According to news reports Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin says he is in favour of his party supporting the abortion legislation as it is in his opinion "consistent with a pro-life position", but his stance puts him at odds with large sections of his party, following the passing of three strongly pro-life motions at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.
"I think that the bill is consistent with a pro-life position. I think it's a restrictive piece of legislation, which I think actually limits what the current situation is, I mean the current legal position is that basically a woman can seek an abortion on suicidal grounds in any hospital, one doctor making an assessment, no requirement for psychiatric assessment whatsoever.
This is absolute nonsense, the proposed legislation is clearly pro-abortion and rather that taking the word of pro-lifers Michael Martin should take note that it has been welcomed by all the main pro-abortion groups in Ireland.
The Bill cannot be described as ‘pro-life' or 'restrictive' because sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 offenses against the person act currently prohibits abortion entirely. The effect of the new legislation would be to establish an abortion regime for the first time in Ireland with no time limits and contrary to the evidence presented by psychiatrists at the recent Oireachtas Hearings.
The Independent also reports that Martin in making his statement has admitted that achieving consensus in his party will be difficult and that he has not ruled out a free vote on the issue as requested by some members of his party.