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Creighton ‘lost for words’ over abortion bill

Deputy Lucinda Creighton appealed to Minister James Reilly to listen to the evidence put forward by medical experts.

Minister of State Lucinda Creighton
Minister of State Lucinda Creighton
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated 00.09

EARLIER TODAY, FINE Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton said that she was ‘lost for words’ over the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Speaking during today’s debate on the 165 amendments tabled in relation to the bill – which will be voted on this evening – she said that she respects those on the opposition benches who “have been very honest in what they aspire to achieve in terms of an abortion regime in this country”.

At the end of her speech, she appealed to Health Minister James Reilly, asking him to “please listen to the evidence which has been put forward by medical experts” and asked “please let’s not enshrine flawed logic, flawed legislation on our statue books”.

According to Creighton, “the consequences of the legislation are not reversible”. She said the consequences will “change the culture of our country and change how we deal with vulnerable women”.

Creighton, who it is believed will vote against the bill tonight, thus losing her place in the Fine Gael parliamentary party, and seat as Junior Minister, asked Minister Reilly to accept her amendment calling for a clinical care pathway for vulnerable women who are feeling suicidal.

She continued: “Why are we insisting that abortion, which has no medical grounding, is going to be enshrined in our statue book as the only treatment for women who find themselves in that desperate place?”.

I am lost for words because I cannot understand why this proposal is being insisted upon by you and your Government.

X Case

Creighton alleged this legislation ignores a very recent court case, Cosma Vs Minister for Justice, where a woman sought that her deportation order would be quashed on the grounds that if she were to be deported she would take her own life.

When the High Court dealt with the case, Mr Justice Hanna said in his judgement:

To permit the threat of suicide to act as a stop on the execution of administrative decisions, such as deportation, would be to open a Pandora’s box of potential abuse with the possible effects of paralysing administrative activity in any given area of government.

Creighton said that to not allow the deportation in this case, but to allow abortion due to the threat of suicide “is entirely inconsistent”.

However, in the Dáil this evening, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that on the contrary to what Creighton stated, the case “confirms the Government got it right”.

Shatter said that any suggestion that the Cosma case undermines the legal analysis on which this bill is based is “entirely, completely and utterly inaccurate” no matter how “beguiling” that argument might be.

Creighton said that while she supports the overall intention of the legislation, which is supposed to be about protecting and saving the lives of women and babies, she said she “cannot support a clause that is essentially built on sand”, referring to section 9 of the bill, which covers suicide.

Explainer: What exactly are Ireland’s politicians voting on tonight?

Read: D-day for Creighton as Dáil to vote on abortion legislation>

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