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Kenny confirms New Year action on abortion issue

Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign has said that any legislation would be a “first step in achieving abortion on demand”.

Pro-choice protests outside the Dáil last month.
Pro-choice protests outside the Dáil last month.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told RTÉ that action on the abortion issue will be taken in the New Year.

He said that he did not want the matter “left hanging around interminably”. He said his Government would deal with it “practically and credibly, giving everybody the opportunity to have their full say”.

The Cabinet is to make a decision on how to respond to the Expert Group’s report and recommendations at a meeting tomorrow.

Earlier today, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy called for a free vote for TDs on the topic so politicians could vote against the party line if they so wished. Kenny ruled out the possibility of such a vote.

During today’s debate at Leinster House, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald reiterated the coalition’s commitment to bring “clarity” on the matter.

However, Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch warned that the expected mix of regulation and legislation will not be enough.

“Mark my words,” she told the Dáil. “There will be another incident, which we will have to come back and face this issue again. Because what we are about to do is way too narrow.”

Despite reports about the likely restrictive nature of expected proposals, the Pro Life Campaign has issued a statement this evening, warning the Government that any legislation for the X Case would be a “first step in achieving abortion on demand”.

“Claims that legislation for the X case is a compromise between pro-choice and pro-life sides is nothing more than a political ploy to make any legislation appear restrictive,” said Dr Ruth Cullen. “The reality is, however, that any legislation for the X case would blur the distinction between life saving medical interventions in pregnancy and induced abortion, the sole aim of which is to intentionally end the life of the baby.”

Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover spoke at a Woman’s Rights conference in Dublin today, stating he had concerns about women’s health in Ireland following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

He told RTÉ News that abortion should be an option for women where their health is impacted and not only where the life of the mother is at risk.

“That is the only way you actually make sure that a woman’s right to health is preserved and a woman’s right to health services realised,” he added.

READ: Labour accused of using abortion as ‘cover to deflect from Budget’

MORE: Sinn Féin strips Peadar Toibín of committee chairmanship over X Case vote

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