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Irish politician quits party after it forbids free vote on new abortion law

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

DUBLIN, Ireland, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Irish politician has quit her party rather than vote for abortion. 

Carol Nolan, 40, the Teachta Dála (member of Irish Parliament) for Offaly/North Tipperary, resigned from Sinn Fein on Tuesday, June 19. At a conference in Belfast over the weekend, Sinn Fein members had voted to amend their party policy so that they could support a new law allowing abortion-on-demand in the first trimester. A second motion, asking that Sinn Fein TDs be allowed a free vote on the issue, was rejected.

Nolan told reporters that she no longer had a place in Sinn Fein.

“I feel that as a pro-life republican woman that I no longer have a place in this party, which doesn’t recognise or show genuine respect for the pro-life views of members,” she stated. 

“It was disappointing that at the ard fheis [party conference] … the party’s delegates voted against the motion to allow members to have a conscience vote on the issue of abortion.” 

Nolan told reporters that it was unethical to force pro-life TDs to vote against their conscience and also that anyone who voted for abortion would be responsible for every abortion that happened in Ireland.  

In a press release sent to LifeSiteNews, Nolan thanked the 24 party branches who tried to ensure freedom of conscience to Sinn Fein TDs and repeated her reluctance to enable abortion in any way.

“I do not want to have any hand, act or part in bringing about the end to the life of an unborn child, the most vulnerable in our society,” she wrote. 

“It is not for politicians or society in general to decide who lives or dies,” she continued. “Every life is precious and every child deserves the chance to live. I don't believe that abortion is the solution to any crisis; how can it be when it takes the right to life away from the unborn?”

“I cannot and will not support abortion and for that reason I have made a decision to leave Sinn Fein,” she said.

Nolan was handed a three-month suspension from her party in March after voting against a bill allowing the Irish abortion referendum. She was the only Sinn Fein TD to do so.  The bill passed with 97 TDs for and 25 against. Sinn Fein stated that it was party policy to support a repeal of the Eighth Amendment. 

The pro-life member, however, campaigned to save the Eighth Amendment, saying that she believed that every unborn child had the right to life. Nolan also had harsh words for the law that was being proposed even before the Referendum vote took place. 

Writing in the Irish Examiner, she stated, “I believe, as a mother, and as a republican and national politician, that this proposal to allow abortion on demand, up to 12 weeks, on an unrestricted basis, and up to six months on vague health grounds, is shameful and regressive and should be strongly rejected.”  

Kathy Sinnott, an organizer of the all-Ireland Rosary on the Coasts for Faith and Life, told LifeSiteNews that Irish pro-lifers are “grateful” to Nolan. 

“We are very grateful to Carol Nolan for her witness to life and integrity,” she wrote, via email. “If politicians are expected to vote against their consciences, how will we [expect] to have politicians of integrity and character?” 

Sinnott said that Sinn Fein had always been pro-abortion, but that this had been less pronounced because many of its members were pro-life Catholic republicans. 

“I know that there are grassroots members of Sinn Fein who were surprised and dismayed at the party’s vehemence,” she said. 

“A definite Marxist influence entered at some point.”

Sinn Fein’s principal political goal is the unification of Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic. Among its key policies is a desire to extend same-sex “marriage” to Northern Ireland. 

Irish political parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fail still allow their TDs to vote according to their consciences on abortion. 

Nolan assured her constituents that she would continue to represent them and work on their behalf as an Independent in the Irish Assembly. 

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