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Irish pro-lifers continue push for 'free vote' on abortion legislation

Catholic World News - June 21, 2013

Pro-life politicians in Ireland’s Fine Gael party are asking for a “free vote” on pending legislation that would legalize abortion.

The Fine Gael members argue that lawmakers should be allowed to vote according to their consciences. The party leadership has said that all members will be expected to adhere to party discipline, supporting the legislation.

The pro-life lawmakers have pointed to a precedent for their stand, noting that in 1993, Alan Shatter—who was then an opposition member, but now serves as the government’s justice minister—voted against his party, but suffered no disciplinary consequences.

In a related development, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Apostolic Signatura, said that Prime Minister Enda Kenny was confusing the issue when he claimed that although he is a Catholic, he cannot allow his faith to guide his stand on the abortion issue. “Abortion is a matter of natural moral law which is written on every human heart,” the American cardinal told the Irish Catholic. “One cannot, as a Catholic politician, excuse oneself from the question of abortion by claiming that one should not bring one's Catholicism into the political realm.”

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