On Wednesday in Dáil Éireann, Wexford TD’s Johnny Mythen and Brendan Howlin voted to reject a bill which aimed to ensure that foetal pain relief would be administered under certain conditions during an abortion procedure.
The government parties offered their TD’s a free vote on the issue. In other words, although the government were opposing the Bill, there would not be any repercussions for government TD’s who supported the Bill.
The main section in the Bill was to add the following to the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018, as follows:
Administration of anaesthetic or analgesic to foetus
12A. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where—
(a) there are reasonable grounds for believing that the pregnancy
concerned may have reached or exceeded 20 weeks of pregnancy,
(b) it is otherwise likely that pain would be caused to the foetus during
or arising from the termination of pregnancy concerned if this
subsection were not complied with, the medical practitioner who is to carry out the termination of pregnancy shall administer or cause to be administered to the foetus an appropriate anaesthetic or analgesic so as to prevent or relieve as far as practicable any pain being caused to the foetus during or arising from the termination of pregnancy.
In response to this, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, brought forward an amendment to reject the Bill. The amendment read as follows:
“Dáil Éireann declines to give the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021 a second reading in order to allow for the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 to conclude and for its recommendations to be considered.”
The amendment was put to a vote, where local TD’s Brendan Howlin and Johnny Mythen voted to reject the Foetal Pain Relief Bill.
Deputies James Browne and Verona Murphy voted against rejecting the Bill, and therefore implying their support for it, while Paul Kehoe abstained.
The government amendment to reject the Bill was passed by a vote of 103-37
Full details of the vote can be found here: Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021: Second Stage (Resumed) – EDITVotes – Dáil Éireann (33rd Dáil) – 2021-12-15 – Houses of the Oireachtas