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Amendment on fatal foetal abnormality rejected

The amendment was rejected by 124 votes to 19 – and one TD voted no by accident.

AN AMENDMENT TO the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 that would have allowed for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality has been rejected.

In total, 124 TDs voted against the amendment, while 19 supported its inclusion. The amendment, number 10 in the list of 165 amendments tabled by TDs, was tabled by Catherine Murphy, Seamus Healy, Mick Wallace, Richard Boyd Barrett, and Joe Higgins.

During the debate on the amendment, Health Minister James Reilly said he has received legal advice that the inclusion of the issue of fatal foetal abnormalities in the bill goes beyond the scope of the A, B, C vs Ireland case and so cannot be included.

An amendment on inevitable miscarriage was also defeated.

Labour’s Michael McNamara voted against the rejection of the amendment on fatal foetal abnormality – but it transpired the vote was a technical mistake.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this morning, Labour chief whip Emmet said that the deputy had assured him it was a technical mistake and that he fully supports the Government.

It is not possible to reverse the vote, but even it was reversed, it would not have an impact on the overall vote.

There will be no repercussions for the deputy due to the “genuine mistake”, said Stagg.

Voting

Richard Boyd Barrett was one of six pro-choice TDs who said they intend on voting against the bill. He said that key issues include the criminality clause, which he said maintains the stigma of criminalisation of women in tragic circumstances.

Another issue was the definition of the unborn as in the bill. He said that he and a number of other TDs had tabled an amendment with alternative wording on this, indicating that if the wording was different, he would not be voting against the bill.

Deputy Joe Higgins told the Dáil that provision for inevitable miscarriage should be included in this legislation. He also spoke of the need for legislating for fatal foetal abnormality.

During the discussion on fatal foetal abnormality, Junior Minister Alex White said he “comes with regret” to agree with Minister Alan Shatter’s accusation of political opportunism on the part of Deputy Boyd Barrett. He said he would take some convincing that “there isn’t an element of political opportunism”.

He said that in cases where it is clear that an element cannot be added to the bill, and people feel that the government is shirking the issue, he can’t understand why someone would take that view unless they were trying to derive some political advantage from the situation.

Deputy Boyd Barrett rejected the accusations of political opportunism.

Read: Dáil votes against first abortion bill suicide amendment>

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