Well this is unexpected - Colm Keaveney TD, the chair of the Labour Party, has said that he can't support the Protection of Life Bill as it currently stands. He states that he previously considered himself pro-choice, but he has decided that he can't support legislating for the risk of abortion:
He provides further reasons in the article, available here.This Bill has forced me to think through my position and having done so I find myself in a position of saying that if, when the Bill is initiated in the Dáil, it reflects the contents and detail of the Heads of Bill that were recently discussed before the Joint Committee on Health, then I will be unable to support it.
The main points of concern that I have with the Bill are mainly contained in Head 4 – those relating to the risk of loss of life from self-destruction, ie suicide. There are a number of grounds upon which my concerns rest.
The idea that a baby, as anticipated in the Heads of Bill, would be intentionally delivered prematurely, which would leave it at risk of disability, and placed in an incubator under the care of the State is seems somewhat dystopian to me. Minister of State, Alex White, confirmed this understanding during his closing remarks to the Health Committee on Tuesday evening. However, neither he nor the Minister for Health have been able to provide any detail about how the welfare of such infants would be secured, including their welfare into adulthood with any disability that may arise from such an early delivery as is envisaged by this legislation.
I doubt it will lead to any weakening of support for the Bill amongst Labour TDs, but could Keaveney's stance strengthen the resolve of those within FG who don't want to vote for suicide clause?