SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has insisted that his party is not pro-abortion in the wake of comments from a Fine Gael backbencher who has indicated he will vote against legislation for the X Case.
Adams was speaking today as he called on the government to publish planned legislation for the X Case ruling amid indications that heads of the Protection of Maternal Life Bill 2013 will be published following tomorrow’s cabinet meeting.
The Sinn Féin president said that the government had not handled the abortion issue well following over a week of debate about the number of consultants who should assess suicidal risk in a woman who requests a termination.
Earlier drafts of the legislation indicated as many as six consultants would be required to assess a case of a pregnant woman expressing suicidal ideation and Adams said: “Thus far the Government has not handled this issue well.”
He said that Brian Walsh, a Fine Gael TD who said earlier he would not vote for a law that included suicidal risk, had misrepresented Sinn Féin’s position.
“Today Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh, in a very mischievous way, misrepresented Sinn Féin’s position. Sinn Féin is not a pro-abortion party,” Adams said.
“We have a long-standing party position that the Government must legislate for the Supreme Court decision in the X case which included the threat of suicide as grounds to access a termination.”
Adams pointed out that the people of Ireland had rejected the attempt to remove threat of suicide as a grounds for an abortion in a referendum 11 years ago and said that what was missing from the current debate was the proposed legislation from government.
“There should be no further delay or excuses in the publication of the X case legislation,” he said.
“Sinn Féin will closely scrutinise this legislation but the key issue is the need for legal clarity be it for medical practitioners and legal protection for pregnant women whose lives are at risk.”