SOCIAL Democrats TD Holly Cairns has accused fellow West Cork deputy Michael Collins of trying to row back on women’s abortion rights
Deputy Cairns says the Rural Independents group, of which Dep Collins is a member, is pushing a Bill that will try to roll back ‘our hard-earned reproductive rights and healthcare, through stealth.’
She was referring to the group’s Health Bill Amendment, which Deputy Collins insisted ‘is not us trying to rerun the abortion campaign.’
‘Abortion is in the country and I oppose it, and I’m not going to hide behind that, I never will.
‘But doctors and surgeons have reported that late term babies have been aborted, that were actually alive, as such, and that there was no pain relief administered. So, we felt that there must be an amendment to the Bill that’s there already in relation to abortion, so that at least the baby that is to be aborted has an anaesthetic. Our Bill is very, very simple, that pain relief be given to a baby before its life is brought to an end and this was sadly opposed in the Dáil.’
However, Deputy Cairns said: ‘This is clearly an attempt to roll back hard-won reproductive rights and healthcare, taken straight from the playbook of anti-choice Americans.
‘The people of Ireland and over 64% of Cork South West voted for free, safe, legal abortion care.
‘With the upcoming review of the legislation, as public representatives, we need to ensure that it is working and seek to improve it – based on feedback from service users and providers.’
She said that the real issue is that the current law prevents women who need terminations for medical reasons from accessing care in Ireland.
‘They are still forced to travel abroad for care that should be accessible at home. This makes a tragic time even more difficult and painful for families.
‘It is highly inappropriate for legislators to intervene in medical practices. Patients, doctors, and other healthcare professionals should have the freedom to make decisions based on medical science and the best interests of their patients, nothing else.
‘The Rural Independents’ Bill is cloaked in the language of compassion when, in reality, it will only confuse and restrict options available to women and families in tragic circumstances.
‘In the fight to repeal the 8th in Ireland, we often heard arguments lifted straight from the anti-choice American playbook. This is just the latest example and it cannot be allowed to stand.’
Deputy Collins hit back: ‘They [in the Dáil] seem to be forever worrying about dogs and horses, they don’t seem to worry at all about a baby in a womb.
‘We were not asking for an end to abortion or anything like that. Surely be to God, it is very little to ask that we administer an anaesthetic to late term abortions.’