'The greatest protector of a pregnancy is not you, Deputy Healy Rae': Heated exchanges during Dáil abortion debate




The proposed abortion legislation continues to make its way through the Dáil at a snail's pace.

TDs are debating more than 60 amendments to the proposed legislation.

There have been testy scenes in the Dáil today as TDs continue to debate proposed new abortion laws.

It is the third session this week where Deputies have been discussing amendments to the government's plans.

Pro-life deputies have been accused of trying to delay the laws that would allow abortions to be carried out in Ireland.

Tipperary's Mattie McGrath says Minister Simon Harris cannot be trusted with this.

"How can we expect to believe anything he says or anything this government said on this because many of his colleagues as well got elected on this same stance...that's all fine if that's the way they want to deal with it," said Mr McGrath.

But some of us have credibility, some of us have accountability, some of us have a conscience and want to keep it and we're not twisting and turning to suit the political times.

Meanwhile, Minister Harris hit out at some of the proposals being brought by rural TDs.

"This amendment would effectively render the 12 weeks provision in the act inoperable," Minister Harris said of a proposal brought by Michael Healy Rae.

'The greatest protector of a pregnancy is not you, Deputy Healy Rae': Heated exchanges during Dáil abortion debate

"Perhaps that is what you would like to do but it's not what the people voted to do.

"The greatest protector of a pregnancy is not you, Deputy Healy Rae. It is a pregnant woman.

Women protect their pregnancies day-in, day-out. They will continue to do that long after the Eighth amendment is repealed.

"This would make the legislation inoperable."

Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan gave an emotional plea for progress and says the opposition needs to think about the women affected.

"I would plead with members who are regurgitating what went on before the referendum and in the course of the referendum, we were given a responsibility," said Deputy Durkan.

"We should stand up to that responsibility now, carry that responsibility and recognise that we have a job to do and do it."

But Independent TD Peadar Tóibín says the criticism is an attempt to shut down debate.

"We're a couple of minutes into the debate again tonight and the name-calling starts," said Mr Tóibín.

Just two nights ago we had a Deputy that was forced to tears due to the aggression that was in the particular chamber.

"Character assassination, sneering and calling names is not political debate.

"It's an effort to close down debate and it is an effort to censor and we should stop."

Digital Desk

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