Cabinet Minister requests legal advice before voting on bill to reduce abortion penalty

Cabinet Minister requests legal advice before voting on bill to reduce abortion penalty

Update 10.30pm: The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of deliberately mixing up abortion with assault.

It came in a debate tonight on a bill which would lower the penalty for illegal abortions to a fine of just €1.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would oppose the bill as it would mean almost no punishment for someone who kicked the stomach of a pregnant woman.

But Ruth Coppinger claimed Mr Kenny is mixing up abortion with assault.

"He said that if we changed this law the deputy would be saying that somebody kicks his pregnant partner and kills the baby she's carrying and would only be guilty of a fine.

"If somebody kicks their pregnant partner they're guilty of assault, they're not guilty of a fine.

"The Taoiseach doesn't seem to know the different between abortion, assault, a miscarriage - it's quite incredible".

Earlier: A Cabinet Minister has asked for further legal advice before she votes against a bill to reduce the penalty for illegal abortions.

Katherine Zappone has asked for further guidance before deciding how to vote on the bill from the AAA/People Before Profit party.

The bill, debated in the Dáil tonight, would reduce the penalty for abortion from 14 years in jail to a €1 fine.

Ruth Coppinger says it is an appropriate punishment.

Ms Coppinger said: "They believe a woman who has an abortion in this country should be treated worse than a rapist, should be treated wors than somebody who carries out a violent crime.

"If anyone seriously believes that, there is something mentally wrong with them, because there is no way that that is the case.

"A woman who just simply cannot continue with a preganancy for a whole variety of reasons is not a criminal."

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