Pro-Life Legislator Quits His Political Party After It Suspends Him for Voting Pro-Life

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 15, 2018   |   11:42AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

A second Irish lawmaker resigned from his political party this week after it punished him for voting pro-life.

Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín is a member of the Sinn Féin party in Ireland, but he will not be soon. On Thursday, he announced his resignation from the party after it suspended him for voting pro-life, according to the Irish Times.

In October, Tóibín voted against his party on a motion to move a pro-abortion bill forward for debate. Sinn Féin required its members to vote pro-abortion instead of their conscience on the legislation.

For supporting the unborn rather than his party, Tóibín was suspended for six months, The Irish Times reports.

“It is with a heavy heart that I resign from Sinn Féin today,” Tóibín said in a statement. “I have been a member of the party for 21 years. In that time I poured all my efforts into achieving Irish Unity & Economic Justice. This clearly is no longer enough. I will now help to build a new 32 County movement.”

Another Sinn Féin TD, Carol Nolan, left the party this summer after she also was punished for voting to protect unborn babies’ rights. The party suspended Nolan for three months after she voted against Ireland’s abortion referendum.

The Journal reports more:

Tóibín, in his resignation letter to chief whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh, wrote that the leadership had agreed a written deal with him in November 2012 stating the party would “treat me equally and would not marginalise me due to my views on the right to life”.

“Over 18 months ago that deal was binned unilaterally by the party. I have lost speaking rights, spokesperson positions, portfolios and have been significantly censored in my engagements with the media. These actions have prevented me from fully representing my constituents.”

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… He said he had written to the party chair, to Ó Snodaigh and to president of the party Mary Lou McDonald two weeks ago asking whether there was a future for him in the party.

“This email was never replied to. That may be an answer in itself.”

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, previously.

Nolan expressed similar sentiments when she resigned in June.

“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.”

Government leaders are pushing a radically pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals.

Tóibín said the legislation is much more extreme than what voters wanted when they chose to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment in May.