Irish Lawmakers Booted From Party After Voting Against Abortion Bill

International   Steven Ertelt   Jul 3, 2013   |   4:40PM    Dublin, Ireland

Four pro-life lawmakers have been booted from an Irish political party following their vote against a bill that would legalize abortions.

As LifeNews reported, although polling data and massive public rallies show the Irish people are opposed, the Ireland Parliament today took the first step to legalize some abortions with a 138-24 to allow abortions in rare cases.

The Pro Life Campaign said it is disappointed at the result of this evening’s Second Stage vote on abortion in the Dáil but welcomed the fact that an initial four Fine Gael TDs voted against the bill.

Now, those elected officials are paying the price:

Four Irish politicians have had their party whip removed after defying their leader, Prime Minister Enda Kenny, to vote against a bill proposing a change in the country’s abortion law.

Terence Flanagan, Peter Matthews, Billy Timmins and Brian Walsh, all members of the governing Fine Gael party, voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill at its second stage, although it was passed by 138 votes to 24.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said Fine Gael members who voted against the Bill would lose the party whip. According to reports, the four politicians have now been expelled from the party and told to vacate their offices.

Irish minister of state Lucinda Creighton voted for the bill, despite previously voicing her opposition. She said she hoped amendments would be made to the legislation at the committee stage, which began yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign has also challenged the Minister for Health to a public debate on the contents of the bill saying it is “unbelievable” that he has never debated its contents live on air with opponents of the bill.

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Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Cora Sherlock said:

“While we are disappointed at last evening’s vote, we congratulate the TDs who voted against the bill, particularly those who were prepared to defy their party whip and vote with their conscience. We are confident that many more TDs will join them over the coming days in opposing the bill.

Ms Sherlock said: “It is cruel and unjust the way TDs with conscientious objections are being pressured and bullied to toe the party line. The Minister for Health has never debated the proposed legislation live on air with opponents of the bill. This is unbelievable given the seriousness of the issue. The Government has a duty to give the public an opportunity to hear the bill debated properly.

The Pro Life Campaign challenges the Minister for Health to a public debate on the contents of the bill and what it would mean in practice, before it reaches the final stage in the Dáil.”