Several TDs demanded answers from the Government after a report indicated that babies who survive late-term abortions in Ireland are being left to die without receiving medical care.
They also pushed the Government to ensure that babies undergoing late-term abortions would be given pain relief.
In the absence of the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Frankie Feighan, did not directly answer the question. Instead he said that the purpose of the abortion law is to govern “access to termination of pregnancy in Ireland. It is not to dictate the practice of obstetrics
or of medicine more generally”.
Carol Nolan TD said his response was “disappointing” as “the Minister of State has not dealt with anything we raised here”.
Deputy Seán Canney said the Minister “dodged the questions”.
The leader of Aontu, Peadar Tóibín said the hundreds of words spoken by the Junior Minister “add up to nothing”.
“They mean business as usual. It means that a boy or girl who survives abortion, who is a citizen of this country at this stage, is allowed to expire, potentially, with no palliative care whatsoever or no effort to protect his or her life. For the Minister of State to come in and give that complete non-answer to such a shocking humanitarian situation in this country is so hard to listen to”.
A recent paper
based on interviews with ten doctors who carry out abortions in Ireland indicated that sometimes babies have been born alive after a termination.