Friday 9 December 2016

It's time to stand up on 8th Amendment

The Independent Alliance are well aware the proposed bill is unconstitutional, writes Shane Coleman

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

TESTING TIME: TDs from the Independent Alliance, Minister for Transport Shane Ross, John Halligan, Finian McGrath, and Sean Canning. Photo: Tony Gavin
TESTING TIME: TDs from the Independent Alliance, Minister for Transport Shane Ross, John Halligan, Finian McGrath, and Sean Canning. Photo: Tony Gavin

What odds are on the Government that has yet to mark two months in office lasting two years? Pretty long if the Independent Alliance's stand on the Fatal Foetal Abnormalities Bill is anything to go by.

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No doubt their intentions are good and compassionate. And that they feel genuinely strongly about the issue. However, looked at calmly and rationally, the stance of the Alliance's ministers on Mick Wallace's bill is illogical and inconsistent.

Shane Ross and Finian McGrath both sit at Cabinet. So they know the details of the Attorney General's advice that the proposed bill is unconstitutional (on the basis of a Supreme Court judgement that it is the 'capacity to be born' that is protected in the 8th Amendment). They are also presumably aware of the advice of the chief medical officer who has said that, because of that 1983 amendment to the constitution, the bill is not medically practicable.

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