Varadkar says 14-year penalty for abortion pills could be enforced in the future if No vote prevails
LEO VARADKAR HAS said it is only âa matter of timeâ before a woman in the Republic of Ireland is prosecuted under Irish law for having an abortion.
The law âhasnât been enforced yet, but it could be enforced in the futureâ, the Taoiseach said while out canvassing in Dublin this morning.
He told reporters today that there have been cases in Northern Ireland where women have been charged for taking abortion pills.
A woman is currently being prosecuted in Northern Ireland for helping her 15-year-old daughter procure abortion pills online after a doctor at a clinic where she had sought advice reported her to the police.
In 2016, a woman was prosecuted for taking abortion pills after her flatmates reported her to the police.
âSadly if the law remains the same and there is a no vote then it is probably only a matter of time,â he said.
He added that the 14-year penalty is âvery severeâ.
âThe penalty for taking an abortion pill is worse than the penalty for rape, believe it or not,â he added.
He said this has to be the case as the Constitution states under the Eighth Amendment that the right to life to the unborn is equal to the right to life of the mother.
âTherefore the penalty has to match that,â he explained.
While out canvassing in Dublin this morning, the Taoiseach ruled out the chance of a second referendum on the issue.
If the referendum is defeated, the government will have to respect the will of the people, he said.
While he said he would not be happy with a no result, he told the media today that he is a democrat.
âI have to accept the outcome of referendums and elections.â
âNo, not in the foreseeable future, certainly not under this government or under this DÃ¡il,â he responded when asked if anothe r vote could be held in the near future.
Despite some talk of the No vote winning out, the Taoiseach said he has faith in the Irish people that they will make the âright decisionâ.
I am confident it is going to pass. I have great faith in the Irish people to consider all the issues to make the right decision. Essentially I think the majority of Irish people will do is put themselves in the shoes of a woman facing a crisis pregnancy and once you do that and think through what that must feel like, how difficult that decision must be, then the only way to vote is to vote yes.
The Taoiseach made his comments today while out canvassing with his fellow ministers at Tara Street Dart Station in Dublin.
The station, however, was rather quiet this morning and the few commuters who were making their way to work were surrounded by the media.
In a bid to speak to more people, the Taoiseach, Minister Simon Harris and Arts Minister Josepha Madigan decided to stroll towards OâConnell Street, stopping people on the way.
Varadkar only met two No voters. There were no in-depth discussions of the issues, but everyone was civil.
Outside a doughnut shop near the train station, the Taoiseach met one woman who told him that one minute she thinks she will vote Yes, but then she changes her mind and thinks she might vote No. She told Varadkar she plans to sit down soon and read through all the literature on it.
âLetâs hope you drum up support,â another man told the Taoiseach, who said he plans to vote Yes, and will be encouraging others to also.
Making his way back towards Leinster House for his Cabinet meeting, the Taoiseach stopped into Trinity College. Again, it was quiet.
Students are in the middle of their exams but Varadkar to chat to two students who told him: âWeâre voting Yes. Weâre all voting Yes.â
âGlad to hear it,â replied the Taoiseach.Source: Google News