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TD facing expulsion still 'weighing up' decision ahead of abortion vote

The Fine Gael TD is on the fence ahead of Wednesday night’s vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

MICHELLE MULHERIN HAS not yet decided if she will vote against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 come the final vote on Wednesday.

The Fine Gael TD has expressed her dissatisfaction with the proposed legislation but has not gone as far as saying she will face expulsion from the party over it.

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, the Mayo deputy said she will “weigh up on balance what to do” once the amendments she has tabled are accepted or rejected.

Although she accepts the inclusion of suicide grounds as means to obtain a lawful termination, Mulherin wants further assurances about the restrictive nature of the bill.

“I would consider my position once the Minister gave appropriate consideration to my concerns and to my efforts to make this particular piece of legislation more restrictive,” she said, describing the government’s current amendments as “window dressing”.

She also reiterated her request for a “pause period” of between one week and 10 days from the time a pregnant woman makes the request and the medical assessment is conducted by obstetricians and psychiatrists. That suggestion was dismissed by the Health Committee last week.

Others who have indicated their opposition to the Bill, but have not said outright that they will vote against it, include Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton, John Paul Phelan, James Bannon and John O’Mahony.

In the first Dáil vote, 24 TDs voted against the legislation with four Fine Gael members losing the party whip.

Related: Thousands take to Dublin streets over proposed abortion legislation

Read: ‘Rally for Life’ protest to call for referendum on abortion bill

More: Lucinda Creighton seeks removal of suicidal ideation from abortion bill

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