Sunday 23 October 2016

Pressure on Labour and SF TDs as abortion bill set to come before Dáil

Published 07/05/2015 | 02:30

Ruth Coppinger TD
Ruth Coppinger TD

Abortion campaigners are to target Labour Party and Sinn Féin TDs ahead of a vote on a bill which calls for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed.

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A number of pro-choice advocates protested outside the Dáil as TDs prepare to debate the controversial abortion issue.

A bill tabled by Anti-Austerity Alliance TDs Ruth Coppinger and Joe Higgins will be debated in the Dáil on Friday ahead of a full vote next Tuesday.

The bill will be opposed by the Government and will be comfortably defeated.

But the issue is likely to prove difficult for Labour after the party passed a motion at its national conference calling for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment to be initiated by the next government.

Campaigners have already protested outside Labour head office in Dublin and are urging supporters to personally contact Government TDs.

But Sinn Féin will also be nervous over the bill. While the party voted in favour of a motion supporting the repeal of the Eighth Amendment at its Ard Fheis, its jobs spokesperson, Peadar Toibin, previously lost the whip for voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Fianna Fáil is likely to allow its TDs a free vote on the bill.

Last night, Ms Coppinger put pressure on Labour and Sinn Féin to support her proposal when it is voted upon next week.

"Labour recently reiterated the policy to repeal this medieval Amendment, so how could they now possibly justify voting it down? We would also expect support from Sinn Féin for the first time, now that they too have adopted (the) policy," the Dublin West TD said.

"Thousands of women endure secrecy, stigma and huge expense having to travel abroad for abortions," she added.

Irish Independent

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