Seanad debates

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages


5:50 pm

Photo of John DolanJohn Dolan (Independent) | Oireachtas source

That is not my intention. I do not wish to have offended either of the Senators. It was just to be clear.

This issue involves two entities, one absolutely a human being, the mother, and another behind her that is journeying to be life. That entity in the womb that is stretching towards humanity can be described as a person or a baby, but the mother cannot disappear and nor can her pre-pregnancy human status and her continuing human status and the myriad responsibilities with which she so often has to deal.

We will have to return to the issue of voting in conscience in this House and in Irish society to look at whether public representatives and legislators have the right to their own view when they are in a space for the public and common good.

Democracy does settle issues but it does not determine right and wrong absolutely. Democracy simply brings that compromise.

As I come to a conclusion, I want to refer to the issue of trusting women. Every slight advance for women is either dragged out of the system or is a side benefit of something else, for instance, the need for women in the workplace. There is still a long and hard way to go. I was very concerned that the issue of disability and people with disabilities was overused and not rightly or sensitively used at some times in this debate. We will return to this issue soon, given the many developments we expect with regard to the environment, technology, science and people's views. Right now, concerted action is what is needed. There is a solidarity that is required in the sense that every one of us has to make sure there are fewer women on the cusp of that difficult decision. Mine is not in any sense a sense of victory. It is a sense of relief for women and a sense that all, on both the "Yes" and the "No" sides, need to work relentlessly and wisely to dampen the need for any woman to be on the cusp of considering a termination.


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