- 16 Feb 18
Minister of State Jim Daly, who is a "practising Catholic", says abortion is an "every-day reality" and legislators have a "duty of care to respond to the reality".
In a statement to publicly declare his support to change the law, the junior minister said: "We can no longer hide from these problems. Abortion is a day to day reality for young pregnant Irish women.
"They deal with it in secrecy, without support from the state and in a manner that poses a threat to their health.
"I would urge every citizen to consider the issue of abortion arising within the four walls of their own family home, what law would you like to be in place to help your sister, daughter or loved one.
"Do we want to continue to criminalise young girls who are taking abortion tablets behind closed doors such as their own bedroom or the school toilet or do we want a law to be in place to allow these women with crisis pregnancies to be allowed to seek professional medical advice to talk through their options in a safe and caring environment?
"Discussing the available options and alternatives such as adoption, fostering, counselling, etc, is a far more constructive and positive approach than the traditional turning of the blind eye to the evryday realities for thousands of Irish women."
He also said: "We cannot, if we are to have any moral courage as a political class, pull the ladder up, retreat into the clouds and hope this issue goes away.
"The current unregulated abortion system poses a clear and present danger to tens of thousands of Irish women.
"They are the silent Savita’s the state has ignored for too long, I believe as a legislator, a Minister, a citizen, a husband and a father, that the moral thing to do, no matter how politically difficult, is to deal pragmatically and caringly with this issue."
He went on to say that he support the Repeal the Eighth Committee’s recommendations on twelve weeks, on rape, on fatal foetal abnormality and the need for a GP led service.
"I also believe, having read the medical testimony that twelve weeks is the minimum acceptable time frame," he said.
"Success in Irish politics, too often, has been defined by the capacity to disappear when a difficult issue approaches you in the corridor. That politics of turning the blind eye and of nod and wink has been the ruination of the country," he said.
"We need politics with a spine not a soft underbelly. Abortion is not a perfect solution, and no-one chooses abortion easily. But, thousands of women and in some cases their partners do each year.
"I am a practising Catholic But I am also a legislator with a duty of care to serve all the people Forcing this issue underground is irresponsible.
"Gambling with women’s health is not responsible politics. It’s time to trust women; to trust doctors; to trust expertise. The current proposals are as close as we can come to a just solution."
He concluded: "I believe making criminals of generations of young Irish girls has not served Irish women or Irish society well.
"I will be backing the repeal of the 8th amendment and if that is successful supporting the suggested 12 week limit in the genuinely and sincerely held belief that a caring and compassionate approach to crisis pregnancies will far outweigh the heretofore heavy hand of the law.
"These are my views on a matter of conscience. I don’t expect everyone to agree or accept them but hope at the very least people will choose to respect them."