Pro Choice supporter in Dublin in 2012
According to the whichcandidate.ie election site, of the 44 elected Fianna Fáil TDs, only two – Lisa Chambers and Jim O’Callaghan – favour expanding access to abortion; of 50 Fine Gael TDs, only Kate O’Connell and Paschal Donohoe favour more liberal laws.
To put those figures in context: while 87% of the general population favour expanding access to abortion, only 4.5% of Fianna Fáil TDs and 4% of Fine Gael TDs do.
… I agree that the campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment isn’t going to lie down under a conservative coalition. I too believe that we can put a referendum on this government’s agenda.
But if our referendum is begrudged to us by overwhelmingly anti-choice politicians, are these really the people we want to preside over it?
Leo Varadkar, minister for health under the outgoing government, regarded by many as a future Fine Gael leader, has publicly stated that while the current legislation may be too restrictive, he wants to keep a “pro-life” amendment in the constitution.
After all our work, can Ireland’s feminist movement risk letting Fine Fáil scheme to replace the eighth with another constitutional amendment? To offer – masquerading as middle ground – not the opportunity to repeal the eighth but to amend it?