15.12.2021 Press Statement from All-Party Oireachtas Life and Dignity Group “Despite Government’s move to block Foetal Pain Relief Bill, we are extremely encouraged by support from Oireachtas colleagues in recent days,” says Carol Nolan TD

by editor

Carol Nolan, the co-chair of the All Party Oireachtas Life and Dignity Group has said that “despite the Government’s move today to try and block the Foetal Pain Relief Bill from progressing past Second Stage”, she is “extremely encouraged by the support we have received in recent days from Oireachtas colleagues regarding the bill.”

Earlier today, the Government tabled an amendment to stop the bill from moving forward, citing the upcoming three year review of the abortion law.

Commenting on the Government’s intervention in the debate, Deputy Nolan said: “It’s regrettable that the Government is trying to stand in the way of the bill progressing. It hasn’t come as a huge surprise though and we will certainly not be deterred by it. The bill we are putting forward is a measured and humane proposal. It simply seeks to ensure that unborn babies are given pain relief prior to late-term abortions.

Deputy Nolan continued: “While the Government has intervened today to try and stop the passage of the bill, significantly, they didn’t try to kill the bill by arguing against what it proposes. We take some comfort from the fact that the Government at least understands that voting down a bill that would provide humanitarian pain relief to unborn babies would be an indefensible position, particularly in light of the latest research showing that unborn babies feel pain from 20 weeks and possibly much earlier.

“The Government also knows that if there was a straight up vote in the Dáil, that very likely a majority of TDs, including from the government benches, would back the bill.

“The vote on the Government’s blocking amendment will proceed this evening and regardless of the outcome there will still be work to be done to get the safeguards we are looking for across the line. It will not be achieved by clinical guidelines however. It requires primary legislation to ensure it happens.

“The passage of a foetal pain bill would not interfere with the functioning of the new abortion law. It would simply ensure that no baby is exposed to unnecessary pain and suffering that could be avoided during a late-term abortion. We know there’s huge public support for the measure we’re putting forward and regardless of what happens today, we will continue to engage with our Oireachtas colleagues to build support for a new law that seeks to do nothing more than ease the pain and distress of a baby whose life is about to be ended. The bill we brought forward is about human empathy and compassion. It has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. That’s why I believe we will succeed in the end.”