Martin: Fears of abortion on demand

The majority of Irish people fear the inclusion of suicide as legal grounds for a termination could lead to “abortion on demand”, Micheál Martin has said.

The Fianna Fáil leader is still refusing to say what position his party will take on the issue which is due to be discussed at Oireachtas committee hearings over three days from tomorrow.

“We haven’t made a definitive position yet because we haven’t seen the legislation,” he said.

Mr Martin, who has previously been wary of any moves to legalise abortion, has not stated his position since Health Minister James Reilly announced the Government would legislate.

Last July, Mr Martin said in an interview with the Irish Examiner he “remains to be convinced” that the Oireachtas should legislate for the X case ruling on abortion despite a 20-year failure to do so.

He said any such legislation could create “an open-door situation” that would turn out to be “very difficult to hold back”.

Yesterday, speaking on RTÉ radio, he said there was an acceptance termination should take place in “rare circumstances” where it was needed to protect the life of the mother.

Asked about Fianna Fáil’s position he said: “Our stance fundamentally is that the health and life of the mother must be protected and legal clarity must be given to that.” He said there must be “no doubt about the circumstances in which doctors can intervene to save the life of the mother in the very rare circumstances where that arises”.

The Government plans to introduce a combination of legislation and regulation to legalise the procedure as a last resort to save a pregnant woman’s life.

Following its hearings over the coming days, the Oireachtas committee on health and children will deliver a report which will help guide the Government on the new laws.

Mr Martin said suicide will be “the key element” of the Government’s proposed legislation. He said there needs to be a “fail safe test of whether suicide is going to occur or not” and while most doctors agree this would be very difficult “you can’t rule it out in all circumstances”, he said.

“The vast majority of people are against abortion on demand. There is a fear that the suicide option may lead to abortion on demand,” Mr Martin said.

There are “differences of opinion” within Fianna Fáil on the issue, he said.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Jewish worship in Cork ends as synagogue shuts

1916 lives: Passionate words by James Connolly gave hope to many

Gardaí believe main target jumped out a window to escape Regency hotel attack

David takes marathon relationship up a gear by proposing after Clonakilty run


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity would not belittle memory of Mairead Moran, jury told

Gardaí search for missing woman Margaret Berry

Emergency services dealing with 60km oil spill in Limerick

Taoiseach calls on Adams to comment on guns used in hotel attack

Lifestyle

Chinese New Year: In the year of the monkey

Share, share alike: How social media has replaced the traditional diary

Thomas Lynch uses the living and the dead to inspire his poetry

This much I know: KC

More From The Irish Examiner