European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton has revealed she has received vicious, personal, and threatening correspondence regarding abortion from both pro-choice and pro-life groups.
The Dublin South East TD said she had been sent horrific emails and letters with “vile language” and had been visited by people over the issue of abortion at her constituency clinic.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Ms Creighton said she favoured being bound by a whip on any possible Oireachtas vote on abortion.
However, she said the issue of suicide being used as a grounds for a termination was a “grey area” she did not favour.
“I have received what I would qualify as vicious, personal, horrific emails and letters from both sides, from pro-choice and pro-life sides. I condemn both.”
Asked what the correspondence said, she replied: “Just threatening really, some pretty vile language on both sides by email and some letters. I sometimes think it’s easier for people to have a stream of consciousness and maybe say things and send it off in an email without giving it all that much consideration.
“I’ve had people call to my clinic. In fairness, in person people are much more courteous; what they’ll write in an email and put in a Twitter or social media rant is very different to what they’ll say to you to your face.”
Her comments come as TDs prepare to debate future legislation on liberalising Ireland’s abortion laws.
Ms Creighton said she had tried to facilitate people with issues about abortion at her Dublin clinic.
Despite calls from fellow Fine Gael TDs for a free vote on abortion legislation, she said she was “happy” to stand by Enda Kenny’s decision to have the whip system in place for any vote.
However, she has problems with suicide being used as a grounds for abortion.
“I certainly have a difficulty with it because it’s almost impossible to diagnose suicide ideation, there’s absolutely no evidence that abortion is prevention for suicide.”
She said it was important to strike a balance in protecting the life of unborn children and the life of mothers in any decisions made. Trying to legislate to allow for all of the circumstances that could arise under the X case “would be legislating for a very liberal abortion regime”.
She also said ministers agreed that members of government should not be seen in public with businessman Denis O’Brien and that she was surprised to receive a letter from the billionaire questioning her comments about him.
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