It has been reported that Health Minister Simon Harris has been advised that mentioning transgender men in new abortion legislation would have unintended consequences.
Simon Harris has claimed to support transgender men’s reproductive rights, while The Times reports that the government’s position is that transgender men “should have the same rights and liabilities” as women under any new abortion law, but TDs are calling for the bill to be more inclusive.
The government believes that the 2005 Interpretation Act, which was introduced to makes laws gender-neutral, means that the wording of the new abortion legislation should allow references to women to be understood as trans-inclusive. According to a source, specifically referencing pregnant transgender men could “open up” the argument that gendered references in previous legislation could be interpreted as not trans-inclusive.
TDs such as Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív and the Solidarity Party’s Paul Murphy have appealed to the government to ensure that any law introduced would contain inclusive language.
Mr Ó Cuív, who was opposed to repealing the eighth amendment, pointed out that the new bill identified a pregnant person as a “female person” and argued that the Health Minister should change that as it is “out of line with other legislation.”
Meanwhile, TD Paul Murphy claimed that the bill was “very problematic” as it was not inclusive of transgender men, and that “under a strict reading of that bill would be unable to access abortion.”
Last week, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called for abortion legislation to be inclusive of transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex individuals.
During Dáil debates, the party leader called for more clarity and said that “this legislation will require very, very careful thought and deliberation.”
McDonald also stressed that the law should be reflective of the “diversity of the society in which we live”.
WATCH: @sinnfeinireland leader @MaryLouMcDonald Lou McDonald asks for "full, deliberative and frank debate" on legislation to change Ireland's abortion laws but appeals to TDs not to delay it as it "already carries the democratic imprimatur and approval of the Irish people." pic.twitter.com/pIlb8a1M09
— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) October 16, 2018
“I am asking very, very simply that we have a full, deliberative and frank debate. But I am appealing to colleagues not to abuse the rules and regulations and latitude of the houses of the Oireachtas to delay and delay and delay legislation which already carries the democratic imprimatur and approval of the Irish people,” McDonald said.
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