EARLIER TODAY, FINE Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has strongly criticised the abortion legislation put forward by the government – but has not said definitively whether she will vote for or against it.
In a sharply worded speech before the Dáil, the TD for Dublin South East and Minister for State for European Affairs called for significant amendments to be made to the legislation before the final vote on it.
Creighton said that she had formed her opinions on the legislation based on her conscience. “This is not a Catholic issue,” she said. “It’s not a religious issue, it’s a human rights issue”.
She called on Minister for Health James Reilly to accept “substantive” amendments to the legislation rather than just procedural ones and singled out the inclusion of the suicide clause as one of the things that needs to change.
Her comments suggest that she may vote in favour of the legislation initially but vote against it at a later stage if certain amendments are not accepted.
Speaking near the start of the Dáil’s day-long session on the law, Creighton repeatedly criticised the “groupthink” in Irish society for promoting the legislation as progressive and necessary.
“None of us is perfect but our life is worthy and we are all worthy of life,” she said. “Who is any of us to determine that one single life is not worth living, not worth protecting.”
Creighton said that she hadn’t stood for elected office to pursue a pro-life agenda but that she had always been crystal clear on the issue.
Four Fine Gael TDs – Brian Walsh, Peter Mathews, Billy Timmins and Terence Flanagan – have all said that they will be voting against their party on the legislation.
Creighton went over her allocated speaking time of twenty minutes but was granted extra time by the Ceann Comhairle with the agreement of the TDs who were present.
Creighton was the second speaker of today’s eight-hour session in the Dáil which is dealing solely with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.
First published at 11:56.