Ireland Parties Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil Oppose Abortion Legalization

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 21, 2011   |   8:35PM   |   Dublin, Ireland

Just days before an election in Ireland, the main opposition party in Ireland, Fine Gael, has released a strong statement opposing the legalization of abortion as has Fianna Fáil. The elections come after a European court ruling affecting the nation.

The statement from Fine Gael gives a clear commitment, that, if Fine Gael is in government, it will oppose abortion legislation and destructive embryo research in Ireland.

Fine Gael is opposed to the legalization of abortion.   Fine Gael will establish an all-party Oireachtas Committee, with access to medical and legal expertise, to consider the implications to the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and to make recommendations. Such a process would, we believe, be the best way of examining the issues in a way that respects the range of sincerely-held views on this matter. 

Fine Gael’s representatives will bring to the proposed all-party committee a clear commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and that the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld. Fine Gael is opposed to research conducted on human embryos, and favors alternative stem cell research that does not involve human embryos such as adult stem cell and umbilical cord research.

The Pro Life Campaign a leading pro-life group in Ireland, told it welcomes the official statement from Fine Gael, the majority opposition party in Ireland and the party that will lead the next government, calling it a “very significant development.”

Fianna Fáil has confirmed that its “position on abortion remains unchanged” and that they “will maintain Ireland’s ban on abortion.”  The party also states that it “will oppose moves to legalise abortion in Ireland.”  On embryo research, Fianna Fáil states that it is “opposed to research on embryos and will not support moves to legalise this in Ireland.” 

Spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign Dr. Ruth Cullen said, “The statements from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are very significant and have been obtained in no small part due to the enormous work on the ground by pro-life people around Ireland over recent weeks and months and is a testament to the fact that pro-life activism produces real results for the unborn.”

In an email to, she added, “For pro-life people wondering how to vote, these statements bring clarity to the election debate. There are many issues troubling voters but no issue is more important than protecting life. How we treat the vulnerable measures how civilised we are as a societyFianna Fáil, the main party of the current government has also this weekend gave a “commitment to oppose abortion and research involving the destruction of human embryos.”

“The Labour Party which may form part of the next government has unfortunately committed itself to introducing abortion and stem cell research,” she added.

The December judgment from the European Court of Human Rights does not require Ireland to introduce legislation authorizing abortion. [related]

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights unanimously reaffirmed that the European Convention on Human Rights contains no “right” to abortion. That’s the good news for the pro-life movement, but the court also unanimously ruled in favor of one of the three women who brought a lawsuit saying the Ireland abortion ban violates their rights.

The Irish Government robustly defended Ireland’s ban on abortion before the court and said Ireland’s abortion laws were based on “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society.”

Article 40.3.3 of Ireland’s constitution reads, “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”