Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, has lost her position in Irish Government for voting against the suicide clause in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
The new legislation meets the requirements of the 1992 “X Case” Supreme Court judgment, which stated an abortion should be allowed if there was a threat to the mother's life, including suicide.
The Irish Independent reports that Creighton “faces an uncertain future in the political wilderness” as she joins four other Fine Gael members of parliament who rebelled against the government political party. The other four include Billy Timmins, Terence Flanagan, Brian Walsh and Peter Mathews who went against the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny despite his having enforced this punishment.
Following her decision she told the RTE news, “It's very disappointing and I would rather that I wasn't here. For me, this is a very important piece of legislation, one which is against a commitment that we made at the last election - a promise had been made, a very fundamental promise - on abortion.
"I just felt that I couldn't remove from that promise that we made at the last election.”
She added that is was not possible for her to compromise on matters of "life and death".
Creighton said, “I think everybody in the Oireachtas [Government] agreed that it was necessary to put in some legal certainty, whether by legislation or regulation to doctors in providing full medical support for women in pregnancy, to ensure their lives would be saved, we all supported that. But this went further than that."
The young politician’s future in now uncertain as Kenny has said anyone who votes against the government can not run for Fine Gael in the the next election. Kenny and Creighton have had an uneasy relationship since she voted against him in support of Richard Bruton in 2010.
As the government debate continued inside, outside protesters gathered. Anti-abortion campaigners carried placards with slogans like “Kill the bill. Not the child”, another displayed a photo of an unborn baby with the slogan “The death penalty? For me? Why?”
Pro-choice campaigners made their presence felt also with placards reading, “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries” and “Honk for choice,” reported the Irish Times.
The debate in the Irish Government will continue on to Friday afternoon when another vote will be cast.
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