Offaly TD supports pain relief for unborn babies during abortions
Independent Offaly TD Carol Nolan has put her name to a bill seeking pain relief for unborn babies during late-term abortions.
A group of TDs released a statement on Wednesday in support of the Bill. The TDs lending their signature to the statement were Carol Nolan TD, Michael Collins TD, Danny Healy-Rae TD, Michael Healy-Rae TD. Mattie McGrath TD, Richard O’Donoghue TD, Sean Canney TD, Éamon Ó Cuiv TD, Peter Fitzpatrick TD, Noel Grealish TD and Peadar Tóibín TD.
"The ‘Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021’ that we are co-sponsoring is a humane and reasonable proposal worthy of majority support in the Dáil," the group said.
"As legislators, we cannot ignore the fact that the existing abortion law does not contain any provision to promote the administration of pain relief, where possible, to an unborn baby prior to the carrying out of a late-term abortion procedure.
"Ensuring that no baby ever experiences pain or distress that could be avoided is surely something that all people of goodwill can agree on and work to achieve.
"The mounting scientific evidence from around the world that unborn babies feel pain must be acknowledged and acted upon. Since the issue was last considered by the Dáil in 2018, more peer-reviewed evidence has come to light suggesting that unborn babies have the capacity to experience pain from 20 weeks and possibly much earlier," they said.
"The passage of the Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021 would not interfere with the functioning of the new abortion law. It would simply ensure that no unborn baby is exposed to additional pain and suffering that could have been avoided.
"It is now routine practice that unborn babies undergoing surgical procedures to address issues arising from a diagnosis of Spina bifida are given pain relief to ensure they feel no pain or distress during the procedure. Every unborn baby whose life is about to be ended at a similar gestational stage deserves, at a minimum, to receive the same relief from pain.
"It’s extraordinary to think that Ireland’s Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 obliges vets to give pain relief to an animal during any procedure that may cause it suffering or distress, yet no such provision exists in law for unborn babies during late-term abortions.
"It is totally unacceptable that the information about what the science is saying concerning foetal pain is being withheld from women before the abortion takes place. At present, in the UK, a woman who had an abortion at 23 weeks is pursuing a legal challenge on the basis that she was not informed before the abortion that her baby might feel pain.
"While in exceptional emergency cases it may not be practicable to give pain relief to an unborn child before a late-term abortion, we are of the view, based on scientific, ethical and humanitarian grounds, that such administration should be established as routine practice in the vast majority of late-term abortions.
"For the sake of unborn babies and everyone personally impacted by the abortion issue, it is time to put politics to one side and work together to make a small but merciful adjustment to the new law.
"In a spirit of friendship and respect, we will be engaging with and encouraging our Oireachtas colleagues to give their backing to the Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021."
While later sharing the news that she was co-sponsoring the Bill on Facebook, Deputy Nolan posted: "I honestly never thought I’d ever see the day in Ireland that myself and other politicians would be seeking to have pain relief for babies undergoing late-term abortions at 20 weeks provided for. What a sad, cruel and heartless nation we have become."
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