Now that Ireland has approved an abortion referendum striking down its pro-life legal protections for women and unborn children, the Irish Parliament will soon consider legislation that would legalize abortions on unborn babies as old as 6 months.
The specific legislation has not been proposed yet but the Irish government said it wanted to legalize abortions up to 12 weeks and some abortions up to six months during the debate leading up to the vote on the abortion referendum. In a new interview, Irish Health Minister Simon Harris talked about the lead-up to parliament’s consideration of the new legislation.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has said it is important some realism is injected into the discussions about the timeline for enacting abortion legislation.
Speaking as he arrived at Government Buildings for today’s Cabinet meeting, he said he wants to do it as quickly as possible but is also determined to get it right for women and for doctors and that is why it will take until the end of the year.
He said he hopes to publish a bill in the coming weeks and if at all possible to begin the debate but it is not just about the law; there is also a need for clinical guidelines drawn up by practitioners and the regulation of medication in Ireland.
The Cabinet and the Dáil will today discuss the passage of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
Mr Harris has confirmed that legislation to give effect to the result will be introduced in the Dáil before the summer recess.
Chair of the Oireachtas Health Committee Michael Harty has said that the committee is likely to sit during the summer to progress the legislation.
The Government want the guidelines, the legislation and new regulations for abortion pills to be completed by the end of the year – which would pave the way for abortion services to be introduced in January 2019.
One pro-life Member of Parliament indicated he is still opposed to passing legislation to legalize abortions even though a majority of citizens of Ireland support of the abortion referendum.
Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Toibín has said that he still opposed to “abortion on demand” up until 12 weeks but would reserve his position on how he would vote on any legislation to repeal the Eighth amendment until it had been published.
“My views are clear, I oppose abortion and believe that everybody should be protected but right now I think there is a desire democratically in the State for the Oireachtas to decide what kind of abortion legislation is developed in the future.
“I don’t agree with the abortion on demand for 12 weeks and I still very strongly hold that view.
Meanwhile, leading pro-life groups in Ireland say they will keep fighting.
Katie Ascough of Love Both said this was not the end.
“To everyone who voted no, there is plenty of reason for hope. This campaign has uncovered a dynamic grassroots and a new generation of Irish people prepared to stand up and fight for the right to life,” she said.
She thanked those who had campaigned.
“We are immensely proud and grateful to all our volunteers throughout the country who have worked tirelessly over recent months, some who have been canvassing for years.”
Leading pro-life campaigners from around the world are dismayed at the results from Ireland, which show that the long-time pro-life nation has abandoned its legal protections for unborn children and will eventually approve legislation that will legalize abortions on babies as old as 6 months.
Leading pro-life campaigners from around the world are dismayed at the results from Ireland today, which show that the long-time pro-life nation has abandoned its legal protections for unborn children and will eventually approve legislation that will legalize abortions on babies as old as 6 months.
For decades, the Eighth Amendment has protected unborn babies and mothers equally in Ireland by recognizing that both are valuable human beings who deserve a right to life. More than 100,000 Irish unborn babies and mothers have been spared from the pain and death of abortion, thanks to the constitutional protection. Ireland has become one of the safest places in the world for pregnant mothers and their babies, with one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Ireland’s eighth amendment recognizes the “right to life of the unborn” with an “equal right to life of the mother.” Without the Eighth Amendment, there is nothing to prevent lawmakers from legalizing abortion for any reason up to birth.
Some pro-life advocates are not surprised by the results, especially after Facebook and Google banned advertising on the abortion referendum. That essentially obliterated the pro-life side’s ability to get out its message, as pro-life groups were preparing to spend heavily on social media ads to rally votes against legalizing abortion. The pro-abortion side had spent little and already pushed out its advertising campaign when the ban went into place.
Attention will now turn to the Irish Parliament, which is expected to approve the government’s bill to legalize abortions on babies up to 6 months old for specious “mental health” reasons. The proposal they are pushing already is very extreme. It would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide range of circumstances.
The fear is Ireland’s abortion law will mirror Britain’s, where one in every five pregnancies there ends in abortion each year. In Britain, abortion is permitted until 24 weeks of gestation on five grounds. In 2016, 97% of abortions in England and Wales were performed on ‘mental health’ grounds. Two percent were for abnormalities.
Irish doctors were some of the most outspoken advocates against abortion, saying the repeal of the Eighth Amendment would do nothing whatsoever to help Irish women. People with disabilities and their families also expressed fears that legalized abortion could lead to wide-spread, deadly discrimination against unborn babies.