Laois-Offaly TD Carol Nolan said she is “extremely encouraged” by the support the Rural Independents group has received from Oireachtas colleagues for their foetal pain relief bill despite Government moves to block it from progressing past the second stage.
The Government this morning put forward an amendment to stop the bill from progressing, citing the upcoming three year review of the abortion law.
The proposed bill sought to provide pain relief for the unborn child in certain applicable cases of abortion.
Commenting on the Government’s intervention earlier today, Deputy Nolan said it is “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,” she said.
Ms Nolan said that while the Government intervened to 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,” she said.
The vote on the Government’s amendment is expected to proceed this evening, but Deputy Nolan said that regardless of the outcome “there will still be work to be done to get the safeguards we are looking for across the line.
“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,” she said.
She added: “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”.
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