MANY people who voted ‘Yes’ in the abortion referendum were acting in the interests of choice and compassion for women facing unexpected and challenging pregnancies, but they are not necessarily on board with the more extreme aspects of the legislation introduced in the Dáil to regulate terminations, independent Deputy Michael Collins told the Dáil.
Exit polls showed that many ‘Yes’ voters had very serious concerns that they hoped would be addressed to have a reasonable, restrictive regime put in place, he said. These specific issues must be addressed through amendments to the new legislation.
‘The Referendum Commission stated, in its booklet, as confirmed in the High Court during the summer, that people were not being asked to vote on any legislation as there was no guarantee the proposed legislation would ever come to pass,’ he said. ‘The Irish people are entitled to have the legislation that comes before the House debated.
There is too much at stake to rush this Bill through the Dáil with undue haste, which is the approach the Minister seems to favour.’
Deputy Collins said it was also important to note there are a number of areas of major difference between what the people were led to believe before the referendum and what is proposed in the legislation. ‘The Minister repeatedly stressed that early delivery would be mandated after viability, yet the Bill makes no mention of early delivery and instead allows for the deliberate ending of a baby’s life at any point in the nine months of pregnancy in certain cases,’ he said.
‘The Irish people did not vote for that. It was stressed that unborn babies would be protected against discrimination on the grounds of disability. I can find no such protection in the Bill.
The Minister owes it to the Irish people to add those protections about which he spoke.’