Carol Nolan TD, an independent member of the Irish Parliament, has introduced a bill which, if passed would require medics to administer pain relief to babies before late-term abortions. The bill is co-sponsored by a cross-party group of 10 of her parliamentary colleagues.
Ireland’s abortion laws are relatively new, having only come into effect in 2019, after a historic referendum which removed the right to life of the unborn from the Constitution. Irish law now permits abortion on request up to 12 weeks, and abortion up till birth for babies with life-limiting conditions.
Nolan and her colleagues have introduced the bill as a simple humanitarian measure to ensure that no baby dies in pain as part of a late-term abortion. Late-term abortions are a sad reality in Ireland now, and the bill would simply aim to bring Ireland’s law in line with the latest science which shows that unborn children feel pain from at least 20 weeks gestation.
The emerging scientific consensus surrounding foetal pain formed part of the rationale in introducing the bill. Nolan told the Dáil that “Medical science has known for some time that unborn babies can experience pain from 20 weeks gestation. However, an increasing body of scientific research from about 2007 onwards has suggested that the brain and nervous system develop at a rate which means that unborn babies may feel pain as early as 13 weeks.”
Tragic New Reality
The tragic reality of Ireland’s new abortion laws have spurred Irish pro-life activists towards a renewed push to achieve justice for the unborn.
The initial release of Irish abortion statistics under the new legislation shocked pro-life activists in Ireland – there were 6666 abortions in the first full year of operation of the abortion regime. This was a huge increase in comparison to the number of women who travelled to England to get abortions in previous years.
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Then in 2020 a study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology detailed the gruesome practice of foeticide in Ireland for late-term abortions. The study quotes one doctor referring to what they do as “stabbing the baby in the heart.”
Pro-life activists were shocked yet again this year when it was revealed that Irish doctors are currently being trained to perform dismemberment abortions.
These various abortion scandals are a shocking yet all too common aspect of abortion regimes around the world. Irish pro-life campaigners predicted some of the potential consequences of changing Ireland’s law before the referendum 2018. Sadly these predictions have now come to fruition – and the Irish people need to come to term with the reality of abortion on requst, and late-term abortions.
The Effect of the Bill
Compassion was a core part of Deputy Nolan’s motivation in introducing the bill. When presenting the bill to the parliament she said that “The knowing and intentional infliction of unnecessary or avoidable pain on human beings – especially on those with
no capacity to resist – is something all compassionate societies should seek to avoid.”
In welcoming the proposed legislative amendment, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Síle Quinlan echoed Nolan’s comments, stating that “There is absolutely no justification in having a law (Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013) that compels vets to administer pain relief to animals during any procedure that might cause them pain or distress and not having a law that ensures unborn babies are at least treated with the same mercy.”
This small but humane piece of legislation will remedy the current cruel situation in Ireland where babies are not even given pain-relief before late-term abortions. No matter what one’s position on abortion it, all people should support this simple and compassionate humanitarian measure. It’s the very least we could do.