Irish Parliament Defeats Bill to Legalize Abortions on Disabled Babies

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The Irish parliament defeat a pro-abortion bill today to expand legalized abortion by authorizing abortions on disabled babies. Leading pro-life groups lobbies extensively against the bill and urged TDs to support women and children.

Independent Socialist Clare Daly’s Bill was defeated y a lopsided margin 104-20 with the abstention of Sinn Féin and Labour’s Anne Ferris voted in favor of the bill in defiance of the party whip.

The Irish Times breaks down the vote further:

Ciara Conway and Michael McNamara, whose names had been mentioned as supporting the legislation, held the party line.

Just three Fianna Fáil TDs voted for the legislation – Billy Kelleher, Robert Troy and Niall Collins. Other members voted with party leader Micheal Martin against the legislation as did Independents Noel Grealish, Michael Fitzmaurice, Michael Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry.

Enda Kenny had ruled out accepting the legislation, having received an opinion from Attorney General Maire Whelan that it was unconstitutional. He said the AG’s advice would not be published in line with precedent.

Leading pro-life organizations like Pro-Life Campaign urged TDs to protect unborn children, even if they are severely disabled. Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign urged politicians to robustly reject the proposal.

“Sometimes abortion is proposed,even taken for granted, as the ‘solution’ to difficult situations. But the sign of a genuinely inclusive society is one that unconditionally values all human life, irrespective of the born or unborn person’s ability or prognosis, however grave,” she told LifeNews.com. “The countless stories from Irish families whose babies were given diagnoses of terminal illness and their experiences of giving birth to, living with and then grieving their babies’ passing must be heard in this debate. That simply is not happening at present.”

“Those pushing this Bill have completely failed to address alternatives to abortion and the need for a dedicated peri-natal hospice in Ireland for families who find themselves in these deeply difficult situations,” she added. “lf we decide it is acceptable to end the lives of unborn children because of a pre-natal diagnosis, it undermines all terminally ill people’s right to equal respect.  A truly life-affirming society works towards giving all necessary supports to children with these conditions and their families.”

Parents whose children have been diagnosed with life-limiting disorders such as anencephaly or Trisomy 13 have said that they are ‘relieved’  that the abortion bill proposed by Clare Daly TD was rejected by the majority of TDs in the Dáil.

Every Life Counts spokeswoman Tracy Harkin said that abortion was not a “progressive answer” for families facing a life-limiting diagnosis for their child and that the language used by Deputy Daly in her proposed bill was “outdated, discriminatory and a threat to all children with a disability”.

She told LifeNews that Daly’s Bill sought to legalise abortion for unborn babies with a profound disability, although medical experts have pointed out that there is no agreed definition of so-called ‘fatal foetal abnormalities’, nor can they ‘identify an agreed list of conditions that fit into this category’.*

Ms Harkin said that most of the families in the Every Life Counts** support group had lost their children to these conditions but they strongly believed that every child had a right to life and wanted to share that their own families had found great healing and love in having time with their children, however short their lives were, or severe their disability.

“This bill is so far behind the curve when it comes to providing best support for families that it should be rejected out of hand by every progressive person,” said Ms Harkin.

“First of all, it uses the now outdated concept that a child is ‘incompatible with life’, when the medical literature shows that the term is misleading and offensive and should not be used in counselling”.

“Secondly, the Bill ignores the fact that the most up-to-date research shows that most children diagnosed with a life-limiting condition do live after birth, and that their families are hugely helped by new supports such as perinatal hospice care, which gives the family precious time with their baby.”

“Thirdly, Ms Daly and her fellow campaigners are targeting unborn children with a profound disability, and they are ignoring the evidence that shows there are no agreed list of conditions that fit into this category, meaning that the right to life of all unborn children with a disability comes under threat.”

The Every Life Counts spokeswoman said the organisation had written to all TDs to urge them to reject the abortion bill, and to focus on providing better care for families instead.

SOURCE: Life News, February 10th, 2015, http://www.lifenews.com/2015/02/10/irish-parliament-defeats-bill-to-lega...