Pro-Abortion TDs Continue Relentlessly
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger, one of the most pro-abortion members of the Dáil, will bring forward yet another private members abortion bill when the Dáil reconvenes shortly. The bill will seek a referendum to remove the 8th Amendment from the constitution.
Members of the Independent Alliance expect that they will have a free vote on the bill, reigniting the July divisions in the Coalition that caused the most serious Cabinet split since the formation of the present government. A number of Independent TDs are likely to vote in favour, although it will be opposed by Fine Gael because the Government – of which the Independent TDs are members – has referred the abortion question to a citizens’ assembly, expected to be set up in October.
“We’re not looking for a row about this,” Independent Minister Finian McGrath said. However, it is expected that having won the concession of a free vote on a Dáil motion on abortion in cases of so-called “fatal foetal abnormalities” in July, some Independent Ministers will expect to be allowed to support the Coppinger motion.
However, one Fine Gael Minister said it was his “clear understanding” that the Independent TDs would not support an early referendum, as the programme for government committed to setting up a citizens’ assembly to deal with the issue. That was also the Taoiseach’s view, the Minister added.
The Coalition experienced its most serious division so far in July when some Independent Alliance Ministers insisted on supporting a Bill proposed by Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace which sought to widen the legal grounds for abortion. The Attorney General advised that the Bill was unconstitutional, but the Independent Ministers ignored her advice.
The Irish Times. August 23.