Reilly proposes minor changes to abortion bill
Health Minister Dr James Reilly has dashed the hopes of pro-life Fine Gael TDs by proposing only minor changes to his abortion bill.
He has put forward 17 amendments to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, which will be dealt with after the Dail’s first vote on the abortion bill later today.
But Dr Reilly has not submitted any amendment to rule out allowing women to get an abortion if they are suicidal, in a move which will disappoint pro-life Fine Gael TDs. Many of them –such as Junior Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton - are holding off from voting against the bill in the hope that it will be amended by Dr Reilly.
But his proposed amendments are largely technical in nature, with minor changes to the wording and the ordering of paragraphs in the bill.
However, one of Dr Reilly’s amendments promises to publish an annual report before June 30 each year in the Dail and Seanad on the number of abortions being carried out. This is a stronger commitment than in the current bill, which merely states he will publish a report before that date.
Opposition TDs such as Independent Seamus Healy have submitted amendments calling for abortion to be allowed in cases where an unborn baby has no chance of survival – known as fatal foetal abnormalities. But these are likely to be rejected by the Government
The Dail is due to vote on the second stage of the abortion bill at 5pm today, with four Fine Gael TDs – Brian Walsh, Terence Flanagan, Billy Timmins and Peter Mathews – expected to vote against it. The bill will then be sent to the Oireachtas Health committee, which will begin debating and voting on the amendments until 9.15pm tonight and will resume its work tomorrow.