Minister wants further legal advice on €1 abortion bill

The bill has been tabled by Ruth Coppinger

Minister wants further legal advice on €1 abortion bill

Ruth Coppinger talks to the media on the plinth at Leinster House | Image: RollingNews.ie

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has asked for further legal advice, before she votes against a bill to reduce the penalty for illegal abortions.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit bill would reduce the penalty for abortion from 14 years in jail to a €1 fine.

The bill was debated in the Dáil tonight, and a vote will take place on Thursday.

While Fine Gael wants to oppose the bill, it has failed to convince its independent colleagues to vote against it.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would oppose the bill as it would mean almost no punishment for someone who kicked the stomach of a pregnant woman.

But Ruth Coppinger, who has tabled the bill, claimed Mr Kenny is mixing up abortion with assault.

"He said that if we changed this law the deputy would be saying that somebody kicks his pregnant partner and kills the baby she's carrying and would only be guilty of a fine.

"If somebody kicks their pregnant partner they're guilty of assault, they're not guilty of a fine.

"The Taoiseach doesn't seem to know the different between abortion, assault, a miscarriage - it's quite incredible".

Deputy Coppinger also said: "They believe a woman who has an abortion in this country should be treated worse than a rapist, should be treated worse than somebody who carries out a violent crime.

"If anyone seriously believes that there's something mentally wrong with them - because there's no way that that's the case.

"A woman who just simply cannot continue with a pregnancy for a whole variety of reasons is not a criminal".