Ireland’s long-standing protections for unborn babies are about to topple.
Late Wednesday, the Dáil (the lower house of parliament) passed a radical pro-abortion bill in a 90-15 vote, after rejecting a series of amendments to provide at least some protections for the unborn, The Irish Post reports. Twelve TDs abstained.
The legislation now moves to the Seanad (the upper house of parliament) for a vote. Pro-abortion political leaders are pushing for the bill to pass in December, so that they can begin forcing hospitals and doctors to abort unborn babies on Jan. 1, 2019.
The bill would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals, and hundreds of doctors and nurses fear being forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
The Dáil rejected a number of amendments that would have moderated the radical pro-abortion bill. Earlier Wednesday, TDs rejected an amendment to require parental consent for girls under 16 who want abortions. They also voted against amendments to ban sex-selection abortions and taxpayer-funded abortions and to require basic medical care for infants born alive after botched abortions.
Irish Legal reports they also rejected an amendment to provide better conscience protections for doctors. The bill demands that doctors who refuse to abort unborn babies refer women to a doctor who will.
“It appears that this House, and indeed the Minister [for Health Simon Harris], wants to push abortion,” pro-life TD Carol Nolan said during the debate. “Women should not feel pressurised into having an abortion. It vital, therefore, that women are fully informed when comes to such a decision.”
Meanwhile, Harris, who has been ignoring numerous concerns voiced by the medical community, rejoiced that the bill passed.
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“Tonight Dáil Éireann has passed legislation to legalise abortion in Ireland. On to the Seanad now,” he wrote on Twitter. “I think of all the women who have had to travel to receive care – we say, no more. The people have spoken. Care and compassion in our own country.”
Harris want medical staff to be ready to begin aborting unborn babies starting Jan. 1, but the medical community says it is not ready. Earlier this week, dozens of doctors stormed out of an emergency meeting about the legislation. They said political leaders have been ramming through the bill without consulting the medical community or giving it ample time to prepare.
Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports government leaders admitted this week that ethical guidelines for doctors on abortion will not be ready by Jan. 1.
Irish Catholic bishops issued a statement this week urging lawmakers to adopt better conscience protections for doctors, nurses and midwives who believe unborn babies are valuable, according to News Letter.
“… for the most part, the voices of those who voted against abortion in May’s referendum have been ignored,” the bishops said.
“Women’s lives, and the lives of their unborn children, are precious, valued and always deserving of protection. Any law which suggests otherwise would have no moral force. In good conscience it cannot be supported and would have to be resisted,” they continued.
The bill would force Catholic hospitals and pregnancy centers to promote or provide abortions against their consciences as well. In September, Harris confirmed that Catholic hospitals will be forced to abort unborn babies, saying, “… conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.”
Some TDs have said the legislation is much more extreme than what voters wanted when they chose to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment in May.
Polls indicate this to be true. An October poll by Amárach found that 60 percent of Irish residents oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. In addition, a full 80 percent say health care workers should not be forced to carry out abortions against their conscience.