People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, criticises regressive legislation for not allowing for abortion in case of fatal foetal abnormalities
In a statement, tonight, Richard Boyd Barrett TD announced that he will be voting No to The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. The People Before Profit TD has campaigned for a woman’s right to choose for decades and stated he “couldn’t, in all conscience, vote for this regressive bill “.
The bill criminalises women and doctors, does not provide for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities or rape and is so restrictive in the case of suicide that women and girls will continue to travel abroad.
The bill includes a legal definition of the unborn, for the first time ever. This definition states that the unborn is “a life ….. commencing after implantation in the womb of a woman and ending in the complete emergence of the life from the body of the woman”.
This definition precludes the availability of abortion for women with a foetus that is diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality and does not preclude a Savita scenario happening again.
The requirement for two psychiatrists and an obstetrician in the case of suicide places unnecessary obstacles in the way of distressed women
The inclusion of a 14 year sentence maintains the ‘chilling effect’ that puts women’s lives and health at risk.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “As a pro-choice TD it goes against the grain to vote against what purports to be legislation for X. This legislation will not ensure that X does not happen again, it places such enormous obstacles in the way of a woman who might find herself in X’s position that it is barely worth the paper it’s written on”
More worryingly it defines the unborn as being from ‘implantation… to complete emergence of the life from the body of the woman’. For pro-choice activists this is a step too far.
This definition also places a further block in the way of all of those who are campaigning to have terminations allowed in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.
Myself and other progressive TDs proposed a number of amendments that have all been shot down. It seems that this legislation is about protecting the life of Fine Gael and this government rather than the life of the women and girls who deserve equal rights to men and boys in this country.
It is no longer acceptable in the 21st century for women and girls to be discriminated against on the basis of gender. I will vote against this travesty of a bill tonight but I will not give up the fight for a woman’s right to choose – the campaign to repeal the 8th amendment begins today”.