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Lucinda Creighton: "This is bigger than party politics"

The Minister of State for European Affairs has given another strong indication that she will vote against the abortion legislation.

Lucinda Creighton
Lucinda Creighton
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

FINE GAEL TD Lucinda Creighton has given another strong indication that she will vote against the abortion legislation when it comes before the Dáil on Wednesday night – but has avoided saying outright how she will vote.

The Minister of State for European Affairs said that she would feel “much more reassured” if the suicide clause was removed and better facilities for treating suicidal women were instead established around the country.

Creighton brushed aside concerns about losing the party whip and being outside of the Fine Gael, saying that the issue was not about her.

“This is bigger than party politics,” she said, adding that it was a fundamental question facing the government.

She said she was still holding out some hope that she could vote in favour of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill if amendments are made before the final Dáil vote on it, but said she could vote with her conscience if she found that she could not support the provisions of the legislation.

The Dublin South East TD criticised the whip system and said that no member of the parliamentary party should be cast out for voting against legislation with which they disagree.

Creighton made the comments on the Today with Pat Kenny show on RTE Radio One in response to criticism from Dr Anthony McCarthy, a perinatal psychiatrist at the National Maternity Hospital.

Creighton compared suicidal women undergoing an abortion to the issue of cancer care, saying:

Can you imagine if we as legislators were trying to prescribe through legislation treatment  for cancer care and we basically decided to introduce a treatment that didn’t have any substance or any grounding in medical evidence, that the vast majority  of oncologists around the country didn’t support [as] unworkable, and we just ploughed ahead and put it on the statute book anyway? I mean, isn’t there something wrong with that?

She repeatedly called for better resources and services nationwide to help treat suicidal women rather than an approach which sees abortion as a ‘treatment’ for suicidal ideation.

Four Fine Gael TDs – Billy Timmins, Terence Flanagan, Peter Mathews and Brian Walsh – were among the 24 TDs who voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill when the second stage of the legislation came before the chamber last week.

The vote passed by 138 votes in favour to 24 against before moving to committee stage where possible amendments to the legislation were discussed.

The final Dáil vote on the bill is due to take place on Wednesday night.

Poll: Should TDs who vote against their party face expulsion? >

Read: Lucinda Creighton seeks removal of suicidal ideation from abortion bill >

Read: TD facing expulsion still ‘weighing up’ decision ahead of abortion vote >

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