The Sinn Fein Ard Fheis will be moved from November to June in order to amend the party policy around abortion rights to back the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee.
The Sinn Fein President, Mary Loy McDonald said;
“Today I put two proposals to the the Ard Chomhairle. The first was to move the party’s 2018 Ard Fheis from November to June. The second was a motion to go to that Ard Fheis, which would amend party policy in line with the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee regarding the termination of pregnancy for reasons of rape or other sexual assault.
“The party leadership backed both proposals and also finalised our campaign plan for the referendum. For the next two months, the party will campaign passionately for the removal of the 8th amendment and then at our Ard Fheis in June our party members will debate and decide on our policy.
“I am well aware that within Sinn Féin, just as in wider society, there are mixed views on the issue of abortion. I accept that and I respect that. We need to respect peoples’ views but we also have to protect women and ensure that compassion prevails.”
The motion that will be debated is as follows
This Ard Fheis
Reasserts that abortion should be available where a woman’s life, health or mental health is at risk and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.
Supports the Joint Oireachtas Committee findings that it is not possible to legislate for abortion in the case of rape in a compassionate way.
Recognises that Irish women already access abortion services every day in other countries or through abortion pills purchased online without any medical supervision.
Accepts that abortion without specific indication should be available through a GP led service in a clinical context as determined by law and licensing practice for a limited gestational period.
Sinn Féin members of a legislature shall act in line with the view of the Ard Chomhairle which will be informed by the best available medical advice, when legislating regarding the limited gestational period.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs