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DUBLIN, Ireland, December 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Irish senate passed a bill legalizing abortion on demand 27 to five Thursday.

The Seanad, or Senate, debated the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill for nine hours yesterday before it was passed. This was the last of the houses of Irish legislature to vote on the measure. After it is signed by Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, it will become law.  

The new law will permit abortion on demand for up to the 12th week of the unborn child’s life, to the age of “viability” if the child is believed to be a risk to the life or the “health” of his or her mother, and at any age if the child is at risk of having a “fetal abnormality” that could lead to his or her natural death before or within 28 days of birth.

Health Minister Simon Harris, who rejected all 63 submitted amendments to the bill, expressed satisfaction. He called the bill’s passage “a historic moment.”  

Nurses and Midwives for Ireland indicated, via press release, that this was a “stark” contrast to the Ohio senate’s passing this week of one of the most protective pro-life laws in the U.S.

“Yesterday in Ohio the Senate passed the heartbeat bill which bans abortion when a heartbeat is detected,” they observed. “Today in Ireland the Seanad passed the abortion bill which allows abortions up to birth and in the first 12 weeks without restriction.”

“Amendments on the exclusion of disability and sex as grounds for abortion, the administration of pain relief in late abortions, dignified disposal of remains, ultrasound prior to abortion, parental notification for children under 16, and freedom of conscience were rejected. The contrast could not be more stark,” they continued.

The group is concerned for the conscience rights of nurses, midwives, doctors, and pharmacists who choose not to participate in abortions. Five hundred pro-life nurses and midwives have attempted to meet with Harris and Leader of the Opposition Michéal Martin without success. Nurses and Midwives for Ireland say they were “continually ignored in the rush to usher in this extreme bill despite warnings about safety from obstetric colleagues.”

They are adamant that they will not commit abortions.

“We entered our professions to save lives[,] not to end them,” they stated.

“We will continue to care for our patients in a compassionate and committed manner but we will not participate in medical procedures intended to end the life of a 'foetus' which are morally objectionable and an affront to our beliefs on the sanctity of life.”

Simon Harris indicated on Twitter that he believes that the loneliness of problem pregnancies and the “stigma” of abortion will be erased by the new law.

“Just over 200 days ago, you, the people of Ireland voted to repeal the 8th so we could care for women with compassion,” he tweeted. “Today we have passed the law to make this a reality. A vote to end lonely journeys [to England or Scotland for abortions], end the stigma and support women’s choices in our own country.”

In response, a number of Twitter users took Harris to task for his complacency and accused him of neglecting his duty as Health Minister.

“You had a chance to put crisis pregnancies at the top of your agenda,” tweeted a woman named Mary. “To put every support in place to help. The loneliness will always be with a mother who thinks this is the only option she has. This crusade will prove in the future to have been the biggest mistake of your life.”

“Not sure why you’re claiming such a personal achievement in the people’s vote, whilst so many languish in misery in your health service, genuinely confused,” tweeted Toby.

“Think it might be more useful to end lonely journeys families face with their loved ones sick on hospital trolleys,” stated a young woman named Mae.  

The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution had asserted the right to life of both pregnant women and their unborn children. Over two-thirds of voters asked for its repeal during the May national referendum. After the results were announced, pro-life campaigners charged that many of those who voted for the repeal were misled as to its implications and that voters most likely to vote against the repeal, e.g. communities of nuns, found themselves deregistered for the vote.