Protesters object to ‘inhumane’ abortion legislation before Dáil

Campaigners urge politicians to look at law in great detail and to bring in modifications

Anti-abortion activists and disability campaigners protested outside Leinster House on Thursday against abortion legislation currently before the Dáil.

Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign told The Irish Times “we’re here because a Bill is coming into the Houses of the Oireachtas today is one of the most inhumane, unjust pieces of legislation ever to come into these Houses.

“The Minister for Health might call it health care but in fact what this legislation is going to permit is intentional ending of babies lives and we’re here to say we’d like them to take a little more time, not to be railroading these proposals through.

“We’re asking legislators to look at it in great detail, to bring in modifications, to vote against it. We’re here to highlight that. It’s a tough day, a sad day.”


On May 25th last “the people voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment. They voted to give powers to the Houses of the Oireachtas to introduce legislation,” she said.

“The people didn’t vote on the legislation, they voted to give the legislature the right to introduce it. So the duty is on our legislators now to look at it and to do their level best to protect women and to save as many lives as possible,” she said.

“We’re asking people to talk to their public representatives actually, to look for modifications to the Bill. For example there’s no provision in the Bill for giving pain relief to babies who are aborted in late term abortions.

“I think the Irish public would be deeply shocked to see that. That’s how inhumane this is and unjust. We are asking the legislators to take this job very, very seriously because this is a piece of legislation with massively far reaching consequences,” she said.

At a protest by disability campaigners earlier Áine Nolan, who has a child with special needs, said “the legislation doesn’t expressly ban abortion on grounds of disability.” She continued “what I want to see is more emphasis on inclusion not exclusion.”

The legislation proposed was “a bit of a hoodwink” as “it doesn’t expressly ban abortion on grounds of disability. We know in Britain 98 per cent of abortions are carried out under the mental health clause, so we know that is a way a child with disabilities can be aborted,” she said.

Carla Quinn was "just very concerned there's nothing in black and white to say that the unborn baby diagnosed with something in utero will be protected. There's no transparency." She had "no confidence in present provisions," and wanted " it explicitly written into the legislation that disability is not grounds for abortion."

Martin McBreen, accompanied by his toddler daughter with Down syndrome, said “my biggest concerns are that at the moment, looking at what is happening in other countries and the fact that children like my daughter - she’s almost four - will never get the opportunity of life. To me it’s the utmost discrimination.

“From nine weeks they can tell with 99 per cent accuracy if a child is going to be Down syndrome. I think it’s very disturbing.”

Independent TD Mattie McGrath described provisions in the proposerd legislation as “quite simply are horrific. I know quite a number of people who voted ‘Yes’ are horrified now and contacted me .”

There was “no conscientious objection for GPs and nurses which are going to be frontline, no negotiations as to how they are going to cope. This three day wait,there’s even resistance to that.” There was “no semblance of any understanding about conscientious objection or the fact that three-quarters of a million people voted against it (removal of Eighth Amendment).”

It was “ my duty and others legislators’ to make the legislation as sensitive as possible to protect human life,” he said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times