Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael TD opposes abortion laws

Opposition to new abortion laws has intensified with another Government TD revealing he is to vote against them.

Billy Timmins became the fourth member of Fine Gael to say he disagrees with the legislation as it stands.

The Wicklow TD said he took particular issue with the inclusion of a clause to allow a pregnant and suicidal woman the right to an abortion.

He said he hoped that provision of the bill would be removed. Only then would he support the legislation, he said.

"I can't support this bill as it requires in sections 9 and 22.4 to legalise the intentional destruction of unborn human life where there is a real and substantial risk to a woman's life by way of suicide," Mr Timmins said during a debate on the bill.

"If those sections are removed I have no difficulty in supporting the remainder of the bill and I hope that the minister will remove them or give a commitment to remove them in the coming days."

Fine Gael TDs Peter Mathews and Brian Walsh have already said they will not support the legislation as it stands. Senator Fidelma Healy Eames also confirmed she could not vote in line with the Government to adopt the laws.

The suicide element has sparked massive division among politicians and medics, in particular psychiatrists. The legislation, which was published in full earlier this month, is expected to be passed by the time the Dail breaks for the summer.

If enacted, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 will legalise abortion where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the threat of suicide.

The Bill aims to legislate for the X case judgment from Ireland's Supreme Court, which found abortion is legal if there is a real and substantial risk. The case was taken by a 14-year-old rape victim who became pregnant and was refused permission to travel for an abortion.


From Belfast Telegraph