By editor - 28 December, 2015
PLC deputy chairperson, Cora Sherlock, said in a statement on Sunday, “Minister Harris’ statement is very indicative of the blinkered attitude of this Government when it comes to abortion.”
She continued, “Instead of working to improve perinatal hospice facilities for the families of babies with life-limiting conditions, his entire focus is on the further liberalisation of abortion.”
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the junior minister said he wants the right to an abortion extended to women whose babies have fatal foetal abnormalities, describing their situation as “appalling”.
The minister of state in the Department of Finance said he believed a referendum on the 8th amendment, which gives an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will probably be required to widen the grounds for abortion to these cases.
“I think it has to be dealt with in the lifetime of the next Dáil,” Minister Harris said and added, “I think the Taoiseach has made it clear it will be dealt with in the lifetime of the next Dáil, if Fine Gael is in government.”
The Wicklow TD also said he supported the Taoiseach’s proposal for a citizen’s convention to examine the 8th amendment before deciding whether to proceed with a referendum.
In her statement, Cora Sherlock of PLC said that the real tragedy was that many families travel abroad for an abortion and only then discover that perinatal hospice facilities are available after it is too late.
“Why doesn’t the Minister use his position to ensure that this appalling situation never becomes a reality for any family?” she asked.
Ms Sherlock concluded by warning, “In the run-up to the general election, comments like this will be very much on the mind of pro-life voters in Wicklow who will remember how Minister Harris specifically canvassed for their votes in 2011 so that he could represent the pro-life position in the Dáil, only to now call for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.”