Fatal foetal abnormalities Bill defeated in Dáil vote

Mick Wallace’s legislation, which divided minority Government, loses by 95 to 45

TD Clare Daly, speaking in the Dáil, has shared a letter sent to her by a woman who received a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality for her unborn son.

 

A Bill to allow for abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality has been defeated in the Dáil by 95 votes to 45.

Independent Alliance Ministers Shane Ross, John Halligan and Finian McGrath voted against the Government on the Bill, introduced by Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, an Independent TD, voted with Fine Gael on the issue.

Fianna Fáil allowed an open vote on the Bill as it was a “matter of conscience” and five of its TDs voted in favour of it – Lisa Chambers, Niall Collins, Timmy Dooley, Fiona O’Loughlin and Robert Troy.

Sinn Féin also supported the Bill but TD Peadar Tóibín was absent for the vote.

Mr Tóibín previously lost the party whip when he opposed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, which Sinn Féin supported.

Unconstitutional

Fine Gael had insisted the Bill was deemed unconstitutional in advice provided to the Cabinet by Attorney General Máire Whelan. The legal advice was not made public. It also cited advice from the State’s chief medical officer stating that it was unworkable.

However, Mr Ross and Mr McGrath insisted they had supported a similar Bill from Mr Wallace’s colleague Clare Daly previously and would have to be consistent in their position.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny agreed reluctantly to allow the Independent Ministers a free vote, but it is understood he robustly insisted this was a once-off and would not be facilitated on a regular basis.

Mr Kenny earlier this week spoke of his support for women’s rights and insisted he was fully committed to a citizen’s assembly to examine the abortion issue.

Earlier, Wexford TD Mr Wallace said he did not think his private member’s Bill would pass in the Dáil but wanted to see it go before the Supreme Court.

“We’re not saying we’re 100 per cent right, but let the courts decide, it will bring forward, it will add urgency to the fact that there’s at least four or five women every week in Ireland having to travel out of the country to have a fatal foetal abnormality dealt with. They are suffering something terrible.”