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McDonald moves Sinn Féin motion on X case legislation

20 November, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD tonight sought all party support for Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion calling on the government to legislate for the X case.

Deputy McDonald said:

“This evening we add our voice to all of those in Ireland and beyond in expressing our deep sorrow and shock at the death of Savita Hallapanavar. To her husband Praveen and her family we offer our sympathies and support.

“We don’t know as of yet the precise series of events that lead to this young woman’s death. It is crucial that the full facts are established. That is the very least that Savita is owed. The inquiry into her death must be thorough, timely, and independent and must have the full confidence and consent of her husband and family.

“Sinn Féin’s is a straight forward call for legislation to protect pregnant women where their lives are in danger; it is a call for legislation that gives certainty and protection to the doctors who care for them; it is a call on government to publish the long awaited report of the expert group to facilitate debate and the speedy passage of this legislation.

“Our motion is a very reasonable ask of a political system that has fudged, prevaricated and failed to act in twenty years. Multiple court cases, rulings by the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, two referenda, and seven governments later, here we find ourselves.

“It is necessary that we as legislators make clear our intentions: that we say for once and all that we will legislate to provide safety and clarity to women and medics. Sinn Féin’s motion provides this opportunity to TDs of all political parties and none, to make this clear.

“All of us know that the issue of abortion can be divisive. People feel strongly, passionately, on the subject. This motion does not come down on either side of that broader and on-going debate on extending abortion rights. Sinn Féin’s motion simply asks that which is already lawful and constitutional be defined and guided by legislation.

“I can’t speak for all those that served in governments over the past twenty years and I can’t be definitive on why they failed to legislate, but I can make an educated guess. I can surmise that they feared what they considered a ‘difficult choice’, that they hoped it would go away, that they presumed their failure to legislate would be consequence free for women. They were wrong on all three counts.

“Protecting the lives of pregnant women is not a difficult choice. It is the only civilised choice. The need for this protection will not go away. The failure to legislate has consequences for women and their doctors.

“Amendments to this motion tabled by both the government and Fianna Fáil fall short of any concrete commitment to legislate.

“Critics of this motion have bandied the words political opportunism around. They are more comfortable playing party politics than making the political commitment that the women and medical professional of this country need. That commitment is to legislate for the X case.”


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