VIDEO : 'Foetal Pain Bill' in Irish Parliament seeks pain relief for unborn babies during late-term abortions

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Independent TD Carol Nolan has introduced the ‘Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021’ in the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) and is co-sponsored by ten other TDs will ensure that unborn babies during late-term abortions are given pain relief and that no baby dies experiencing excruciating pain or discomfort from the abortion procedure.

In recent months it has been confirmed that late-term abortions are taking place in Irish hospitals. The abortion legislation of 2018 contains no legal requirement for pain relief for the child in a late-term abortion.

The bill won’t end late-term abortions, but it will introduce a modicum of compassion towards unborn babies whose lives are being ended by abortion.

If passed, it will ensure that unborn babies are given pain relief before late-term abortions.

Medical and scientific evidence shows that unborn babies could feel pain at earlier gestations than was previously believed – and 100 late-term abortions are taking place each year, with no obligation for pain relief or the child.

Speaking in the Dáil when introducing the bill, Deputy Nolan said: “The infliction of unnecessary and avoidable pain on human beings – especially on those with no capacity to resist – is something all compassionate societies should seek to avoid.

She continued: “This brings me to the subject matter of the bill – the issue of pain felt by unborn children in the womb in the context of surgical abortion procedures. Medical science has known for some time that unborn babies can experience pain from 20 weeks gestation.

However, an increasing body of scientific research from about 2007 onwards has suggested that the brain and nervous system develop at a rate which means that unborn babies may feel pain as early as 13 weeks. The latest such study was published just last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics.”

In her concluding remarks to the Dáil, Deputy Nolan said that “as human beings, and as legislators” we cannot stand by and ignore the evidence that unborn babies feel pain.

The bill introduced at First Stage today was co-sponsored by the following TDs: Éamon Ó Cuív; Peadar Tóibín, Mattie McGrath, Peter Fitzpatrick, Sean Canney, Michael Collins, Michael Healy Rae, Danny Healy Rae, Noel Grealish and Richard O’Donoghue.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said that amendments brought forward in 2018 to ensure pain relief were voted down by TDs, but that this was a new opportunity to rectify that error.

“It is a very reasonable proposal seeking to inject some sort of mercy into a inhumane law. I have pro-choice friends who have said they agree with our Bill on pain relief, and I know from canvassing and campaigning that there are many people around the country who are deeply shocked to learn that in 2018 the government voted against an amendment which sought pain relief for the unborn. Currently for surgical procedures on an unborn child, pain relief is used. Even when operating on an animal in this country, the law states that pain relief must be used. Yet the law is silent in the case of an unborn child”.

He said that unborn babies were being injected with potassium chloride during late-term abortions and that was being swept under the carpet by the mainstream media.

“I would urge everyone to contact their local TDs and ask them to support this Bill”, added Deputy Tóibín.

Deputy Mattie McGrath said that the Bill proposed a very limited change to the 2018 Act, adding a new section which would go some way to ensure that children would not feel pain being aborted. “We do it for animals, surely we can do it for unborn children,.” he said.

West Cork TD Michael Collins said former Minister Simon Harris had previously told the Dáil that unborn children would not suffer. “Now we know that they do suffer,” he said. “Minister Harris should stand up before the Dáil and apologise to the country.”

Richard O’Donoghue TD said that the law should protect the unborn child and the mother and that no-one should feel pain during an abortion.

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