Party to bring in draft legislation allowing limited abortion

LABOUR decided yesterday to bring in draft legislation allowing abortion in certain circumstances.

Over 1,000 delegates gave their backing to a proposal to allow abortion if there is a risk to the life or health of a mother by a threat of suicide or if there is a foetal abnormality which means the baby would never be born alive.

An internal party report recommended abortion should be allowed in these limited circumstances.

This policy decision follows a vote at the Labour Party conference in Cork in 2001 supporting a woman’s right to choose on the issue which was carried against the wishes of the party leadership.

The internal committee, chaired by James Wrynn, has, since then, been working on a policy that could satisfy different strands of opinion in the party.

That compromise policy was adopted in the Wrynn Report yesterday.

Labour has been calling on the Government for almost a decade to legislate for the Supreme Court X case ruling.

This stated that a woman had a right to an abortion if there was a risk to her life through suicide.

A Government-backed referendum last year tried to row back on this decision, but it was defeated.

James Wrynn told the conference yesterday that political leadership has since been sadly lacking on the abortion issue.

Mr Wrynn said the committee accepted that the options they were putting forward did not deal with the issue in a comprehensive way, which would require a further constitutional amendment, and that their report was not a final answer.

However, he said their proposed grounds for allowing abortions would be allowed by the Constitution.

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