Taoiseach Worried Abortion Plans Too Extreme
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has reacted cautiously to the Oireachtas abortion committee’s proposal to allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks. Speaking after the Cabinet met to discuss the committee’s recommendation, published just before Christmas, the Taoiseach said there is concern among many politicians that the proposal to allow abortions without restrictions up to 12 weeks may go too far for the majority of the public, and that there were diverse views on the issues within the Cabinet.
Mr Varadkar said this recommendation went further than he and many people would have anticipated a year or two ago. But he defended the “logic” of the Oireachtas Committee’s recommendation, and insisted that the Government is still intent on holding a referendum by the summer.
He refused to be drawn on his own view, saying he would have to see the referendum question first, which would happen in a couple of weeks. However, once he makes his decision he will advocate along the lines of how he is voting and ministers will be free to campaign on either side of the debate.
Mr Varadkar said this was a deeply private and personal matter and there was a diversity of views in almost every household in the country. “People will be able to campaign freely in accordance with their conscience, or not campaign at all if that's their preference. I will advocate to people along the lines of the views I express but I'm not going to be ramming my personal opinions down anybody’s throat.”
Anticipating significant divisions within his own party on the issue, he said Fine Gael would be a “warm house and large tent” for these diverse views.
RTÉ. January 11. Irish Independent. January 11.