Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is bracing for the biggest revolt within his Fine Gael party since forming a coalition government in March 2011 as lawmakers vote today on proposed abortion legislation.
The bill would create a legal framework for a 1992 Supreme Court ruling granting women the right to an abortion if the mother’s life is at risk, including suicide. Up until now, there has been no legislative basis for abortion in Ireland. Kenny is seeking legislation after a 17-week pregnant Indian woman died in an Irish hospital last year after being refused a termination.
Enlarge image European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton
European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton, the most senior member of Kenny’s party to voice concerns about the bill, said in an RTE Radio interview yesterday, “If it is a thing I find I cannot vote for this legislation this week, I may well be outside of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.”
Prime Minister Enda Kenny told reporters earlier this month he didn’t expect expelled lawmakers would be able to stand for the party in the next general election.
“If it is a thing I find I cannot vote for this legislation this week, I may well be outside of the Fine Gael parliamentary party,” European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton, the most senior member of Kenny’s party to voice concerns about the bill, said in an RTE Radio interview yesterday.
Successive Irish governments fearing a backlash in the traditionally Catholic nation have avoided introducing laws to pin down the meaning of the Supreme Court ruling. The case of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia in October, reignited the battle over abortion, which remains among the most divisive issues in Irish society.
Four members of Kenny’s party have been expelled from the party after voting against the legislation in an earlier stage last week. The vote is scheduled to take place before midnight today in Dublin.