Fine Gael Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, following unsuccessful attempts to have the Government “Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill amended, finally voted yesterday against her own Government Party. In so doing Minister Creighton was automatically expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party and had to relinquish her European Affairs Ministry.
Speaking during the two-day debate on the 165 amendments tabled in relation to the bill Minister Creighton, prior to voting against the measure, told the Dail “the consequences of the legislation are not reversible”. She said the consequences will “change the culture of our country and change how we deal with vulnerable women”. Creighton also appealed to Health Minister James Reilly, asking him to “please listen to the evidence which had been put forward by medical experts during the recent Oireachtas hearings and she asked “please let’s not enshrine flawed logic, flawed legislation on our statue books”.
At the end of her speech she asked Minister Reilly to accept her amendment calling for a clinical care pathway for vulnerable women who are feeling suicidal.
She continued: “Why are we insisting that abortion, which has no medical grounding, is going to be enshrined in our statue book as the only treatment for women who find themselves in that desperate place?”. I am lost for words because I cannot understand why this proposal is being insisted upon by you and your Government.
Creighton said that while she supports the overall intention of the legislation, which is supposed to be about protecting and saving the lives of women and babies, she said she “cannot support a clause that is essentially built on sand”, referring to section 9 of the bill, which covers suicide.
She alleged this legislation ignores a very recent court case where a woman sought that her deportation order would be quashed on the grounds that if she were to be deported she would take her own life.
When the High Court dealt with the case, Mr Justice Hanna said in his judgement:
“To permit the threat of suicide to act as a stop on the execution of administrative decisions, such as deportation, would be to open a Pandora’s box of potential abuse with the possible effects of paralysing administrative activity in any given area of government.”
Creighton said that to not allow the deportation in this case, but to allow abortion due to the threat of suicide “is entirely inconsistent”.
Ms Creighton had previously expressed the opinion recently that failure to vindicate the life of the unborn could invalidate the legislation “I think the legislation could be struck down for not including a way to vindicate the life of the unborn.” She added her personal conviction that any legislation arising from the Bill should contain amendments guaranteeing constitutional protections for both mother and unborn child.