An Irish pro-life lawmaker may be suspended from his party for voting to protect unborn babies.
TD Peadar Tóibín, a member of Sinn Féin, said he will not support pro-abortion legislation in Ireland, even though his party says he must, the Irish Times reports.
Earlier this month, Sinn Féin leaders refused to allow a free vote for party members on the abortion issue; TDs must toe the party line or risk being suspended, according to the report.
“I accept that there will no doubt be a period of suspension facing me over my stance on abortion and there may possibly be implications from that suspension which could impact on my eligibility to stand under the Sinn Féin flag in the next general election,” Tóibín told LMFM’s Michael Reade Show.
Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks and up to six months for a wide variety of reasons after Ireland voted to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protected unborn babies’ right to life, in May.
The Irish leaders’ proposal is very extreme. Pro-life advocates fear Ireland’s abortion law will mirror Britain’s, where one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion each year.
Tóibín said he has watched his party shift rapidly on the abortion issue.
“Over the past three years, the party has changed its position significantly and it is one I have a radical difference of opinion on but it is only issue and I hope to remain with the party,” he said.
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He said that he felt his role was an important in order to represent those who voted against repealing the Eighth Amendment.
“What I say before an election is what happens after the election – I think the people who voted for me based on my stance on abortion will be happy with how I have acted – 34% of people voted against abortion on demand and they deserve to be represented as well.” …
In a previous interview Tóibín said that this issue was more important than his role as a TD:
“People have said to me, ‘well what if you lose your job over this’, and I said, it is not the end of the world if I lose my job, but if abortion comes in for the child, it is the end of the world. One child’s life is more important than my job, and every TD’s job.”
Another Sinn Féin TD, Carol Nolan, did leave the party this month after she was suspended for voting to protect unborn babies’ rights.
“I feel that as a pro-life republican woman that I no longer have a place in this party, which doesn’t recognise or show genuine respect for the pro-life views of members,” Nolan said, The Independent reported. “I cannot and will not support abortion and for that reason I have made a decision to leave Sinn Féin.”
The party suspended Nolan for three months after she voted against Ireland’s abortion referendum.