How the Eighth Amendment committee voted

Only two Citizens Assembly recommendations were rejected by TDs and Senators

Repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution was proposed by Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan and passed overwhelmingly with the support of 13 other members. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution was proposed by Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan and passed overwhelmingly with the support of 13 other members. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

The Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment spent over three hours voting on individual recommendations for their final report.

The first proposal to be taken was the question on repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

It was proposed by Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan and passed overwhelmingly with the support of 13 other members.

Six members of the committee voted against the measure, while chairwoman of the committee Catherine Noone abstained.

The second recommendation sought to allow for terminations where the life or the health of the woman is at risk that no distinction be drawn between the physical and mental health of the woman. Two physicians would be asked to determine whether an abortion should be provided.

It concluded gestational time limits for terminations be guided by best medical advice and provided for in law.

Six members voted against such a proposal, 14 backed it and Ms Noone abstained.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath had requested the committee reject suicidal ideology as a grounds for termination. He received little support for the proposal, with only Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick and Independent Senator Ronan Mullen backing his suggestion.

Terminations motion

The committee accepted a motion by Fianna Fáil TDs Billy Kelleher and Lisa Chambers, and Senator Ned O’Sullivan, to allow for terminations up to 12 weeks.

The motion said this was in view of the complexities of legislating for the termination of pregnancy for reasons of rape and incest.

It was agreed it should be a GP-led service or in another clinical setting. Fine Gael TDs Bernard Durkan and Hildegarde Naughton said they were not in favour of abortion.

However, they said the abortion pill was being accessed widely and it needed to be regulated in accordance with best medical practice.

The committee also voted on each individual recommendation of the Citizens Assembly, including the specific request to allow terminations in the cases of rape. No vote was taken on this particular provision as there was no division.

In the cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, 18 members of the committee supported terminations in these instances.

Ms Noone cast her vote on this occasion, as she said she felt very strongly about this instance.

Foetal abnormalities

A vote to allow for terminations in the cases of foetal abnormalities was rejected by the committee, as was a proposal to allow terminations for socio-economic reasons.

These were the only two Citizens Assembly recommendations rejected by the committee.

Independent Senator Lynn Ruane, with the support of People before Profit TD Bríd Smith, proposed allowing terminations up to 22 weeks.

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell and Independents4Change TD Clare Daly backed the recommendation but the rest of the committee voted against it.

There was widespread acceptance for the need to decriminalise abortion, with 18 members supporting a proposal by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

All members, bar Mr Mullen, Mr McGrath and Mr Fitzpatrick, also backed calls to improve sex education in schools and to provide free contraception.

The committee will meet on Thursday at 5pm to consider the wording of its draft report, ahead of publication next week.