Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s claim that the Government’s proposed abortion legislation is “pro-life” and “restrictive” is drawing condemnation from pro-life groups today.
As the Independent reports: Martin says he is in favour of his party supporting the abortion legislation as it is “consistent with a pro-life position.”
He was less firm than previously on ruling out a free vote on the issue, which a number of party figures have called for.
Fianna Fail’s potential support for the bill would be a major boost for the Government as it would mean the four main parties were all on board for passing the legislation.
The prospect of the legislation being passed without a divisive vote in the Dail could also be on the cards, as a result.
But his stance puts him at odds with large sections of his party, following the passing of three strongly pro-life motions at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.
“I think that the bill is consistent with a pro-life position. I think it’s a restrictive piece of legislation, which I think actually limits what the current situation is, I mean the current legal position is that basically a woman can seek an abortion on suicidal grounds in any hospital, one doctor making an assessment, no requirement for psychiatric assessment whatsoever.
“This bill provides a clear legal framework for that.”
Not so says Caroline Simons of the Pro Life Campaign. She told LifeNews:
“Micheál Martin’s statement is so far from the legal reality that it cannot go unchallenged.
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“The Bill cannot be described as ‘pro-life’ or ‘restrictive’ because it would establish for the first time an abortion regime in Ireland with no time limits and unsupported by the evidence of psychiatrists at the recent Oireachtas Hearings.
“The Bill allows for the life of a baby, say at twenty three weeks, to be directly taken in the case of threatened suicide with no evidence to back it up. How can Micheál Martin credibly call this pro-life or restrictive?”, Ms Simons concluded.