Fine Gael’s legislative coup on abortion legislation deplored

The Pro-Life Campaign recently released the results of a Millward Brown Lansdowne conducted poll which was carried out on a quota controlled sample of 979 people aged 18+ between May 2 – 15.

The question posed was unambiguously clear: Just prior to polling day in the 2011 General Election Fine Gael said it was opposed to the legalisation of abortion and experimentation on human embryos.

It said that Fine Gael’s representatives would bring to the proposed all-party committee a clear commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld. Would you agree or disagree with this commitment? Overall, of those who expressed an opinion, 80% agreed with the commitment and 20% disagreed. In Connacht/Ulster which includes the Taoiseach’s constituency of Mayo, 87% agreed and only 13% disagreed.

Yet, as reported in the Irish Catholic, in a letter to colleagues in the Fine Gael parliamentary party, Dr Reilly said that Ireland “must” bring in abortion along the lines of the 1992 Supreme Court decision in the X Case, pre-empting even the report of the commissioned “expert group“, which was set up in response to a 2010 decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that Ireland must clarify its law on abortion. However, this same court actually found that Ireland had a right to ban abortion and the decision did not, as some have falsely claimed, mean Ireland must legislate for abortion.

Given that the fact that the results of repeatedly conducted polls have demonstrated consistently that the majority of the Irish people do not at all support legislating for abortion and that they wish for current practice to continue whereby the lives of both mother and child are safeguarded, Fine Gael’s behaviour is truly extraordinary and utterly deplorable. Their attempt to betray their solemn commitment and to effect an undemocratic legislative coup against the wishes of the Irish people must be resisted at all costs.

Michael O’Driscoll

Menloe House



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