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Which Senators are going to vote against the abortion bill?

Senators are due to make their first vote on the bill today. But which senators will be voting against it?

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

SENATORS WILL VOTE for the first time on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill today, with two senators expected to lose their place in Fine Gael as a result.

Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has confirmed her opposition to the legislation, while it is believed her party colleague Senator Paul Bradford is also doubtful about supporting the Bill.

Yesterday, Healy-Eames tabled an amendment to be heard today on the bill.

The Reasoned Amendment to the Motion for the second stage involves a “little used mechanism”. Healy-Eames said that this mechanism means the amendment will be voted on first.

She said she believed “it is important to continue to oppose the flawed grounds on which the bill is based”, and noted that senators Feargal Quinn and Mary Anne O’Brien had agreed to second the amendment.

The opposition is centred on the provision of a termination of pregnancy where there is a risk to the life of the mother involving suicide.

Her amendment for the Seanad to decline to give the bill a second reading states as one of the reasons:

The X Case judgment, correctly interpreted, does not create a binding precedent with respect to the application of the criterion for a lawful termination of pregnancy (ie the test of ‘real and substantial risk to the life of the mother’) to circumstances in which the risk to the life of the mother is one of suicide.

TheJournal.ie also understands that a large number of Fianna Fáil senators will oppose the bill – members of the party are allowed a free vote on the legislation without the threat of losing the party whip.

Senator Marc MacSharry of Fianna Fáil said yesterday that he was opposed to the bill, and told TheJournal.ie that he intends to vote against it due to the inclusion of the section pertaining to risk of suicide.

Just three out of the 14 Fianna Fáil senators confirmed they would support the legislation to date.

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen is expected to vote against the bill.

The leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad, Ivana Bacik, supports the legislation and has said she expects the bill to pass into law.

The bill will be debated until Thursday, with Friday set aside for discussion on other pieces of legislation. The first vote is likely to be held after 11.45am today.

The bill will move to committee stage tomorrow and Thursday, with the final stages of the legislation due to take place on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Read: The Seanad will spend most of this week debating the abortion legislation>

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