestos, or in the plan for Government.
She claimed that in rejecting the 2002 referendum on abortion, the Labour Party and Fine Gael “voted to retain and protect the existing statutory law” – the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act sections 58 and 59, and the 1979 Health Act.
“Mr Kenny and other political leaders cannot choose to ignore, or to abandon that statutory law which protects unborn life from the moment of its existence,” she said.
“The taking of an innocent and defenceless human life can never be justified.”
She said the Government must respect “the democratic and constitutional right of the people” to have the final say on the matter by referendum.