Sinn Féin TD claims abortion legalisation could lead to Eugenics

Peadar Tóibín is going against his party's position on the Eighth Amendment

Sinn Féin TD claims abortion legalisation could lead to Eugenics

File photo of Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín outside Leinster House, 02-12-2015. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

A Sinn Féin TD has said he is worried introducing abortion into Ireland could lead to Eugenics.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Peadar Tóibín said abortion legalisation could see increased rates of abortion for children with Down syndrome.

He will attend a debate in the Dáil later on an Oireachtas Committee recommendation to have unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

Sinn Féin is the only major political party not allowing members a free vote on the issue.

Peadar Tóibín has said the legalisation of abortion would go against his beliefs:

“For example, in Denmark, 98% of all children who are diagnosed to have Down syndrome in the womb are aborted,” he said.

“In countries like Iceland, the figure is nearly 100%

“I would actually be worried that it could be used as a form of eugenics to a certain extent.

“Life should not be about those who are perfect; those who are perfectly formed; life should be a right for absolutely everybody.”

Conscience vote

Deputy Tóibín was suspended from Sinn Féin for six months in 2013 after he voted against the party on the abortion bill.

However, he said he now has an agreement with party leadership which allows him to speak his mind about abortion - provided he outlines the party view alongside his own.

This afternoon, the Dáil will begin a two-day debate on the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

Deputy Tóibín has pledged to vote with his conscience:

"I have had an agreement with Gerry [Adams] and the party leadership for the last number of years that I can speak on the issue as long as I give the party view and my own view.

"The whip doesn't reach the ballot box.

"I will obviously be seeking to protect the right to life amendment as it stands currently."

Committee recommendations

The Committee has recommended a law change to allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

However, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned that lawmakers may be prevented from introducing such legislation – even if the Eighth amendment is repealed.

He said the Attorney General has advised the government that other parts of the constitution may also protect the right to life of the unborn.

Mr Varadkar has come in for stiff criticism over his failure to outline his own position on the issue – with Fianna Fáil insisting the whole process is being undermined by his silence.

He has insisted the referendum will be about repealing the Eighth Amendment and not the potential legislation that may follow – adding that he will outline his own views on the issue in a couple of week’s time.

You can listen back to Deputy Toibín's full appearance on Newstalk Breakfast here: