Ireland Government Defeats Motion to Legalize Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2012   |   6:48PM   |   Dublin, Ireland

Motions to essentially call on the government to legalize abortion in Ireland, following the death of a pregnant Indian woman named Savita, have been defeated.

Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams tabled a motion in the Irish Parliament (the Dáil) today calling for immediate changes to abortion laws and urging legislation supporting abortion in the Irish Republic.

A Sinn Féin Private Members’ motion calling on the Irish government to give effect to the 1992 Supreme Court ruling on the X Case was voted down 90 to 53 in the Dail. A report in RTE News provided more details:

Earlier, United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly said that the bill that she introduced this morning, to legislate for the X Case, is an amended version of legislation she had previously introduced.

Deputy Daly’s original bill was debated in April and was defeated on second stage during Private Members’ Time.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Ms Daly said that the deputies behind the legislation had responded to the criticism of their original bill.

“At the time, the Government pinpointed a number of areas where they thought our legislation was a bit loose, in terms of areas around the issues of consent and issues of offences,” Ms Daly said.

“Obviously, it’s not the same bill that we’re introducing. It’s an amended version to take account of the objection raised by Government at the time.”

The legislation, in the name of Deputy Daly, Mick Wallace and Joan Collins, was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill and has to be debated in Private Member’s Time.

When Deputy Daly’s bill was debated in the Dáil in April, it was defeated by 111 votes to 20.

Before the vote, the Pro-Life Campaign, one of the major pro-life groups in Ireland, asked members of the Irish Parliament to defeat it.

In a statement to LifeNews in response to Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion in support of legislation to implement the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling, Dr Ruth Cullen of the PLC said: “It is clear listening to Sinn Féin spokespeople that they don’t even have a basic grasp of what the X case judgement actually entails. Given the seriousness of the issue, this is inexcusable.”

She said: “Contrary to what Sinn Féin are saying, the X Case would lead to abortion on a very wide scale as the court heard no medical evidence and there is no duty of care to even attempt to save the life of the baby.

“In addition, the peer reviewed medical evidence since the X case contradicts some of the assumptions made in the judgement. It does a tremendous disservice to women as well the right to life for Sinn Féin to be rushing forward with this motion when clearly they are unaware of the most basic background facts,” she added.

“It is also a disgrace that Sinn Féin and others are continuing to falsely create the impression that Ireland is not a safe place for pregnant women when the complete opposite is the case. Out of 171 countries, according to UN figures Ireland is consistently in the top five, sometimes even first, is terms of safety for pregnant women, much safer than places like Britain where abortion is freely available,” Cullen concluded.

Also before the vote, the pro-life group Precious Life released a document signed by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams in 2008 which clearly rejects the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act abortion to Northern Ireland. The letter sent to all Members of Parliament acknowledges the “..strong opposition to any move to impose this legalisation legalising abortion on the Province.”

“Sinn Fein seem to have a dual policy for abortion on the Island of Ireland and by doing so have ‘reintroduced the border’. Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein’s call to legalise abortion will be judged as political opportunism; cause division in the Irish Republic; and will undermine the power- sharing executive in Northern Ireland,” the group said. “The vast majority of grass root supporters of Sinn Fein are against abortion and it is now apparent that they cannot trust their political leaders to keep their word.”



“There has been understandable public sympathy following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar. This is a hugely difficult time for the family of Savita Halappanavar, and we hope that the official investigations will shed full light on this tragedy,” Precious Life added. “The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar’s life was not caused by Ireland’s law against abortion. In every pregnancy in Ireland it must always be ensured that both mother and baby are best protected; but abortion is not part of best medical practise. Doctors are always obliged to intervene to save the life of the mother – even if there is a risk that the medical treatment could result in the unintentional death of her baby.”

“Sinn Fein’s motion is unwarranted particularly given that the official inquiry into Savita Halappanavar’s death is not yet complete, and there is no evidence to suggest that the current laws are to blame for her death,” the group concluded. “The Irish Government have recently commissioned an ‘Expert Group Report on Abortion’ which has not yet been published or debated so it is pre-mature for a political party to be moving a motion in the Dáil at this time. Sinn Fein must now explain to their voters how the Party can be opposed to the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act in Northern Ireland but want an abortion law even more liberal than the ’67 Act to be introduced in the Republic of Ireland.”