Remarks by Senator Rónan Mullen following this evening’s news that President Michael D Higgins has signed the Government’s abortion legislation into law:
“The abortion legislation signed into law this evening by President Higgins will likely result in thousands more human beings having their lives ended by abortion than would have been the case if this law have not passed. And yet, there are senior members of the Government and others celebrating the event.
“It is tragic and distressing to see a law designed to destroy innocent human life falsely presented as ‘healthcare’ and as evidence of a more ‘compassionate’ Ireland.
“No Government minister can or will argue for a second that the net result of this new law will be more lives saved than ended. Nobody believes that. This new law has a single purpose – to facilitate ending the lives of unborn babies on extremely wide-ranging grounds.
“So rather than being a moment for celebration, the enactment of this unjust legislation is a crisis for our democracy and for genuine human rights. It represents a tragic reversal of Ireland’s proud history of defending human life and the unique and irreplaceable value of every person, born and unborn.
“The Government’s refusal to consider even modest amendments to the legislation does, however, provide the basis for future struggles to change this unjust law. Babies being aborted ought to receive precautionary pain relief. They should be guaranteed protection if they are born alive after the procedure. And the victims of surgical abortion should have their remains treated with respect for their human dignity. These concessions were urged in the Dáil and Seanad. They would have been small compensation, of course, for the injustice of having one’s life taken away. But the refusal of the Government to even consider these concessions demonstrates the callousness at the highest level of our national decision-making.
“The work is already begun to alert people to this situation and to bring about a day when our law once again promotes solidarity between men and women, adults and children.
“In the meantime, the law may promote a fictitious “right to choose“, but it is up to people of goodwill to help others “choose what is right”. That means standing up for the right of unborn babies to live, but also accompanying women and men who feel unable to cope with the news of pregnancy yet who, with compassion and practical support, can make the better choice of giving and cherishing life. This is work that can unite No voters and Yes voters alike. While we disagree on whether abortion should ever be legal, let us all work to minimise recourse to this tragic and irreversible solution to a human dilemma.
“As we face into the Christmas season, a time when people’s thoughts turn to the story of a vulnerable family and child, let’s remember that just as injustice is indivisible, so also is solidarity. A focus on climate change, animal welfare and various other humanitarian causes, is welcome and good in itself. But it is hypocritical and self-defeating if there is not solidarity with the most vulnerable of our own species. Abortion steals our future. There is no true justice while it remains legal.”