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X Case judgement is 'flawed' and 'archaic' says Sinn Féin rebel Tóibín

Peadar Tóibín has defied the party whip on abortion this week and has criticised the Supreme Court ruling on the X case concerning abortion in Ireland.

Peadar Tóibín
Peadar Tóibín
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE SINN FÉIN TD who abstained from voting with the party whip on legislation to give effect to the X Case in the Dáil this week has criticised the Supreme Court ruling.

Peadar Tóibín was absent from the Dáil for the vote on Clare Daly’s Private Members’ bill that was defeated by the government majority on Wednesday. Sinn Féin joined a number of independent TDs in voting for the legislation.

He also did not sign a party motion calling on the government to legislate for the X Case last week, a motion which the government also defeated.

Sinn Féin now says that it intends to take action against the Meath West TD over his actions and on RTÉ Radio this morning Tóibín admitted that he expected “some level of discipline coming my way over the next while”.

He said that while he respected the position of his party to not only legislate for the X Case ruling 20 years ago but also to allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest, he had “different personal views”.

“One hundred per cent if a woman’s life is in danger she needs to have every single medical procedure necessary to save her life,” he told Today with Pat Kenny.

Archaic

But he said that he believed the X Case judgement itself, which gave a constitutional right for a woman to access a termination when their life is in danger including from the risk of suicide, was “flawed”.

He said that the case did not “take medical evidence that should have been taken” and went onto describe it as “historic and archaic as a case”.

“In medical situations, confidence levels in identifying diagnosis of threat to life is far higher than confidence level within psychiatric treatments,” he told the programme.

He said there were unintended consequences from the introduction of abortion in the UK in the 1960s by the Liberal Party (now Liberal Democrat) MP David Steel who later wrote that his law – introduced as a private member’s bill – needed rethinking.

Tóibín added that he hoped that the State offered “different options to women” and said that the State needed “to ensure that when a woman is in this situation that she does have the choice” to be able to raise their children, criticising the proposed cut to child benefit.

He acknowledged that there needed to be clarity “with regards to medical terminations really, really quickly” and said that the issue would be debated in his own party but did not say whether not not he would vote on any legislation for the X Case in the new year.

“I am not going to give a determination on a piece of legislation that is not even written yet,” he said.

Read: Where were the 38 TDs who didn’t vote on the abortion bill?

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Hugh O'Connell

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