Shatter criticises 'rhetoric' and 'inaccuracies' in abortion debate

By Mary Regan, Political Correspondent

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has asked TDs if it was right that they should bury their heads in the sand and ignore the fact that thousands of women travel abroad every year for terminations.

Speaking in a Dáil debate on legislation allowing abortions in limited circumstances, the Minister said most members of the House were in a situation where their teenage daughter was raped would not believe she should have to be suicidal in order to be entitled to a termination.

"We can't address that issue under the current constitutional boundaries, but we can ensure that if the victim in those circumstances is suicidal we provide her with the protection she deserves, that is what we are doing here this evening."

In a speech on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, he rejected many of the legal arguments put forward by Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton, who is poised to oppose the Government, losing the party whip and her junior ministry.

Mr Shatter criticised the "rhetoric" and "inaccuracies" that he had heard throughout the day as deputies debated some of the 165 proposed amendments to the legislation which will be voted on in the next few hours.

Earlier, Ms Creighton said there was no obligation to legislate for abortions on the grounds of suicide.

Mr Shatter said there was a constitutional obligation to bring the legislation before the House and "if there is any doubt about the constitutionality of the legislation it is up to the President to refer it to the Supreme Court".

He also repeated his "personal belief" that it was a "great cruelty that women with fatal foetal abnormalities cannot have their pregnancy ended".

But he said this cannot happen without a referendum.

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

Irish workers need to save over €1,000 a month more, states pension report

More in this Section

SIPTU has 'robust exchange of views' with HSE management on nurses dispute

Search for young man who failed to return to Clare tour bus

Woman accused of forcing another to work as prostitute alleges 3-year affair with husband

'No criminality' in misuse of funds at Garda training college: Commissioner


Today's Stories

First court case of male with anorexia

HSE Audit: Barnardos staff paid more than HSE rates

‘I had to break my silence of 20 years to protect others’

Woman sues husband for €77k over murder of their sons, aged 10 and 5

Lifestyle

It's been a long and winding road for music group Fairport Convention

We’ll have to shout ‘stop’ to non-bio plastics, or else...

The Big Book of Happiness is here

Smartphones have ushered in a golden age of personal eccentricity

More From The Irish Examiner