TDs voice their frustration as abortion debate continues

Megan Naughton

Local councillor calls for clearer legislation while Independent TD says a referendum on abortion will ‘ultimately be necessary’.

Clare Daly, an Independent TD, who introduced the private abortion bill in April 2012, hopes for positive findings from the expert group who are due to make a recommendation this autumn, as she believes they could be used as a step to build something broader.

The bill, which would have allowed for the termination of pregnancy in the case of a risk to the life of a pregnant woman, was defeated by a vast majority. The north Dublin TD gave her view on the current national outlook with regards to abortion:

“I don’t think a referendum is likely in the near future. I think the political establishment will oppose it, although, if we really want to deal with the issues of a woman’s right to choose and proper abortion rights in Ireland it will ultimately be necessary.”

When asked how she would vote in the case of such a referendum, Daly’s answer is unsurprising:

“I would obviously vote yes for abortion rights… the State’s role should be to support the best decision for a woman, whether that is to terminate a pregnancy or bring it to full term.”

Liberties based councillor Rebecca Moynihan has also been trenchantly vocal about her annoyance at the Government’s reluctance to implement clearer abortion legislation.

Moynihan even goes so far as to accuse her Dáil counterparts of “political cowardice” and “a la carte moralism of the worst kind” in her May 2012 Irish Times article on the subject.

It has been 10 years since the now infamous “X case” came before the courts, and two years since Ireland was found to be in violation of the European convention of human rights in relation to the ABC v Ireland case.

These cases, both relating to abortion laws in Ireland, were seen as landmark rulings which could potentially help revise abortion legislation. In the last decade however, few changes have been made in this area.

Last month, a Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes poll showed that 80% of the 923 people polled would support a change of law to legalise abortion where the life of the woman is at risk.

It seems the attitude of the nation has undergone a drastic change in recent years, even if this is something the government appears hesitant to accept.

Image courtesy of William Murphy

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