Saturday 18 January 2020

Labour deputies will not be allowed free vote on abortion bill – spokesman reporters

LABOUR Party deputies will not be allowed a free vote on the upcoming Private Members’ Bill on implementing the X-case ruling.

A spokesperson for the party confirmed the stance as he said that Labour TDs, as part of the Government, will be expected to vote against the bill.

The Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in the case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Women) Bill will be debated tonight and tomorrow in the Dail.

The stance comes just after the Labour Party Ard Fheis in Galway where the party reaffirmed its support for abortion services to be provided in Ireland.

Earlier, Socialist TD Clare Daly had called on Labour TDs to support her bill and for the Government parties to remove the whip from their deputies to allow them the freedom to decide how to vote.

Ms Daly said Labour and Sinn Fein policy should mean those parties support the Bill anyway.

The 1992 Supreme Court ruling which established the right of Irish women to an abortion if a pregnant woman's life was at risk because of pregnancy, including the risk of suicide, was never given legislative effect.

The new bill also needs Government support.

Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found that the State had violated the rights of a woman who was fighting cancer who was forced travel abroad to get an abortion.

The Programme for Government committed the Fine Gael-led coalition to establish an expert group to make recommendations on how this matter should be addressed.

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