Onus on parties to set out stance on abortion
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, a former Minister for Health, says he is "not going there" and will not initiate any moves to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Yesterday one of Mr Martin's successors, former Health Minister James Reilly, placed the eternally divisive and deeply sensitive issue of lawful termination of pregnancy back on the political agenda when he called for a referendum early in the next term of government.
Dr Reilly said he "cannot countenance, as a doctor or human being" the scenario whereby women are forced to go through with their pregnancies in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities or forced to "sneak back in like criminals" if they have such a termination abroad. The Minister for Children also said he believes it is "very difficult to ask a woman who has been raped and violated to continue to carry a child".
The deputy leader of Fine Gael received strong backing from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who restated that, in her view, the Constitution is not the place to deal with complex issues such as abortion. Ms Fitzgerald also called for a detailed discussion on what would repeal the Eighth Amendment.