It seemed certain that Irish Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton would be sacked and expelled from the governing Fine Gael party if, as expected, she votes against the abortion legislation, Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, later today.
Despite an all-night sitting until 5am the bill was not finally voted on until Thursday.
The bill passed two votes in the Irish parliament on Wednesday night and Creighton voted with the government on both occasions.
But a third clause which calls for the Government to pass legislation allowing for abortion rights where the mother can prove suicidal intent was expected to result in Creighton voting against it.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has warned that he will expel all who vote against the bill from the party and that they will not stand in future elections for the party.
Creighton had delivered a tough speech on Monday saying she believed the abortion bill was “built on sand.”
On Wednesday evening Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin said, “I am now faced with either supporting the Bill or being booted out of the party, my party.”
The politician, who has previously voiced strong reservations about the clause allowing abortion if a woman is suicidal, spoke to BreakingNews.ie having met with the Irish leader Enda Kenny and Minister for Health James Reilly for over an hour.
She said, “I am not going to allow myself to be booted out so I’m supporting this legislation.”
Mulherin continued saying she was “very disappointed that there was very little accommodation of the legitimate concerns expressed by myself and many others.”
Her fellow Mayo constituency TD John O’Mahony also confirmed he would vote in favor of the new abortion bill ahead of the Dail (Parliament) vote.
BreakingNews.ie reported, “The Government revolt over legislation allowing abortion in limited circumstances is expected to be limited.”
In a statement O’Mahony said he was satisfied that “the safeguards are adequate” to prevent abuse of the legislation.
“I have decided to support the passage of the remaining stages of this Bill through the Dáil."
Six other members of Irish government - Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Richard Boyd Barrett, Mick Wallace, Joe Higgins and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan - confirmed they would oppose the Bill.
They believe that Article 40.3.3 of Ireland’s constitution should be repealed by referendum. This article places the life of the mother and unborn child on equal footing. Meaning that unless the mother’s condition must be life threatening before doctors can perform a termination.
Roscommon Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told TheJournal.ie, “I have sisters, I had a mother, I have aunts and I have daughters.
“My priority is their health and if one of my formal relatives was raped and they felt they needed to purge their body of it, that should be their choice.”
Joe Higgins said the bill “represents a betrayal of women and the memory of Savita Halappanavar whose life would not have been saved with this legislation.”
Clare Daly commented on the fact that this bill will make terminations illegal during an inevitable miscarriage while there is still a foetal heartbeat.
She said, “If a woman gets an infection in such circumstances, doctors will have to delay a termination until her life is at risk.”
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