Michael D. Higgins is a veteran politician of the Irish Labour party, which is the junior partner in Ireland's coalition government, with Fine Gael the senior partner. Eamon Gilmore, the Labour party's leader, is reported to have said (on RTÉ's News at One) that the party wants to introduce abortion to Ireland based on the British model. The Labour/Fine Gael 'Programme for Government' includes commitments to:
- "establish an expert group to address th[e] issue [of abortion]"
- "legislate to clarify the law surrounding assisted human reproduction including the law relating [to] parental relationships arising from assisted human reproductiion"
- "legislate to regulate stem cell research"
- "legislate to change the [sic] organ donation to an opt-out system for organ transplantation"
- hold a constitutional convention to consider (among other things) "same-sex marriage"
- "amend tax and social welfare law in respect of civil partnerships" and "ensure that trans-gender people will have legal recognition".
In 1983 Mr Higgins spoke in the Seanad (Senate) against the pro-life amendment to the Constitution.
Prior to this year's (2011) president election, Mr Higgins was asked by pro-life groups about his position on the right to life of the unborn child. He replied:
"I think that in relation to the woman she is entitled to protect her health, and equally we have to have rights for the foetus. As President, I respect the view of the Supreme Court, I respect the role of the legislature, if legislation comes before me I would certainly not be imposing any views of my own in relation to it. It wouldn't be appropriate."Mr Higgins' reply implies that he will sign any legislation and accept any Supreme Court decision allowing for abortion or destructive embryo research, despite Ireland's pro-life Constitution.
Family and Life, an Irish pro-life group, has said:
"Michael D. Higgins (Labour) has refused to clarify his position on abortion, despite calls to do so in the wake of Dana's comments that Mr. Higgins was 'pro-abortion'. He is also in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual couples. While he was a member of the Dáil, Mr. Higgins called on the then Fianna Fáil-led government to introduce abortion in 2001."Comments on this blog? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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