Survey finds urban-rural divide among TDs over abortion

A new survey shows there is an urban-rural divide when it comes to TDs' views on abortion.

The Irish Independent says the number of deputies opposed to unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks, is four times greater in rural Ireland than in Dublin.

Fine Gael's Parliamentary Party held a five-hour meeting yesterday to decide their stance on the issue.

They have decided members will be allowed a free vote on any potential law change and Deputy Kate O'Connell thinks it's the right choice.

She said: "The vote will probably pass, I'd imagine at this stage looking at the figures, it will probably pass through the chamber without a whip.

"So why upset people, why cause undue annoyance at this stage?"

The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment is urging politicians to support the findings of the Oireachtas Committee.

Ailbhe Smyth, convener of the coalition, said: "The recommendation by the Joint Committee that women’s healthcare does not belong in the Constitution and their clear recommendation to fully repeal the Eighth Amendment were the result of careful and patient engagement with expert legal and healthcare advice.

"The additional recommendations propose sensible solutions to a problem that has resulted in decades of suffering and silence.

"Any dismissal or dilution by politicians of the Committee’s work would fly in the face of public opinion and undermine the hard work done by both the Citizens’ Assembly and by Committee members across the political spectrum.

Ms Smyth has urged people to talk about the issues surrounding abortion.

She said: "Very rarely have politicians been given such a wealth of meticulous evidence and deliberations to educate them about an issue. They have been expertly informed about the needs of women in Ireland for abortion healthcare.

"If there are divergent views about managing changes to abortion law, let's discuss them.

"What we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that turning a blind eye to the abortion care women need is having a detrimental, and sometimes fatal impact on women’s health."

- Digital desk


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