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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Bill to change the penalty for an abortion to a €1 fine defeated by government

The government won the vote easily with a margin of over 50.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A BILL PUT forward by AAA-PBP TD Bríd Smith to change the penalty for an abortion to a €1 fine has been defeated in the Dáil this evening.

Currently the penalty for a woman in Ireland who procures an abortion is 14 years in prison, but the Dublin South Central TD had sought to change that to just a €1 fine.

The bill was voted down by a large majority, with 81 votes against the proposals to 26 for, with 22 abstentions.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone voted with the government in rejecting the €1 fine.

It is understood that she had sought advice and was informed by the Attorney General that the bill, if passed, would be subject to a successful legal challenge on the basis it was unconstitutional.

The issue was debated in the Dáil on Tuesday. Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said: “Due to the gravity of the crime, the intentional destruction of unborn human life, and the constitutional protection for the unborn, a maximum of 14 years in prison is considered an appropriate penalty.”

Ruth Coppinger TD called this statement “outrageous” and asked the minister if she “felt embarrassed reading that”.

Smith had claimed that the revelations about the Tuam mother and baby home had reinforced the need for action to be taken on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

Today, women in Ireland are still treated as second class citizens and the barbaric sentence of 14 years imprisonment for accessing an abortion here is a shocking example of this. The Church and the State continue to dictate that women are not allowed to make their own choices as to whether to have children or not.

Yesterday, thousands took to the streets in Dublin and across the country to call for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Read: Repeal protests attract thousands to the streets of Dublin

Read: ‘Get out of our lives’: Call for abortion penalty to be reduced to €1 fine

About the author:

Sean Murray

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