Abortion laws will be extended – Shatter
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter says it is an "inevitability" abortion laws will be extended in the coming years to deal with abortion in rape cases and for fatal foetal abnormalities.
Mr Shatter's comments come ahead of the first Dail vote on abortion next week, with many in Fine Gael warning the contentious bill should not lead to a liberal abortion regime.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out extending the current proposals but Mr Shatter's comments could spark alarm among TDs who are weighing up what way they will vote.
Mr Shatter also said he hopes to be part of a Government that allows abortion for women who have been raped and for fatal foetal abnormalities, and he said a referendum was likely on the issue.
However, his comments have received a cool reception elsewhere in Fine Gael.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said: "I think we should concentrate on the legislation before us instead of clouding it by talking about other measures."
And Mr Kenny's spokesman said: "The legislation before the Dail is the Government's position and no more."
The party is bracing itself for more losses than the initial three or so TDs it had expected, and Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh predicted as many as 10 people could lose the whip.
Mr Shatter told the 'Ray D'Arcy Show' on Today FM: "Whatever happens with this legislation, we will still have four to five thousand women a year who terminate pregnancies abroad. I regard it as an enormous cruelty that any woman who is pregnant and there is a fatal foetal abnormality should be required to continue to the end of that pregnancy."