Most in Irish political party Fine Gael Favor Further Pro-Abortion Moves

Editor’s note. Fine Gael is a political party in the Republic of Ireland. “TDs” are members of the Dáil, the lower house of the Irish Parliament. The following appeared on the website of the Irish prolife organization, Family & Life.

Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar

Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar

Only eight Fine Gael TDs who responded to a Sunday Times survey said they are opposed to further liberalising Ireland’s abortion laws. The majority said they believe an abortion referendum will take place in the lifetime of the next Dáil. The Sunday Times surveyed the party’s 69 TDs of whom 48 responded. According to the newspaper, “Thirty-one of the respondents said they wanted to widen access to abortion. Eight were opposed to any further liberalisation of abortion laws, seven said they were undecided and two did not want to comment.”

Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Children’s Minister James Reilly are both on the record as wanting to widen the grounds for abortion and two more Fine Gael cabinet ministers told The Sunday Times they want the same thing. Government chief whip Paul Kehoe said he is not in favour of such a move.

Representing the party’s more traditional, conservative grassroots, Mr. Kehoe said: “Do I want a repeal of the Eighth Amendment?[1] Personally, I am not strong on having a referendum on it. Will I be shouting from the rooftops for a referendum? No, I won’t be shouting from the rooftops for a referendum.” Noting that Fine Gael lost TDs and Senators over the 2013 abortion legislation, Mr. Kehoe said the party remained divided on the matter. “That was a very difficult issue for a lot of our party members at the time, and we lost a number of colleagues from the Fine Gael party because of that issue,” he said. He added, however, that he would support whatever decision the party made on the matter.

The Sunday Times also contacted Fianna Fáil [2] TDs. Thirteen out of the 21 responded and eight said they did not want the grounds for abortion widened. Two said they did and three were undecided.

[1] The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and the equal right to life of the mother.

[2] Fianna Fáil is another Irish political party.

Another hearing is scheduled later this month by Judge Sharp on other challenges to protective pro-life laws including informed consent for women and girls considering abortion, a 48-hour waiting period, and hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers. Tennessee Right to Life will continue to monitor proceedings and prepare for possible legal appeals if necessary.