Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]


10:12 am

Photo of Danny Healy-RaeDanny Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am glad to get the opportunity to talk on this important Bill. This baby pain relief Bill is crucial to ensure that any baby with a heartbeat does not have to endure or feel pain while being aborted or killed and denied the right to make their way into this world. There are several other pressing problems and issues we should be highlighting on behalf of communities that are let down and under constant attack from the three Government parties. They concern people who need medical interventions, farmers, hauliers, working-class people whose incomes are diminishing daily and people who cannot even go to work because of Covid.

If we are to be worth our salt in the Dáil, we have to stand up for those who cannot defend or talk up for themselves. We have to stand up at Christmastime, the time of peace and goodwill, for these defenceless babies. They are God's creatures who cannot defend themselves. They have done nothing wrong to anyone. They were conceived naturally, like each of us, but they are not to be allowed to live. To top it all, they have to endure pain while they are being discarded from this life. They are being hurt in the process of ending their little lives.

I call on the Minister and the Government to do everything possible to ensure pain relief is administered to each baby with a beating heart. I do not subscribe to the notion that it should be only those babies over 20 weeks gestation. Every baby with a beating heart should not have to feel pain. There is no difference between a baby over 20 weeks and a baby under 20 weeks. They are all human beings to me. God created them, they are alive and they should not be discounted like this.

This has been asked for since abortion was legalised but there has been a refusal to extend a morsel of compassion to these babies as they breathe their last breath in this world. This is the most forceful and condemning evidence that we are losing our empathy and our way as a society.

Recent scientific evidence concludes that unborn babies feel pain as early as 12 weeks and maybe sooner. To ignore this is reckless. Indeed, unborn babies that are to be born in the natural way and are going to be allowed to live in the normal way are looked on by baby surgeons as their patients and are administered pain relief medication as standard medical practice. So there is medical interventions to stop the pain and to numb the pain.

Pain relief for animals is provided for in primary legislation and properly so. The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides that veterinarians administer pain relief during any procedures or interventions that would cause pain to the animal. Surely we must ensure that unborn babies with a heartbeat are dealt with in a compassionate way and give them pain relief. If there is any humanity in the Government I ask why it is putting down an amendment to a Bill as harmless as this. Is it just because it wants to oppose ordinary people who want to stop children, little babies, having pain in this way? It is such a small thing to ask. We should be asking that they be let live but at this stage, because of the abortion laws that were passed, this is all we can ask for. We are asking for more heart, that the Government does what we ask and please help little babies that have done nothing wrong to anyone in this world. If the Government does not help these, I cannot see how it will help anyone at all that it is supposed to be helping while its members are in government. There were 6,666 children aborted in the first year after the legislation was changed. These little children are an awful loss to our country and to our community. I had the pleasure of having a young granddaughter, Bríd Healy-Rae, five weeks ago. To think that anyone would harm her or cause her pain would drive me down through the ground. I have five grandchildren and I adore each and every one of them.

We need to do more to help mothers, and fathers, indeed, to ensure there is another way. We are not doing that. Many here were hell-bent on ensuring that the abortion legislation went through. That was their right and for those who voted for it that was their right. But that is not to say that I say it is right. I think that these children, if they grew up, and they do grow up and they are not long becoming men and women, would have been a massive asset to this country. The Government, by its amendment, is looking to delay this. I want to remind the Minister that 18 babies are being aborted daily so they are going to suffer pain. It is 126 weekly and over 6,000 in a year. Surely we should not be wasting time. Is there humanity in the Minister or any of the Government? If there is, now is the time to stand up and do what we ask which is just to administer pain relief in the course of these abortions where we are ending little babies lives.


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