Mary Lou McDonald Calls For Abortion Legislation To Be Inclusive Of Trans, Non-Binary And Intersex People

The Sinn Féin leader urged the government to ensure that trans, non-binary and intersex people are included in the wording of the bill.

Mary Lou McDonald addressing the Dáil.

Amid Dáil debate over the legislation of abortion services, the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for increased clarity in the abortion bill, as well as for the wording of the legislation to be inclusive of transgender, non-binary and intersex people.

McDonald also urged members of the Oireachtas not to delay the legislation through “filibustering”.

McDonald said: “This legislation will require very, very careful thought and deliberation.”

Additionally, McDonald stressed that the language of the abortion bill must be reflective of the “diversity of the society in which we live”.

“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”.

Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy echoed McDonald’s concerns regarding the exclusion of trans, non-binary and intersex people from the wording of the bill. Murphy said that trans and intersex people may encounter difficulties seeking termination services if the legislation exclusively refers to women.

“Trans men have the capacity to become pregnant, as do non-binary people, but certainly under any strict reading of the bill, [they] would be unable to access abortion”.

Murphy said he would be eager to hear the government’s response to his concerns, and urged them to include more inclusive terms in the wording of the bill.

Earlier this month, Minister for Health Simon Harris introduced a bill that would legalise abortion services in Ireland.

Harris spoke about the need to legislate as soon as possible:

Today we begin the job [the voters] have given us, of making the law that follows the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and after 35 years in the Constitution, in doing so we are also making history.”

The government are aiming for the bill legalising abortion services to be passed well in advance of 2019.

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