Cabinet has yet to agree position on fatal foetal abnormalities bill

Cabinet has yet to agree position on fatal foetal abnormalities bill
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly

The Cabinet is expected to meet again before Thursday to agree a position on a proposed bill from Mick Wallace on abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

The Attorney General has deemed the proposed legislation to be unconstitutional, but some of the Independent Ministers in Cabinet are adamant they want to support it.

The Government as a whole has not yet decided how it will vote on the bill.

Ministers discussed the proposed legislation from Independent TD Mick Wallace this morning at the Cabinet.

The Taoiseach outlined the Attorney General's advice which states the legislation is unconstitutional, does not define what a fatal foetal abnormality is and does not address the issue of term limits.

However, supporters say the bill has strict limits. Independent TD Clare Daly told Newstalk Breakfast: "It’s basically a condition where the foetus has no chance whatsoever. It is not in any way referring to a disability or anything like that.

"It’s incredibly restrictive, but it is a medical term I suppose - we’re dealing with a foetus that’s going to die either during the pregnancy or immediately upon being born."

Independent Alliance members of the Cabinet are pushing for a free vote on the issue. The Alliance's members include Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Minister of State Finian McGrath.

It is understood the Taoiseach is adamant that the free vote only applies to issues around abortion discussed by the Citizens Assembly.

Discussion was adjourned. The Cabinet will need to meet again before the bill goes to the Dáil on Thursday afternoon when the Health Minister will have to outline the Government's position.

A vote is due to take place the following Thursday.

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