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102 TDs vote in support of Abortion Bill

By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 October, 2018

Pro Life Campaign laments “one of the saddest days” in Irish history as substantial majority of TDs back bill, which now goes to Committee stage to consider amendments such as Freedom of Conscience.

Pic shows members of the Pro Life Campaign outside the Dáil to raise concerns about the lack of balance in the debate on the Eighth Amendment. Pic John Mc Elroy.

The Pro Life Campaign has decried the substantial majority of TDs who voted in support of the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill on Tuesday in the Dáil.

In a statement, Dr Ruth Cullen of the PLC said the vote would be remembered as “one of the saddest days” in Irish history.

“It is the day that a majority of the Dáil have voted to usher in an abortion regime that permits the killing of unborn babies through every stage of pregnancy,” she lamented.

Just 12 TDs opposed the passage of the bill, with seven abstaining and a total of 102 TDs supporting it.

“We know from history that when big majorities vote to strip vulnerable groups in society of all their rights under the law, it is usually celebrated and hailed in the immediate aftermath. But over time, the injustice and barbarity of the changes to the law become apparent.

“The TDs who didn’t vote against such an extreme abortion proposal cannot use the excuse that the people approved it. They did not. The people simply voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment which is significantly different,” Dr Cullen challenged.

She said the outcome of the Dáil vote had been foreseen “given the type of debate we saw on the Eighth Amendment over the past eighteen months, which was entirely one-sided.

“What has happened in this debate is not just something that has taken away the right to life of some members of our community, it has also seriously undermined democracy,” she said.

Dr Cullen paid tribute to the 12 politicians “who bravely stood up for unborn babies and their mothers today and voted against the bill”.

They were:

Minister Seán Canney IND
Deputy Michael Collins IND
Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice IND
Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick IND
Deputy Danny Healy-Rae IND
Deputy Michael Healy-Rae IND
Deputy Michael Lowry IND
Deputy Marc McSharry FF
Deputy Mattie McGrath IND
Deputy Carol Nolan IND
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív FF
Deputy Peadar Tóibin SF

In her statement, Dr Cullen said the twelve deserved people’s “full support and backing for defending the rights of the most vulnerable at a time when others caved in to the pressures from the leadership of their parties and the frenzied demands of the pro-abortion lobby”.

She added, “Those who support the right to life of unborn children will not be giving up or going away. These are very disheartening times for the pro-life movement but the commitment to right the wrong that has been done has never been stronger.”

The seven abstentions were John Curran, Pat Casey, Mary Butler, Aindreas Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Charlie McConalogue and Sean Haughey, who were all absent from the chamber.

The final vote on the bill will not take place for a number of weeks and the process now goes to Committee stage where amendments like Freedom of Conscience and others will be considered.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is to initiate disciplinary proceedings against TD Peadar Tóibín who defied the party whip and voted against the abortion legislation in the Dáil.

The deputy could be facing suspension from his party as a result.

Mr Tóibín told TheJournal.ie “this issue is far more important than my job or any job in Leinster house”.

Sinn Féin said in a statement that the party chairperson would initiate disciplinary procedures against Deputy Tóibín for his breach of the party whip.

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