Ireland’s Dail (Parliament) has overwhelmingly voted in opposition to permitting the practice of abortion under limited circumstances. The new legislation was proposed by Clare Daly of the Socialist Party but was defeated 111 votes in opposition to the 20 votes in favor.
TheJournal.ie reports on the historic vote coming out of the Dail; “All TDs from the Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties voted against the legislation, as did all 16 of the present Fianna Fáil TDs. Sinn Féin voted in favour of the bill, as did ten of the independent and other party TDs.”
Prior to the vote being cast, TD Daly criticized Fianna Fail for their anticipated rejection of the legislation and urged Labour Party Members to reconsider voting in opposition.
Following the result of the vote, health minister James Reilly said, “While the Bill as drafted here tonight goes some way to address the A, B and C judgment, the government is clear that in its current form it cannot be accepted because it is lacking in some legal respects.”
Health Minister Reilly elaborated that Section 6 of the bill, which outlined the circumstances under which a GP could “presumed to have obtained consent to treat a pregnant woman when there were no means available to determine her consent – may have been in conflict with the Constitution.”
The opposition to the proposed legislation comes even after a survey of Ireland’s GPs found that a staggering 75 percent of those polled were in favor of limited circumstance abortions. Such ‘limited circumstances’ included rape, major foetal abnormalities, and serious maternal illness where the mother’s life is in danger.
Further, 95 percent of the GPs polled said that they had had consultations about abortions, with 45 percent of those taking place within the last six months.
While it seems that GPs are in favor of limited circumstantial abortions, other political leaders remain steadfast in their anti-abortion views. TheJournal.ie reports that Michelle Mulherin, a Mayo Fine Gael TD, said that the single most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies in Ireland is “fornication.”
TD Mulherin offered her controversial comments before the Dail voted on the proposed legislation. In her speech, TD Mulherin also said, “I am against abortion in any form myself. The grace of God is so liberating and provides so many options to get the best out of life despite our fall in nature, and we all have that.
“Abortion is murder,” continued TD Mulherin, “therefore sin, which is the religious argument, is no more sinful, from a scriptural point of view, than all other sins we don’t legislate against, like greed, hate and fornication. The latter, being fornication, I would say, is probably the single most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies in this country.”
Earlier this year, the government appointed an expert panel in accordance with the 2010 ruling from the European Court of Human Rights which criticised Ireland for failing to legislate for the right to abortion in limited circumstances, in line with the Supreme Court ruling in the X Case in 1992.
TD Daly added that the report from the expert panel in regards to the ruling of the case A, B and C versus Ireland would not be available until July, meaning new legislation would not be brought forward within a year.