Despite the fact Labour the junior party in Ireland’s coalition government has previously declared that it is pro-abortion many people within Labour are unhappy with that image and it has become clear in recent times that the party is actually split on the abortion issue.
Senator Ivana Bacik insists that her party’s official position on abortion is "pro-choice" and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte says Labour’s position is well-established.
TÁNAISTE (Deputy Prime Minister) and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore however, despite having made previous pro-abortion statements, has reportedly refused to spell out Labour’s position on abortion before the Government-appointed expert group reports next month. Mr Gilmore has also declined to say if he agrees or disagrees with Senator Bacik.
Gilmore’s hesitation (or change of heart) appears to be due to unrest within the party as recently expressed by party member Senator John Whelan.
Senator Whelan is reported as saying there are a variety of views within the party.
“Pat Rabbitte summed it up when he said there was a broad spectrum of views within the Labour Party. I was glad he did note there was not just a single viewpoint,” Mr Whelan said. “Some of us resent the characterisation that the Labour Party is, if you like, pro-abortion. We don’t agree with that.”
Mr Rabbitte conceded this by acknowledging at the weekend that “pretty much all of the parties” in Leinster House had differing views within their ranks.