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Standing for United Ireland Means Supporting Abortion

Sinn Fein has suspended one of the party’s members of the Dail, or parliament, of the Republic of Ireland because she voted against a proposed repeal of a constitutional amendment that outlaws abortion.

Carol Nolan, who represents Offaly-North Tipperary in the south central part of the country, on Wednesday voted against repeal, which Sinn Fein supports.

Sinn Fein’s new leader, Mary Lou McDonald, who took over for longtime leader Gerry Adams on February 10, had promised disciplinary action against party member who voted against repeal.

Nolan has been suspended from the party for three months, according to The Irish Times.

McDonald said Nolan “holds strong, personal convictions on this matter,” according to The Irish Times, and that “At all stages, the party has acknowledged and respected her views and her right to articulate those views. However, Sinn Féin elected representatives are expected to respect policy decisions taken by the Ard Fheis and to vote in line with party policy.”

An Ard Fheis is a party conference that sets party positions.

Sinn Fein is a left-wing party that supports unification of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. During The Troubles, the party was often referred to as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. In recent years, however, the party has gone mainstream, participating in the government of Northern Ireland and contesting elections in the republic.

The party has 23 seats in the Dail, which makes it the third largest.

Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland, as provided by the Eight Amendment of the country’s constitution. The current government wants to make abortion legal. A republic-wide referendum seeking to repeal the anti-abortion constitutional amendment is scheduled for Friday, May 25.

Polls last year showed strong support among voters for making abortion legal in some circumstances, but the most recent polling suggests support for repealing the Eighth Amendment is faltering and opposition to it is rising.

 

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