Attorney General to advise Government on 'risks' of not replacing Eighth Amendment

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly 'humbled' by party members who approached him about running

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly 'humbled' by party members who approached him about running

The Cork South Central TD said he came to his conclusion after reading evidence from Irish clinicians and doctors who say the Eighth Amendment creates difficulty for obstetricians, and has a negative impact on women's healthcare "including death". "If it is the sad reality that we have been exporting this issue, are we now accepting that women must import their own solutions?"

The Minister was speaking during the debate on the report of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

83 women from Louth travelled to the United Kingdom in 2016 for an abortion, according to figures revealed by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, yesterday.

During his opening statement, the Fine Gael TD said it was important to recognise the "sad reality that we have been exporting this issue", before bringing attention to new figures which showed that 3,265 women travelled to the United Kingdom from Ireland for an abortion in 2016.

Mr Martin said he supported the proposed legalisation of abortion on request up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy or a similar cut off point near the end of the first trimester.

"In those intervening 35 years, 165,000 Irish women have travelled overseas for a termination - that's twice the capacity of Croke Park". They are our friends and neighbours, sisters, cousins, mothers, aunts, wives.

"This time around let's be honest about this". This is not a decision or a procedure that anyone undertakes lightly. "Women agonise about it".

"For some of us, it challenges us to hold what appear to be conflicting views simultaneously".

Martin said: "Retaining the 8th amendment will not make Ireland a country without abortion".

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"It's inhumane that our country forces citizens with a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis to FedX their baby home to Ireland."

She accused the church and state of historical collusion on issues like contraception and abortion.

However, Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said he was not in favour of abortion.

"If we have our auto we can bring our baby home on the boat".

I'm conscious that not everyone will agree with the view that I have come to on the 8th Amendment, but it is my honest view of what I think is the right thing to do.

As the debates got under way, anti-abortion and pro-choice groups gathered outside Leinster House.

She said she didn't believe this stance made her "anti-life" and she would not allow herself to be categorised as such.

The debates are set to conclude on Thursday.

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