The cat’s out of the bag: Phil Hogan gaffe shows FG playing politics with abortion issue says Caroline Simons

3rd May, 2013

Minister Phil Hogan has finally revealed why Fine Gael abandoned its pre-election commitment not to legislate for abortion. 

In newspaper reports today, Minister Hogan claims that Fine Gael could not keep its pro-life commitment because of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 that Ireland had to legislate to implement the constitutional right to abortion.  Only for that, he said, Fine Gael would have preferred "regulations and medical guidelines" to set out directions to doctors in the event of a threat to the life of the mother.

Commenting on Minister Hogan's claims, Caroline Simons of the Pro Life Campaign said:

"The only trouble with this explanation is that the court decision came about in December 2010, three months before the election. Fine Gael gave its election commitment in full knowledge of what the Court had ruled.

Ms Simons continued, "For the record, Ireland is not required to legislate for the X case to implement the Strasbourg judgement. Ireland could introduce strong guidelines on life-saving procedures for all physical conditions, including those that arose in the case before the European Court.  

"The sad fact, which Minister Hogan’s ‘explanation’ reveals, is that the Fine Gael leadership has been playing politics with what is a life-and-death issue. It is appalling to see the usual political spin taking place.

"Other examples of the Government spin include the claim that the Government is not proposing to change the law and that Ireland’s Constitution will prevent the proposed legislation from leading to widespread abortion.

"Both these claims are bogus. The truth is that the Government is proposing to activate our existing constitutional position in the most dangerous way imaginable, and with tragic consequences for human life.”

Minister Phil Hogan