Dáil debates

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Protection of Life During Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2017: Second Stage [Private Members]


9:35 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

This Bill proposes to amend section 22 of the so-called Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013. I sat on the health committee at the time of the passing of the Bill and saw what happened and the shutting out of views other than those that were so-called sympathetic to abortion. Section 22 provides:

(1) It shall be an offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life.

(2) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or both.

However, as the Minister of State made clear, it is up to the Director of Public Prosecutions, in a very careful and arduous examination, to consider the matter at hand before any prosecutions take place, and very few have taken place. I welcome the Minister of State's stance. The Bill proposes to decrease this penalty so that a person guilty of the offence would be liable to a maximum fine of €1. This is one of the most disturbing pieces of legislation that has ever come before the House, certainly in my time. If passed, it would reduce and trivialise human life in a manner that can be only called contemptuous. It makes a mockery not only of the value of human life, but also of the law. It would effectively remove all restrictions and all sanctions in respect of the intentional destruction of human life. It is a political stunt that is deeply distasteful. The Bill's proponents have equated the value of human life and the penalty for destroying that life with a fine of less than the price of a cup of coffee. The Bill will, however, serve to highlight the underlying thinking and mentality of those proposing it. It clearly sets out the agenda that no meaningful safeguards should exist for the protection of the unborn child, and I could not live with that. This is horrific legislation that I will oppose.

The likes of Mr. Soros and company are funding many of the pro-abortion lobbies and trying to interfere in our democratic process. As far as the so-called Citizens' Assembly and the so-called assessment and choosing of the 99 people who sit on it are concerned, I wish them well and thank them for their service. However, that nine counties, including mine, Deputy Danny Healy-Rae's and others, could be left out of that process of so-called consultation is shameful. It was a flawed process, and the way in which the PR company was picked was stage-managed. Even a blind man could see that. As to the fact that the Citizens' Assembly is running at all, this House is a citizens' assembly to which I, thankfully, and many of my colleagues were elected over a year ago. We should have the courage to vote on and make legislation. If we must hold a referendum, let the people decide it. We should not have this mockery, shambolic assemblies and so on as a cover.


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