Tuesday 22 August 2017

Cabinet fails to take position on abortion bill that proposes €1 fine

Cabinet has again failed to take position on abortion following concerns raised by Independent Minister Katherine Zappone

Minister Katherine Zappone Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Minister Katherine Zappone Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has found herself once again at the centre of a Cabinet rift over the issue of abortion.

Independent.ie has learned Ms Zappone raised concerns over the Government’s plans to oppose a bill that proposes the replacing of a 14 year jail sentence for abortion with a €1 fine.

The Cabinet today failed to take a position on the bill, which was tabled by Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Brid Smith.

Fine Gael sources say concern was expressed that supporting the bill could have “unintended consequences”.

Attorney General Máire Whelan , who was at Cabinet for the discussion, agreed to provide Ms Zappone with further legal advice before Thursday’s vote.

Fine Gael figures are confident that Ms Zappone will support the Government in opposing the legislation.

The same sources emphasised that under the constitution, the right to life of the unborn  is given the same status as the mother. This is contained in the Eighth Amendment, which is currently being scrutinised by the Citizen’s Assembly.

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