The Irish Dáil has defeated a bill pro-life groups strongly opposed that would legalize some abortions and potentially imprison pro-life advocates who provide women with abortion alternatives counseling.
Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and other abortion supporters in the Dáil put forward the Medical Termination Bill but pro-life barrister Johanna Higgins helped pro-life organizations like the Life Institute, Youth Defence and the Pro-Life Campaign alert their members to its pro-abortion components.
“Daly seeks to repeal the criminal law prohibiting abortion in relation to those abortions which fall within her Bill,” Higgins explained. “Given the wide-reaching provisions in her Bill, this would make the criminal law against abortion in the Republic a dead letter. This is a bold move, as even the Abortion Act in Britain only presents a defense to the criminal law, where as Daly seeks to obliterate the criminal legislation.”
“Daly’s Bill seeks to force conscientious objectors to carry out abortions,” Higgins added. “Section 5 of the Bill (Obligation to provide medical treatment) is dressed up as a get-out clause for medical practitioners who don’t want to take part in the vivisection of unborn infants. It reads very like the conscious objection clause which was cunningly inserted into the Termination on Pregnancy Guidelines in the North of Ireland. This clause was attacked by a High Court Judge in Belfast and was one of the reasons SPUC won a case against the Department of Health overturning the Guidelines.”
Higgins noted that Section 6 of Daly’s Bill seeks to allow doctors to abort the babies of pregnant women whose lives they consider to be at risk, even where the woman has not consented to the abortion of her child and Section 6 automatically overrules parental consent for underage girls.
As the defeat measure read: “Subsection 2 provides that in the absence of a means to determine whether a woman consents to such treatment as is provided for under this Bill and in a situation whereby her life is at immediate risk, a medical practitioner maybe presumed to have obtained consent from the woman.”
“The icing on the abortionist cake has to be Section 7, which makes Pro Life activity an offence,” Higgins said in her analysis. “This Bill provides that “harassment, intimidation or otherwise obstructing” abortion providers is to be a criminal offence attracting imprisonment and fines.”
The pro-life group Youth Defence applauded the defeat of the measure, saying, “Abortion bill is REJECTED in the Dáil. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.”
While a pro-abortion rally that received months of advertising and free media promotion of the rally in support of the pro-abortion bill attracted 50 people, a Youth Defence rally received the support of nearly 8,000.
The Pro-Life Campaign had also led opposition to the Private Members’ Bill on abortion sponsored by Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, saying it would “would give effect to an abortion on demand regime in Ireland, if passed into law.”
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In a statement, spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign Dr Ruth Cullen said: “The deceptively titled, Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in the case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012, dishonestly creates the impression that women in Ireland are currently being denied necessary medical treatments in pregnancy because of the absence of abortion here.”
Dr. Cullen said: “The fact, however, is that women receive outstanding care when pregnant in this country and Ireland, without abortion, is internationally recognized as one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women, safer than places like England where abortion is available up to birth. Deputy Daly and her co-sponsors have also chosen to ignore all the peer reviewed evidence in the intervening years since the X Case decision (on which her Bill is based) highlighting the adverse effects of abortion for women.”
Dr. Cullen added: “There is absolutely nothing enlightened or progressive in the proposed Bill. As well as giving zero protection to the right to life of the unborn child, up to birth, it does a colossal disservice to women to produce such a medically misleading Bill simply to pursue an ideological agenda.
“This Bill has nothing to do with ensuring that women receive proper medical care when pregnant. Rather, it is purely and simply about introducing an abortion on demand regime into Ireland,” Dr Cullen concluded.