Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Simon Harris opens Eighth Amendment Dáil debate with passionate speech

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly 'humbled' by party members who approached him about running Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly 'humbled' by party members who approached him about running
Patty Aguilar | 18 January, 2018, 21:20

The Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has backed repealing the 8th amendment.

Mr Martin said abortion is a present and permanent part of life. Martin's statement has been welcomed by Repeal campaigners who are now calling on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to state his position.

As the debates got under way, anti-abortion and pro-choice groups gathered outside Leinster House.

He said that after a long period of reflection he felt the Eighth Amendment should be repealed.

He added that Mr Woulfe would have to examine that. "And each involves a real woman facing a very hard, and very personal decision".

He said that for many travelling overseas for an abortion "a crisis can become a deep and hidden trauma". "If it is the sad reality that we have been exporting this issue, are we now accepting that women must import their own solutions?"

"So why upset people, why cause undue annoyance at this stage?"

Minister Harris listed off the number of women from each county in Ireland who travelled to the United Kingdom in 2016 for an abortion, and noted that an estimated 170,000 Irish women have travelled to other countries for abortions since 1980.

Dr Harty says we now face a dilemma between moral and medical aspects of the issue. Mr Harris told the Dail that he hoped for a referendum by late May.

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More TDs and Senators are giving their opinions on the recommendations.

"It is also not the case that where legal abortion is provided there is one worldwide approach to what is allowed".

Fine Gael's Hildegard Naughton stated that she considers herself to be pro-life but that after listening to the evidence on the 8th committee she realised that legalisation of abortion is the only practical way to ensure victims of rape and incest can access abortion services.

"In those intervening 35 years, 165,000 Irish women have travelled overseas for a termination - that's twice the capacity of Croke Park".

In a 20 minute contribution, he also spoke about "new realities" that mean some woman are having abortions in Ireland by taking pills bought over the internet.

There was a lot of talk about protecting women, however, PBP TD Brid Smith seemed astonished by the amount of "protection" the government had afforded from the Strike4Repeal protesters outside.

She said she didn't believe this stance made her "anti-life" and she would not allow herself to be categorised as such.

"If there are divergent views about managing changes to abortion law, let's discuss them".

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