Minister’s contribution to debate on foetal abnormality was disrespectful to women
87 % are in favour of medical intervention for this condition
It was the beginning of White’s hole-digging, which continued when he reminded the House that it was merely the Opposition’s duty to oppose the Government and that the fatal foetal abnormality amendment was such an example.
Rather alarmingly, he went on to say the supporters of the amendment were “partly motivated to derive some political advantage from the situation”. I thought I was hearing things, especially as I know he has visited a constituent in her home recently, a woman who had harrowing fatal foetal abnormality news and had to travel abroad, and advised her that it won’t be included and gave no hope of remedy. His colleague, Kathleen Lynch, was by far the most eloquent and realistic orator. While she appreciated the Bill was lacking in addressing fatal foetal abnormality, she didn’t sideline the issue.
Equally, Róisín Shortall, who will vote against the Bill on the basis of gestational limit, is fully supportive of fatal foetal abnormality legislation
It was Tipperary South TD Séamus Healy who grasped and quoted the D v Ireland decision and offered a clear analysis of the State Counsel’s opinion. Both he and Finian McGrath referred to a manner in which fatal foetal abnormality could be included this time, tested by the Supreme Court and if found unconstitutional excluded while the remainder of the Bill would remain intact. That would then give a clear indication of where the matter stands constitutionally. Because, quite frankly, this Attorney General, like those before her, is not infallible. All law is open to interpretation and this interpretation suits the Government.
John Halligan, Richard Boyd Barrett and Caomhghín Ó Caoláin were respectful and coherent on this issue, with Ó Caoláin thankfully correcting Michael Healy-Rae on his offensive, appalling obfuscating of fatal foetal abnormality.
Lack of interest
When the bell rang for the vote on fatal foetal abnormality, there was a slow trickling of Deputies from around the House; they could have been snoozing on trolleys in the corridors. By 4.58am, with the fatal foetal abnormality issue defeated, the Cathaoirleach was so addled he announced the “amendment was agreed” and then looked a little stumped.
The “floodgates” are already open – in the direction of the UK. I say keep our women at home and limit their trauma. I ask the four Fine Gael TDs in my constituency, even Peter Mathews, to guarantee a remedy to the appalling vista of fatal foetal abnormality in this State.
Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter, please ensure it is included on the Seanad referendum and ban all posters. With 87 per cent in favour of medical intervention for fatal foetal abnormality, I don’t think there will be much confusion.
In 2005 Deirdre Conroy took a case to the European Court of Human Rights (D v Ireland) on the State’s prohibition of abortion, specifically in relation to cases of foetal impairment