Thursday, 13 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
-----who started this process of deliberative democracy with the Citizens' Assembly.
At the time, he was much maligned for so doing. We owe him a debt of gratitude for suggesting this process which all Senators will agree has worked well. I also pay tribute to the Taoiseach, Deputy Varadkar, who put this issue front and centre on his agenda from the day he was appointed. I thank the Minister, Deputy Harris. It is fair to say that his contribution has been immense and he has been amazing. I thank those from Together for Yes, many of whom I see in the Public Gallery. I am far newer to this issue than they are. If I start naming names, I am sure to leave someone out. It has been a real privilege to work with so many inspiring people, predominantly women but also some men, on this issue.
Many negative comments have come my way over the past year but this is a proud moment for me and for everyone who has been involved on the issue. It has been the privilege of my professional career to do this work and I am very proud to have been involved in such monumental change. I am happy to know that our laws are now more caring towards women and that we live in a beautiful democracy which listened to the stories of women and the expert evidence given on the issue, particularly by doctors. Thankfully, our decades-old English solution to an Irish problem will come to an end once the President signs into law the Bill which will be sent to him from the Oireachtas today. We repealed the eighth amendment and we legislated to reflect that. I am proud of how we have reached this point.