Should the leader of the country remain impartial on the abortion debate?
Over the weekend Leo Varadkar said that he will campaign to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws.
In an interview with the BBC, Varadkar said he was in favour of changing Ireland’s abortion laws.
This is the first time he has given his public opinion on the matter.
The Eighth Amendment grants the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child – effectively making abortion illegal except in very limited circumstances.
When question over whether he would be campaigning for the abortion laws to be relaxed, Varadkar said:
“I’ll be campaigning for them to be changed and to be liberalised, yes.
“As I’ve said on many occasions I believe Ireland’s abortion laws are too restrictive and need to be liberalised.
Varadkar was pressed on whether he would call himself “pro choice”.
He would not give a straight answer and said “Again what do those words even mean? Every single person I know who says they are pro choice believes in some sort of restriction,”
He did say that he does not believe in late term abortion for example up to 38 weeks.
Some commentators have expressed confusion that the Taoiseach decided to give his views and stance on the matter for the first time to an international outlet.
It is expected that Varadkar will set out his full views on the matter – around whether he backs a straight repeal – following the special cabinet meeting today.
Today I want to know if you think it is appropriate for the Taoiseach to give his opinion and essentially take a side in the abortion debate.
I read some comments online about this. I want you to have a listen to some of them:
I don’t think it is right that the Taoiseach has publicly taken a side in this referendum. It was the exact same with the marriage equality referendum. The Government simply go with the populist vote.
I am pro-life and it is not right that I, a citizen of this country, have to read stories of how the man who is supposed to lead us goes against everything I believe it. The leader of this country should be campaign to save more lives not help end some. He is entitled to vote and have his opinion but he should do that in the privacy of a polling booth and not go against half of the citizens of this country in such a public manner. He does not represent me or my views.
Another person said:
Not right that he is taking sides. He should be impartial and represent all of the people of Ireland.
Not everyone thought he was wrong however, have a listen to this comment:
I am delighted that Varadkar has publicly stated his view on the 8th. It is about time we had people in power who stood up for what is right. Women should never be forced to do anything by the state and the current 8th amendment means the state has a power over a woman’s body. Finally a leader I can support fully as he represents the majority of the people of Ireland’s views.
I want to know what you think of this –
Do you think politicians and the Taoiseach should be impartial in the abortion debate?
- Should babies be taken off mothers in custody straight away?
- Do you want to Repeal the 8th Amendment?