14 June 2013

Principled pro-life stand by Irish legislator

Vigil for Life, Dublin, 8 June 2013

Today's Issue of The Irish Times carries two stories about Peadar Tóibín, a Sinn Féin TD (Teachta Dála, Member of Parliament), Tóibín censured on abortion vote, and Sinn Féin TD faces party discipline if he votes against abortion Bill. Deputy Tóibín [TDs are referred to as 'Deputy'] announced last night that he would vote against  the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill when it comes before the Dáil [Parliament]. This misnamed bill would legalise abortion for the first time in the Republic of Ireland, which has one of the best records in the world in terms of safety for pregnant women and their children before, during and after birth.

Part of the second Irish Times report reads [emphases and comments added]:

He continued by saying he would vote against the Bill, because it would introduce for the first time in law a therapy for suicidal ideation that included the ending of another human life.
It would also mean for the first time that a therapy for suicidal ideation in Ireland would have no basis in science. [At a hearing held in Ireland's Senate earlier this year medical experts, including psychiatrists, were unanimous on this.]
On the contrary the evidence states that abortion often does damage the health of the mother, can lead to suicide and of course is completely destructive of the life of the child.”

‘Cusp of viability’
“I am also seriously concerned that this legislation allows for abortion up until birth and that this legislation allows for a healthy unborn child on the cusp of viability to be brought to term with the likely probability that the child would be disabled by the State and possibly be institutionalised for life. [Deputy Tóibín is pointing out two horrific consequences of this bill.]
“It is an impossible ask for me to vote for legislation that will lead to another person’s death. TDs are responsible for their actions . . . I believe that if a TD votes for abortion that TD is in part responsible for abortions that happen under that legislation. I do not believe that it is possible to claim to be pro life and legislate for abortion,” he said. [What a clear statement about the responsibility of a legislator and of the consequences of decisions that we make.]
The leaders of the two government parties, Fine Gael and Labour, and the Sinn Féin, have stated that their members must vote for the Bill or lose the party whip. A deputy who loses his party's whip is expelled from the parliamentary party, though not from the party itself, a kind of 'excommunication'. The other opposition party, Fianna Fáil, is allowing its members to vote according to their consciences, because many TDs and Senators had made it clear that they couldn't in conscience vote for the Bill.
I have never been a supporter of Sinn Féin nor indeed did I know anything about Deputy Tóibín until now. But this morning I sent him an email thanking him for his stand. His official email address is peadar.toibin@oir.ie. I'm sure that he would appreciate a 'thank you' note from others. And his stand may give courage to members of the government parties who are under tremendous pressure from their leaders to toe the line and to vote to bring the Republic of Ireland into the Neo-Dark Ages.

NB The email address above for Deputy Tóibín is the one I found on the Sinn Féin website. I've since found the following on the website of the Oireachtas (the umbrella name for the Irish legislature): peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie. Though my earlier email to Deputy Tóibín didn't bounce back, I re-sent it to the second address. Probably both are correct.
Another video of last Saturday's Vigil for Life in Dublin

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