INDEPENDENT TD Michael Collins said he respects opinions on all sides of the current debate but personally will never support abortion, describing it is ‘an old-fashioned, cruel cure that needs to be kept out of our country’.
The Cork South West TD feels a lot of the coverage has been one-sided on the issue and said he has taken pains to speak to people with different viewpoints.
“I have met women who went through with abortions and had very few services available to them. I have met women whose mothers were raped but made the decision to go through and were happy with that decision,” he told the Evening Echo.
“I have spoken to women who are happy they had an abortion and I respect them too. I have no disrespect for anybody because it is a difficult time for a woman.”
Proponents for a yes vote suggest that abortion is already in Ireland, either through women travelling or the use of abortion pills purchased online but Mr Collins said the solution is to provide better supports rather than legalise.
“What we need in this country is better education, we need to be more respectful to women,” he said.
“There are women in crisis pregnancies and they need help, there is no help out there for them. Give full assistance to the mother."
Mr Collins is one of a number of politicians in his constituency arguing for a no vote. Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony and Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard are also against repeal. He believes constituents are split close to 50/50 on the issue but said he has always been upfront about his views.
“I made it perfectly clear at all time prior to my election to office that I opposed abortion, I have never changed my tune. People are frustrated to see politicians who were in the no camp until they became ministers or leaders, are now on the yes side, why this extraordinary change?”
He is also adamant that repeal will lead to a liberal abortion regime in Ireland.
While happy to discuss the issues, he has not gone door-to-door and has no plans to do so.
“I have not gone out and canvassed because I want to give people time to reflect on this,” he said.
“Leo Varadkar is out banging on doors every night, I think that is wrong. People want respect and to be given time to reflect.”