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

Alastair Campbell: ‘Vilified’ Bertie Ahern took risks for peace in North

Church won’t sell bleach ‘cure’ in Ireland but may teach how to use it

Garda awards honour some of West Cork’s great young people

‘A higher power’ gave me cancer to help others, says Majella O'Donnell

You might also like

Breaking Stories

DNA of man accused of raping woman with Down Syndrome 'matches that found on alleged victim'

Evidence of violence from beginning to end, jury in trial of man accused of murdering pregnant ex-girlfriend told

Court grants adjournment to Dublin man who withdrew guilty plea for murder

Female pensioner dies in Cavan house fire


Duhallow group honoured for wildlife and environmental work

Gaz Coombes is still alright after Supergrass

Equal pay for equal work but no country pays men and women the same

Boredom is a key part of creativity and should be explored

More From The Irish Examiner