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This new Fianna Fáil TD wants to repeal the Eighth Amendment - but she won't convince her colleagues

Lisa Chambers favours abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 20.19.12 Lisa Chambers took a second seat for Fianna Fáil in Mayo last month Source: TheJournal.ie

A NEW FIANNA Fáil TD has said she wants to repeal the Eighth Amendment and favours abortion in circumstances of fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest.

However, Lisa Chambers said there needs to be a national conversation on an “emotive issue” before any referendum. The Mayo deputy said she would not seek to convince her party colleagues to support repeal if they are against it.

“I think we do need to repeal it, only when we know exactly what we’re doing afterwards and that’s on the basis of the feedback I got from the last eight months canvassing,” Chambers said.

“I think the debate has become quite venomous and that’s a dangerous territory to be moving into because, as a representative, I need to represent all views on the spectrum.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Whether you be in favour of repealing it, not in favour of repealing it, [and] if you do want to repeal it, what kind of services do you want afterwards? They’re questions that, as a country, we need to have a conversation about and answer those questions.

The Eighth Amendment enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn in the Constitution and acts as an effective ban on abortion in Ireland.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that his party will not initiate a referendum on the amendment, but will allow a free vote on the issue if a referendum is held.

The abortion issue has been particularly fraught for Fianna Fáil in the last few years.

Three years ago, in the face of a rebellion on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, TDs and Senators were given a free vote on the legislation, which provides for abortions in circumstances where there is a risk to the life of the mother, including suicide.

The majority of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party opposed the bill. Martin told the Irish Independent last year that his party is “not going there” when it comes to holding a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

screenshot.1457531026.36277 Source: www.thejournal.ie

Asked in what circumstances she would favour abortion, Chambers said it should be permitted in circumstances where there is a fatal foetal abnormality, or where a woman is a victim of rape or incest.

However she did not say if she would go further, adding: “I don’t know beyond that, I’m a bit uncomfortable with a lot of it to be honest.

I think I feel a little bit like there’s a lot of misinformation out there and I just think as a country we have to have that conversation and be respectful of all views.

Chambers said it was not up to her to convince or pressure her colleagues into agreeing with her view, adding: “It’s up to each deputy to make up their own mind on the basis of their own conscience and what they believe to be the right thing to do.”

There will be more from our interview with Lisa Chambers on TheJournal.ie this weekend.

Read: Labour’s demise puts abortion off the agenda for a decade, claims minister

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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