Anne Phelan calls for comprehensive legislation to cover X case on abortion

The Government must ensure an end to the practice whereby 12 women a day are forced to access abortion procedures in the UK and elsewhere, Carlow/Kilkenny Labour Deputy Ann Phelan told the Dáil.

The Government must ensure an end to the practice whereby 12 women a day are forced to access abortion procedures in the UK and elsewhere, Carlow/Kilkenny Labour Deputy Ann Phelan told the Dáil.

Speaking during a debate on a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Dublin North Socialist Party Deputy Clare Daly, which called for legislation for the X Case - to allow safe abortion in Ireland where the life of a woman is at risk – she said such women who find themselves in a crisis situation were not statistics.

“They are our daughters, sisters, mothers and aunts, and we should not forget their partners either,” she said. “All of those people are real, rational human beings caught up in an Irish solution to an Irish problem. We are being asked to legislate for a human tragedy. This is not like formulating other legislation. This requires the most careful drafting of legislation. If we are to learn lessons from the past the ensuing debate must be calm and rational because it is such an emotive issue.”

As a woman, Deputy Phelan said she did not like having to vote against the Bill which, perhaps, did not go far enough in drafting adequate legislation or guidelines on this issue.

“The best way to deal with it is not during Private Members’ business but in a full session of the House,” she said. “I hope Deputy Clare Daly will agree with me. In this case we should not pre-empt the findings of the expert group which may uncover something of importance. I advise that we await its report. That is the way I will be voting.”

The Bill was defeated by 109 votes to 20.