The first vote on Ireland’s pro-abortion legislation took place on Tuesday July 2nd. The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill passed its first hurdle by 138 votes to 24 with both cross-party support and cross-party opposition, allowing the bill to move to committee stage during which amendmentswill now be considered.
The initial numbers were not encouraging from a pro-life perspective with 138 deputies supporting the pro-abortion legislation and only 24 voting against it.
It now appears that the only possibilities for halting this juggernaut are either a major change of heart or a successful legal challenge.
Four Fine Gael TDs voted against the legislation for reasons of conscientious objection with up to six more poised to do so if suitable amendments are not accepted during the upcoming stages if the Bill.
The four Fine Gael deputies who voted against the bill now face expulsion from the parliamentary party and removal from the committees on which they serve.
Thirteen Fianna Fáil TDs out of a total of 19 voted against the bill – they were the only party allowed a free vote. The party leader Micheal Martin was in a minority on the issue raising question marks about his leadership.
Just one Sinn Féin TD voted against the bill, Peadar Tóibín, who had previously voiced the fact he did not support the bill. Six independent TD’s also opposed the bill.
The legislation is now before the Health Committee where members will be able to table amendments, 89 of which have already been published, before the bill returns to the Dáil at some stage next week.