Irish PM says he received letters in blood over planned abortion law

June 12, 2013

(Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny listens during a news conference in Riga June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)

Ireland’s prime minister said he had been sent letters written in blood and been branded a murderer by opponents of his government’s plans to allow limited access to abortion, an issue that has polarised the country for decades.

Enda Kenny’s government agreed draft legislation in April to allow for limited access to abortion where a woman’s life is in danger, including the threat of suicide, following months of protests from both sides of the debate.

Ministers signed off on the completed legislation at a meeting on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the government said, and it hopes to enact it before parliament adjourns in July.

After about 40,000 people massed outside government offices in Dublin on Saturday in the largest anti-abortion demonstration in traditionally Roman Catholic Ireland’s history, Kenny delivered a trenchant defence of the plans.

“I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer, that I am going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies,” Kenny told parliament on Wednesday, detailing how he had been sent items of Catholic regalia and threatening messages.

“I’m getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system, and it’s not confined to me.”

A two-decade debate over how Ireland should deal with a Supreme Court ruling that abortion be permitted when a woman’s life was in danger was re-opened last year after the death of a woman who was denied an abortion of her dying foetus.
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