Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin coy on abortion recommendation

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has backed abortion in cases of rape and fatal foetal abnormalities but has stopped short of endorsing an Oireachtas committee call for terminations up to 12 weeks.

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin coy on abortion recommendation

The Fianna Fáil leader said he would examine the issue further and give a more “considered view” in the New Year, as Taoiseach Leo Varadar also refused to give his personal view until a special Fine Gael meeting in January.

The cross-party committee recommended a repeal of the Eight Amendment, unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks, and abortions in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities and where the woman’s life and physical and mental health is at significant risk.

The committee last night formally signed off on its recommendations report, which will now be sent to the Oireachtas by Wednesday before being debated by the Dáil and Seanad in January.

However, pro-life committee members Ronan Mullen, Mattie McGrath, and Peter Fitzpatrick said they were pulling out of the committee and announced plans to publish their own minority report next week.

Mr Varadkar said: “Both I and members of the Government are going to spend the Christmas period understanding that.

“We will then have a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in early January where I’ll hear the views of the Fine Gael party and after that there will be a debate in the Dáil and the Government will discuss it.”

Mr Martin said his party would facilitate a referendum on the Eighth and added he believes there needs to be “movement” on the issue of fatal foetal abnormalities.

“I do not believe that someone who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest should be forced to proceed with a pregnancy against their will,” he said.

“I intend to study all submissions to the committee over Christmas and will give a more considered view on their recommendations in the new year.”

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