Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned against a “rush” to have a referendum on abortion in the wake of the emphatic backing for marriage equality.
Mr Kenny’s caution was attacked by Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy who insisted the country had already waited too long for a fresh vote on the issue as he said 20,000 Irish women had been forced to travel abroad for terminations since this Government came to power four years ago.
Mr Murphy told the Dáil that the clear vote for extending civil marriage rights to same sex couples showed how profoundly Ireland has changed in recent years as he called for the Government to reflect the new reality.
The TD insisted the Coalition should act to remove the threat of being fired that hangs over teachers and medical workers in religious run institutions who happen to be gay or atheist.
Mr Murphy said the marriage equality victory was about more than gay rights and symbolised people demanding “a break with the oppression of the past”.
The Dublin TD said that repeal of the eighth amendment was needed “to end the barbaric situation where a woman who has chosen to terminate a crisis pregnancy — even in the tragic eventuality of fatal foetal abnormality — or a doctor, or anybody else who helped her could be jailed for 14 years.”
Mr Kenny said he did not support “abortion on demand” as he insisted there would be no referendum on any aspect of the laws regarding termination before the general election which must be held by next spring.
The Taoiseach said the issue of abortion was much more complex than same-sex marriage.
“We’re not going to be rushed into considering these matters because we have just had a referendum with a positive outcome.”
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