Seanad debates

Monday, 10 December 2018

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Committee Stage (Resumed)


2:00 pm

Photo of Rónán MullenRónán Mullen (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I wish to make a very brief comment. My colleague, Senator Bacik, referred to being surprised that Members - I presume she meant me or Senator Ó Domhnaill - were invoking the 2013 legislation in the context of the discussion about necessity. There was always the acceptance in 2013 that necessary medical procedures in which there was a threat to life were appropriate. That was never the issue. As often with legislation, there are parts that people support and parts that people oppose. An issue that arose in 2013 which was highly problematic was the fact that there was no evidence base for the idea of abortion as therapeutic in the context of a threat of suicide. This was the core objection, colleagues may recall, that many people had. However, in the context of determining when a medical intervention is appropriate, even one that includes the loss of the life of the unborn, the test has always been one of necessity. There can therefore be no argument or surprise about the fact that we would seek to emphasise the word that was also, as it happens, in the 2013 legislation. Even if one were fully opposed to the 2013 law, it would still make sense to try to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse, which is what this legislation does. It makes a bad situation far worse because it extends the grounds for abortion far beyond the controversial area of the threat to life. I just wanted to make this point by way of clarification because it was brought up just before the sos.


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