Extreme abortion Bill backed by Dáil Éireann

The Irish Parliament’s lower house has backed a Bill that would remove key legal protections for the unborn.

By a slim majority, parliamentarians passed Brid Smith TD’s Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Amendment) Bill 2023, which seeks to make access to abortion even easier across the country.

Smith wants to extend abortion on demand from 12 weeks to “22 or 24 weeks”, scrap the three-day reflection period, and allow abortion for babies deemed to have a ‘fatal’ disability and not expected live for a year beyond birth.

‘Extraordinary magnitude’

During the debate ahead of the vote, Peadar Tóibín TD criticised the proposal to remove the three-day reflection period from law.

He argued that the decision to have an abortion “is one of extraordinary magnitude” and mothers should be afforded time “to think it through”.

The Deputy reminded the house: “A few short years ago the Government persuaded many people to vote for the abortion referendum by promising safeguards within the system.

“Now it seems that the Government is looking to get rid of those safeguards and to renege on those promises.”

Broken promises

Carol Nolan TD added: “The measures in this Bill would see Irish abortion rates soar, as the most basic protections and safeguards are stripped away from the legislation.”

Nolan said there was need for “an urgent focus on reducing the abortion rate”, which she reported had seen “a 70% increase” since Ireland’s pro-life laws were repealed in 2018.

She said that Ireland had seen “approximately 28,500 babies aborted” in just four years, despite the abortion referendum promise of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that it would be “rare”.

O’Shea report

Last month, a Government-commissioned report on the existing law also recommended ending the three-day reflection period.

Led by barrister Marie O’Shea, the report suggested the Health Service Executive recruit more pro-abortion GPs, even saying that in some instances, hospitals should be allowed to screen out job applicants who conscientiously object to abortion.

The barrister implied that non-invasive pre-natal tests – which have been shown to raise the abortion rate for children with Down’s syndrome – should be made available through the public health system.

Smith has admitted that her Bill, which will now be examined by the Health committee, “goes further” than the recommendations made under O’Shea’s review.

Also see:

Baby in womb

100 medics: ‘ROI must not fail mothers by scrapping abortion safeguards’

RC Archbishop decries censorship of ‘respectful pro-life witness’ in NI

‘Distressing day’: NI Secretary commissions abortion services across Province

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