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Ellen Coyne @ellenmcoyne
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Report stage of the #legisl8 bill resuming in the Dáil shortly. Here is my report from last night -…
We're still on Amendment 28, backed by Carol Nolan which seeks to ban abortion on grounds of sex, race or disability up to 12 weeks. Ms Nolan says there are "paternalistic cultures" which could force women to have abortions for certain reasons.
Simon Harris is explaining to the Dáil that the bill does not permit abortion on grounds of sex, race or disability and claims the point of the amendment is to make the whole bill "inoperable" because it would require a doctor to be able to read a woman's thoughts.
.@SimonHarrisTD says this is a "let them deny it" tactic from anti-abortion TDs. Louise O'Reilly clarifying Sinn Fein is opposing this amendment, not because it is in favour of abortions on grounds of disability but because the bill already bans abortion on these grounds
.@RuthCoppingerTD is objecting to @Toibin1's comments last night that "cultural people" would come to Ireland and have sex selective abortions. She says the proposers of these motions never show interest in the inferior position of women in society "once they are born."
Michael Collins is claiming that the media is failing to challenge Simon Harris on the fact that banning abortion on grounds of disability isn't included in the bill. As a member of the aforementioned failing media, a point of clarity:
Numerous anti-abortion activists and TDs are raising alarm because disability isn't mentioned in the bill, and it isn't. Abortion will remain a criminal offence in Ireland EXCEPT for the 4 ground mentioned in the bill. Abortion for any other reason is illegal.
Anyway, back to Dáil: Éamon Ó Cuív says he believes Simon Harris agrees with the basis of the motion that it is "absolutely illegal and bad" to have abortion on basis of race, sex or disability beyond 12 weeks.
He says he wants to highlight the fact that the protection that is there after 12 weeks "will not be given before 12 weeks."
Declan Breathnach seeks assurance from minister that termination on grounds of disability would be illegal in the future if tests were able to identify disabilities before 12 weeks. Michael Healy Rae says again he is not delaying bill, says Yes voters being let down by the bill
Danny Healy Rae says he resents being told "by some deputy from Dublin," who he won't bother to name (@RuthCoppingerTD) telling them to "cop on" over this amendment.
.@Toibin1 claims that name-calling has started again, and says that Carol Nolan was forced to tears the other night because of the aggression of the debate.
Mattie McGrath is questioning how Fine Gael politicians can be believed as some have changed their view on abortion, he says that others have their beliefs which they don't change to suit "political times" and leaders.
Significant over and back there on not only the amendment but rows between Sinn Fein and Fianna Fáil etc etc. Harris says the amendment would make the bill inoperable, anti-abortion TDs claim it means Harris is untrustworthy and there will be abortion on grounds of disability
Amendment 28, which would ban abortion up to 12 weeks on grounds of race, gender and disability is voted down by 71 votes to 21. Govt had pointed out that abortion on grounds of disability etc is already illegal and this bill would make abortion law up to 12 weeks inoperable.
Quite a few amendments to go before 9pm. If they’re not done before then report stage gets pushed to next week. @SimonHarrisTD looking SUPER impatient with delays and squabbles.
Amendment 29, connected to an earlier one from minister, is accepted which means Amendments 30 to 34 fall. Amendments 35 and 36 are both from minister to allow a second doctor carry out a pregnancy up to 12 weeks after it's been certified by the first one.
TDs move quickly to agree the amendment. The next is Amendment 37, which is from anti-abortion TDs who want to legislate to have anaesthetic provided to a foetus before a termination of pregnancy.
"The fact that there is actually a dispute about whether or not to include such a provision is, in my opinion, appalling," Mattie McGrath says.
"We're not anti-women, we're not anti-choice, we're pro-humanity," Mr McGrath said.
Michael Collins is talking about things happening to a "child" in the womb in graphic detail.
.@SimonHarrisTD points out that, as he explained at committee stage, this bill is not for regulating obstetrics and the legislation doesn't set down care pathways in law - it doesn't do so for the woman either.
Mattie McGrath tells the Dáil that even people who voted yes don't trust Simon Harris. He is reading out comments from the health minister from 2011, when he was anti-abortion. (No big secret, Harris penned an op-ed in the Irish Independent in the same year to the same effect.)
.@EugeneMurphyTD, who is in favour of the amendment and at odds with the minister, defends Mr Harris him from attacks from some of his anti-abortion colleagues, says Harris always makes time for him and others should stick to speaking to the amendment.
.@SimonHarrisTD says it was "no unearthing" to find anti-abortion comments from him in 2011, and says he is delighted he changed his views and hopes Mattie McGrath will one day too. Points out the amendment doesn't seek to have pain relief for the woman
Amendment 37, to regulate for the use of pain relief for the foetus, has been defeated by 61 votes to 22.
Amendment 38 is also from the anti-abortion TDs, and is billed as the "protection of infants born alive." It's been pointed out before that the problem with this amendment kind of implies doctors would leave a baby to die if it survived a later abortion in an Irish hospital.
.@Toibin1 is talking about the failure of the Committee on the Eighth Amendment to invite an "abortion survivor" to speak. (Not sure why he couldn't ask Peter Fitzpatrick, Mattie McGrath or Ronan Mullen to propose her as a speaker, as they all had the power to do as members?)
Danny Healy Rae is speaking on the amendment and, as he did when it was committee stage, is telling the story of the woman he met who was "aborted" and put in a bucket and survived.
The story is contested by Kate O'Connell.
Michael Collins claiming Harris is wrong to imply doctors would look after baby born alive because it would be "possibly unwanted." Point of clarity, any termination at a point of viability is when the life/health of a woman is at risk or an FFA, aka a pregnancy gone wrong
Michael Harty, who is also GP, says the scenario set out in this amendment is extremely unlikely to take place in Ireland, but adds that even if it did "medical ethics would kick in" and the baby would be looked after.
Kate O'Connell says maybe the amendment is well-intentioned, but it's certainly ill-informed. She says Mr Healy Rae's anecdote is a fairy story from a dubious source.
The amendment is defeated by 59 votes to 39.
The next amendments are numbers 39 and 40 from @loreillysf which seek to replace the word "avert" with "reduce" in relation to risk. It was already discussed last night so the amendments are withdrawn.
Next is another anti-abortion amendment which is grouped between amendment 41 and 44 - essentially it means a woman would have to be offered an ultrasound or audio of a foetal heartbeat before she could access a termination. Any doctor who didn't do so could face 1 year in prison
So far, amendments like this one have taken about an hour to discuss and there are 23 more to go so it means there is no hope of the bill making it through the Dáil tonight and it will have to continue report stage of the bill next week at the earliest.
Some confusion here, I think the TDs were talking about amendment 42 - which relates to information collection so their contributions were quite short. Unsure if they're coming in again on the ultrasound issue. @Toibin1 is talking about the scan issue now
Micheal Healy Rae claims some people in the media were portraying the ultrasound as compulsory for the woman. Unsure what reports he's talking about. The compulsion is on the dr to offer it, or else face criminal sanction.
Carol Nolan asking for the media to report accurately that women wouldn't be forced to look at the ultrasound, and she claims the media should also report that she was interrupted. "Report the truth." Hope @carolno98273399 has a @thetimesIE subscription!…
Simon Harris points out that every woman *would* have to be scanned as per the amendment, but then would just have the choice whether to look at it or not.
Danny Healy Rae is arguing for every GP to have the resources to perform an ultrasound scan. Michael Harty says the ultrasound issue is complicated, says there would have been one anyway for life/health risk and FFA, and it's a clinical decision up to 12 weeks whether one needed
Mr Harty says there are reasonable reasons to need an ultrasound up to 12 weeks, but "enshrining that in legislation is not the way to go about it."
.@campaignforkate claims that this amendment is directly coming from attempts to reverse Roe v Wade in the US. "This is a direct derivative of that carry on that went on over there, just to people are aware of where this is coming from."
.@RuthCoppingerTD pointing out its now 8.40pm, the bill obviously won't get passed tonight and she wants as much time as possible set aside on Tuesday to get this bill through.
Mattie McGrath says Kate O'Connell wasn't here because she was "in an out, tweeting, media interviews." Ms O'Connell says she hasn't done any media and was listening to his contributions when she was outside the chamber. Mr McGrath claims she's "looking for a headline."
.@DarraghOBrienTD says the people backing this amendment are being disingenuous, he again points out that doctors would be under an "absolute compulsion" to perform an ultrasound and if they don't do it they will be guilty of a criminal offence and possibly 12 months in prison
.@loreillysf says just for the benefit of anyone who signed their name to the amendment, "there is no version of this that doesn't have the woman present [for an ultrasound]" which doctors have to perform and she says the women will hear and see what's going on.
.@DonnellyStephen says this country has a dark and shameful history on rights, and it comes down to "controlling women, and controlling women's bodies." He says this amendment "feels like that."
John Brassil says he's going to be arguing for stronger conscientious objection protections for anti-abortion doctors, and so can't in good conscience back this "poorly thought out" amendment that would have doctors face a criminal sanctions if they don't carry out this scan
.@Toibin1 says the reason this needs to be included is because abortion regret is a "big issue." Some interruptions from Kate O'Connell and Ruth Coppinger. "People may disagree with me with regards abortion regret ... I have been told by many women that they have experienced it."
In response, @lichamber says abortion regret is a "makey uppy thing, it doesn't exist." She says this amendment is about judging women, embarrassing them and making them feel bad in the hope they'll make a choice "that suits your agenda."
She points out that the woman could be offered the scan during the ultrasound, and obviously that the screen is there so it's hard not to see. @lichamber adds that some TDs seem to think they have gained medical expertise. "You haven't."
And with that we have reached 9pm and the debate is suspended until next week. On amendment 41 of 65 at the moment.
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