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Foetal Pain Relief Bill "humane and well-grounded proposal” say TDs

A cross-party group of TDs who are co-sponsoring a bill which would ensure pain relief is given to preborn babies in late-term abortion. 

"The 'Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021’ that we have co-sponsored is a humane and well-grounded proposal. We hope that a majority of our colleagues will support the bill when it comes before the Dáil for Second Stage debate at 10am today," the TDs said in a statement.

The sponsors of the Bill are Carol Nolan TD, Mattie McGrath TD Michael Collins TD,  Danny Healy-Rae TD, Michael Healy-Rae TD, Richard O’Donoghue TD, Peadar Tóibín TD,  Sean Canney TD, Éamon Ó Cuiv TD, Peter Fitzpatrick TD, Noel Grealish TD.

"As legislators, we cannot ignore the fact that the existing abortion law does not contain any provision to guarantee that, where possible, pain relief is given to an unborn baby prior to a late-term abortion," they said. 

"This is a wholly unacceptable situation given the mounting scientific evidence from around the world that unborn babies feel pain from 20 weeks and possibly considerably earlier."

"Ensuring that no baby ever experiences pain or suffering that could be avoided is something that all people of goodwill must surely agree on."

"The passage of the 'Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021' would not restrict the functioning of the new abortion law in any way. It would simply ensure that no unborn baby is exposed to unnecessary pain and suffering during the abortion procedure. "

"It is now accepted practice that unborn babies undergoing surgical procedures for things like Spina bifida are given pain relief to ensure they feel no pain or distress during the procedure. Every unborn baby whose life is being ended by abortion at a similar gestational stage deserves, at a minimum, to be given the same relief from pain and suffering. "

"Ireland’s Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 places an obligation on vets to give pain relief to an animal during any procedure that may cause it any degree of pain, yet no such provision exists in law for unborn babies during late-term abortions. This is a most extraordinary and unacceptable situation that must be rectified."

"Based on science, ethics and on humanitarian grounds, we believe that the administration of pain relief should become routine practice before late-term abortions and that provision should be made in the law to ensure this happens." 

"Out of respect for unborn babies and everyone personally impacted by the abortion issue, it is time to put politics to one side and work together to make a small but merciful adjustment to the new law that seeks to do nothing more than alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering. " 

"In a spirit of friendship, we will be engaging with our Oireachtas colleagues and encouraging them to support our bill when it comes before the Dáil on today at Second Stage."

Foetal Pain Relief Bill
Explanatory Memorandum



How they voted

The following motion was moved by Deputy Carol Nolan on 15 December 2021: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “That” and substitute the following:

“Dáil Éireann declines to give the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021 a second reading in order to allow for the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 to conclude and for its recommendations to be considered.”

(Minister for Health)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to Second Stage of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) (Foetal Pain Relief) Bill 2021, taken on Wednesday, 15 December 2021. On the question, "That the amendment to the motion be made", a division was claimed and in accordance with Standing Order 80(2) that division must be taken now.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."


  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Barry, Mick
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard
  • Brady, John
  • Brophy, Colm
  • Browne, James
  • Browne, Martin
  • Bruton, Richard
  • Buckley, Pat
  • Burke, Colm
  • Burke, Peter
  • Cairns, Holly
  • Carey, Joe
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer
  • Carthy, Matt
  • Chambers, Jack
  • Clarke, Sorca
  • Collins, Joan
  • Collins, Niall
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose
  • Costello, Patrick
  • Coveney, Simon
  • Cowen, Barry
  • Creed, Michael
  • Cronin, Réada
  • Crowe, Seán
  • Cullinane, David
  • Daly, Pa
  • Donnelly, Paul
  • Donnelly, Stephen
  • Donohoe, Paschal
  • Duffy, Francis Noel
  • Durkan, Bernard J
  • Ellis, Dessie
  • Farrell, Alan
  • Farrell, Mairéad
  • Feighan, Frankie
  • Flanagan, Charles
  • Fleming, Sean
  • Foley, Norma
  • Gannon, Gary
  • Gould, Thomas
  • Griffin, Brendan
  • Guirke, Johnny
  • Harris, Simon
  • Heydon, Martin
  • Higgins, Emer
  • Hourigan, Neasa
  • Howlin, Brendan
  • Humphreys, Heather
  • Kehoe, Paul
  • Kenny, Gino
  • Kenny, Martin
  • Kerrane, Claire
  • Lahart, John
  • Lawless, James
  • Leddin, Brian
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig
  • Martin, Catherine
  • Matthews, Steven
  • McAuliffe, Paul
  • McConalogue, Charlie
  • McEntee, Helen
  • McGrath, Michael
  • McHugh, Joe
  • Mitchell, Denise
  • Munster, Imelda
  • Murphy, Catherine
  • Murphy, Paul
  • Mythen, Johnny
  • Nash, Ged
  • Naughton, Hildegarde
  • Noonan, Malcolm
  • O'Brien, Darragh
  • O'Brien, Joe
  • O'Callaghan, Cian
  • O'Callaghan, Jim
  • O'Connor, James
  • O'Donnell, Kieran
  • O'Donovan, Patrick
  • O'Dowd, Fergus
  • O'Gorman, Roderic
  • O'Reilly, Louise
  • O'Rourke, Darren
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher
  • Ó Broin, Eoin
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus
  • Pringle, Thomas
  • Quinlivan, Maurice
  • Rabbitte, Anne
  • Richmond, Neale
  • Ryan, Patricia
  • Shortall, Róisín
  • Smith, Bríd
  • Smith, Duncan
  • Smyth, Ossian
  • Stanley, Brian
  • Stanton, David
  • Troy, Robert
  • Tully, Pauline
  • Varadkar, Leo
  • Ward, Mark
  • Whitmore, Jennifer




  • Berry, Cathal
  • Butler, Mary
  • Cahill, Jackie
  • Calleary, Dara
  • Canney, Seán
  • Cannon, Ciarán
  • Collins, Michael
  • Crowe, Cathal
  • Devlin, Cormac
  • Dillon, Alan
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter
  • Grealish, Noel
  • Harkin, Marian
  • Haughey, Seán
  • Healy-Rae, Danny
  • Healy-Rae, Michael
  • Lowry, Michael
  • MacSharry, Marc
  • McGrath, Mattie
  • McGuinness, John
  • Moynihan, Aindrias
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer
  • Murphy, Verona
  • Naughten, Denis
  • Nolan, Carol
  • O'Dea, Willie
  • O'Donoghue, Richard
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon
  • Phelan, John Paul
  • Ring, Michael
  • Shanahan, Matt
  • Smith, Brendan
  • Smyth, Niamh
  • Tóibín, Peadar