The Government won the latest vote on the abortion bill by 33 votes to 14 rejecting all opposition attempts to remove the section allowing abortion on the grounds of suicide from the proposed legislation. Interestingly the numbers imply that there were 12 abstentions as there are currently 59 Senators , Dr Martin McAleese having resigned
Having disposed of the committee stage of the abortion bill, the Seanad is due to discuss the report and final stage of the bill next Monday and Tuesday. The bill is then due to go to President Michael D Higgins either for signature into Irish law or referral to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.
There was major controversy during the debate where Fianna Fail Senators Jim Walsh and Brian O Domhnaill gave graphic descriptions of some abortion methods.
Walsh described a late-term abortion could involve the baby's legs being taken out, having a scissors jammed into its skull and a tube inserted to suck out its brains.
O Domhnaill also read out descriptions of an aborted foetus being taken apart in the womb and brought out bit by bit.
Needless to say the pr-abortion lobby and the pro-abortion media were loud in their condemnation
In what seems to be an ever widening rift in Fiann Fail, Party leader Micheal Martin distanced himself from Walsh and O Domhnaill saying there was a need to show respect and to avoid the use of emotive and provocative language. "It is a source of regret that some contributions, including from within my own party, have fallen short of that standard," he said.
It seems that TD’s and Senators can vote for the killing of babies but are horrified at the thought of being told how it is done, surely this is the height of hypocrisy
Health Minister Dr James Reilly insisted that the graphic abortion methods described by Senator Walsh were not in use and would not be drawn on the specifics of the methods of termination/abortion permitted.
There was an attempt on the Fine Gael side to claim that the most gruesome methods were a thing of the past, but Senator Walsh told the Senate that he had consulted obstetrician-gynaecologists the previous day and that they agreed with his description.