PRO-LIFE campaigners began a series of weekly protests outside South Kildare Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon’s office in Newbridge last Friday to urge the deputy to oppose any legislation that would introduce abortion into Ireland.
About 40 protestors from Newbridge, Naas, Sallins and Athy turned up in Newbridge to get signatures for their campaign.
In a statement made to the Leinster Leader the campaigners said they have begun the weekly gathering at the Moorefield Road offices by way of silent protest. However, they also plan to protest outside North Kildare Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawor’s office in Naas.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Marion Murphy from Sallins claimed the legislation contradicted all the psychiatric evidence available ‘prescribing abortion as a treatment for suicidal ideation’.
“We will be here every Friday at 12 noon until Fine Gael get this message. We also intend on targeting various other politicians in the coming weeks,” she said.
“We are not singling out anyone - we will protest outside Anthony Lawlor’s office in Naas and we would like to protest Bernard Durkan [as a Fine Gael member] but he does not have a consitutency office here.
“There is no point in targeting Labour - it’s Fine Gael who went in [to government] playing the pro-life card and now they have back tracked.
“We were out on the street receiving pledges recently when a 20-year-old girl approached us and said that her father was a rapist and that she had been conceived through rape. Then she signed the form.”
Proposed new legislation was approved by the government last month but has yet to go before the Dail.
Under the proposed legislation, three consultants reviewing the case of a woman with suicidal thoughts while pregnant, and must all agree that a termination should proceed.
There is provision for an appeal by the woman to three further consultants if the first three do not approve the abortion. The appeal panel must also be unanimous in approval for a termination to be granted under law.
Deputy Martin Heydon said that he met with the protestors outside his office, but he is not sure why his office is being targeted.
He said the purpose of the bill is to provide a legal clarity and to give doctors certainty when it comes to saving a life in a medical emergency.
“The purpose is not to bring in any new law in the area of abortion but to put a structure around existing law,” he said.
“I met with the protesters last Friday week I know this is a sensitive issue, however it appears that I am being singled out at the moment and I’m not really sure why.”
- Paula Campbell