Although polling data and massive public rallies show the Irish people are opposed, the Ireland Parliament took the first step to legalize some abortions with a 138-24 to allow abortions.
Pro-life activists were disappointed by the result of the Second Stage vote on abortion in the Dáil and are now preparing for a final vote next week.
“It has been confirmed that the final vote on Ireland’s abortion Bill will take place next week most likely on Wednesday,” says Pat Buckley of the European Life Network. “A series of amendments have been proposed and will be discussed on Wednesday but none of them will cure the inherently unjust nature of this Bill.”
“This Bill should be scrapped now,” he said. “We appeal to all Dail Deputies to reconsider their support for this anti-life legislation and to vote it down. We appeal to our readers to continue to contact TD’s and Senators seeking immediate withdrawal of the Bill.”
A handful of amendments to the bill will be offered by the Minister for Health.
Following the Second Stage vote, four Fine Gael TDs were booted from the party for voting against legalizing abortion.
Fine Gale TD Brian Walsh said of the bill, “The Bill would perpetuate the “absurd principle that the suicidality of one human being can be abated by the killing of another. In truth, abortion is no more a treatment for suicidal ideation than suicide is a treatment for suicidal ideation.”
Fine Gale TD Peter Mathews added: “Mr. James Sheehan, who with Maurice Neligan and others founded the Blackrock, Galway and Hermitage clinics, and who has given more than 50 years’ medical service to families, to men, to women and to babies – to everybody throughout his career – said only yesterday, with the wisdom of a long career, ‘Peter, when people terminate a pregnancy at that stage, it is killing an unborn baby, and you are to use that word, because we in the profession have to do that procedure. It is killing an unborn baby.’ That is very sad. That is why, at the core, I cannot support this Bill”. He also quoted Consultant Obstetrician, Dr Louis Courtney, who wrote: “I worked for 35 years as a consultant with the best results in Ireland and the UK and was never curtailed by law to save women’s lives. Wars come and go. Famines come and go. But abortion comes and stays and eats its way into the heart of a people as it has done in England. Seven thousand, four hundred [abortions] in 1966. One hundred and fifty thousand in 1972. Two hundred thousand today.”
And Fine Gale TD Billy Timmins said: “However, it is clear from reading this Bill that for the first time an Irish government is proposing to introduce a law that provides for the direct intentional targeting of the life of the unborn child.” He also pointed out that: “I have received endless representations from members of the medical profession on the issue of suicide and Section 9 and almost unanimously they have been opposed to this measure.”
Fr. Shenan Boquet of Human Life Intentional complained that the abortion bill is being pushed by politicians who promised not to do what they are now doing and said the bill is wrongly being sold as necessary to save the lives of pregnant women who are suicidal, even though so far none of the psychiatrists called to testify at the Irish hearings can say under oath that abortion was needed to save the life of a suicidal woman.
He said many studies have shown that women who have had abortions are much more likely to commit suicide than women who have not had them.
Priscilla Coleman, an American professor and researcher, says “Overall, women with an abortion history experience an 81% increased risk for mental health problems. The results showed that the level of increased risk associated with abortion varies from 34% to 230% depending on the nature of the outcome. Separate effects were calculated based on the type of mental health outcome with the results revealing the following: the increased risk for anxiety disorders was 34%; for depression it was 37%; for alcohol use/abuse it was 110%, for marijuana use/abuse it was 220%, and for suicide behaviors it was 155%.”
Boquet responds: “So the proposed bill, called the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, isn’t actually designed to protect a single life during pregnancy. It is designed to destroy life. As some Irish politicians who support the bill have admitted, it is only intended as the opening to abortion on demand. This is obvious, of course, but still it helps when pro-abortion pols admit it. It is possible that all a woman will have to do if this bill becomes law is claim – after being coached by counselors or nursing staff on what to say — that she is considering suicide, and she can therefore bypass all restrictions on abortion, at any point in her pregnancy.”
“All this, supposedly to protect the lives of pregnant women, in a nation whose maternal mortality rates are among the very lowest–that is, the best — in the world,” he noted. “These people think that abortion, despite truckloads of evidence to the contrary, is a boon for women’s health, and that it is a human right.”
A new Amárach opinion poll has revealed that a clear majority of people are opposed to abortion as a response to a suicide threat.
The poll, commissioned by the Pro Life Campaign, asked respondents to scale their support or opposition to abortion “if it were clearly shown that abortion is not a suitable treatment for a pregnant woman with suicidal feelings”. Of those who expressed an opinion, 60% said they would be ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’ to support abortion on such grounds. Just 40% of respondents said they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to support abortion in those cases.
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The Pro Life Campaign challenged the Minister for Health to a public debate on the contents of the bill saying it is “unbelievable” that he has never debated its contents live on air with opponents of the bill.
Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Cora Sherlock said: “While we are disappointed at this evening’s vote, we congratulate the TDs who voted against the bill, particularly those who were prepared to defy their party whip and vote with their conscience. We are confident that many more TDs will join them over the coming days in opposing the bill.”
Sherlock added: “It is cruel and unjust the way TDs with conscientious objections are being pressured and bullied to tow the party line. The Minister for Health has never debated the proposed legislation live on air with opponents of the bill. This is unbelievable given the seriousness of the issue. The Government has a duty to give the public an opportunity to hear the bill debated properly. The Pro Life Campaign challenges the Minister for Health to a public debate on the contents of the bill and what it would mean in practice, before it reaches the final stage in the Dáil.”