Members of the Irish Parliament have voted heavily against a Bill which would have removed protections for unborn children.
On Tuesday, members voted 74 to 23 against the Bill, brought by Ruth Coppinger TD, which sought to remove the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.
This amendment, introduced in 1983, is regarded as the final constitutional protection for unborn babies after abortion in Ireland was liberalised in 2013.
Right to life
The Eighth Amendment says: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Since being brought in, it has ensured that pregnant women in Ireland receive necessary medical treatment, while upholding the unborn child’s right to life.
A new law brought in two years ago allows abortion up until full term if the mother’s life is in danger, including the risk of suicide. However, no medical evidence is required to back this up.
In February this year, a Bill to weaken the law to allow abortion in cases of severely life-limiting disability was rejected by the Irish Parliament.
Politicians voted 104 to 20 against the Bill, after the Irish Government was advised by the Attorney General that the plans would go against the country’s constitution.
A campaign group for families with terminally-ill babies met with politicians ahead of the vote, and criticised the focus on abortion in the Irish Parliament.
Members of ‘One Day More’ said better care services were needed, as many parents are not even aware of the option of hospice care when their child is diagnosed with a severely life-limiting disability.
The Christian Institute has highlighted stories of parents in the UK who were told their child had a severely life-limiting disability but chose not to have an abortion.
Bonnie and Phil Walker’s daughter Grace was diagnosed with anencephaly in the womb, and she died shortly after birth.
To hear their story, visit the Choose Life page on our website.