Fatal Foetal Abnormality Amendment falls 59 to 40.

Late last night the Assembly voted down an amendment proposed by Stewart Dickson and Trevor Lunn to allow a termination in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

Here is a link so you can seek how each MLA voted on this issue, but here are some interesting votes.

In terms of party leaders,  Arlene Foster, Colum Eastwood and Jim Allister all voted no.

Martin McGuinness, Steven Agnew, David Ford and Mike Nesbitt voted for the amendment.

Only the DUP (against) and Sinn Fein (for) had all of their MLAs voting as one bloc.

The SDLP, who are against, saw Claire Hanna abstain on the motion, the rest voted against.

Likewise, Alliance who have a free vote, saw Kieran McCarthy abstain on the motion, the rest voted for.

The UUP also have a free vote, saw Nesbitt, Andy Allen, Michael McGimpsey vote for.


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  • Dan

    What a start for the new First Minster.
    She’s entirely content that women in extreme distress must get on a plane to England for treatment.

  • the keep

    Not much love or compassion to the women who are faced with this desperate situation.

  • Graham Parsons

    Well done Colum Eastwood. You can tell what someone is like by the company they keep.

  • sadie

    Truly shocking and unbelievable. Its 2016 and these politicians have not got a clue about the reality of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, never mind FFA. Their decisions have nothing. to do what is wise, compassionate and fair. Their actions continue the cycle of worry., hardship, indequality, that is the reality for those to whom they are supposed to have a duty of care.

  • Zorin001

    Shameful comments from Jim Allister in relation to rape and sexual abuse.

    The past few days has made it far too easy to believe that parts of our political establishment have deep seated issues in regards to woman.

  • jm

    Would a free vote have changed the result? Very depressing outcome.

  • npbinni

    It amazes me how many people want to create an environment where, ultimately, abortion will be used virtually as birth control to avoid inconvenience. Thankfully this ‘thin edge of the wedge’ action has failed and unborn babies are still well protected in Northern Ireland.

  • Simon Salter

    Unfortunately unborn babies are not well protected in Northern Ireland. We have some of the highest stillbirth and neonatal death statistics in Europe. What are our politicians and campaigners doing about this?

    It may be added that a lot of campaigners who categorize themselves as pro-lifers stop caring about the babies, parents and families once the abortion question is answered. Unfortunately the care in Northern Ireland for parents who suffer the loss of their babies is totally unacceptable. I hear nothing about having a bereavement midwife in EVERY maternity ward. Nothing mentioned about having a bereavement suite in EVERY maternity ward where the parents don’t have to listen to the crying of perfectly healthy babies. The standard of most quiet rooms is an absolute joke. Having postmortem results in the same place as your twenty week scan with expecting parents is unacceptable. Why do pro-lifers not mention any of this?

    As for parents who find out their precious baby is servery ill and will be lucky to survive to birth, the treatment they are given is a joke. They are scheduled for a weekly scan to see if the baby is alive. Each week going in to hospital for their scans with other healthy parents, knowing their baby is suffering inside them. Thy psychological impact of this i’m told is unbearable. If the baby does survive to birth she or he will die soon after. Her mum is the life-support machine and unfortunately giving birth will be like turning off the babies life-support machine resulting in death. Why do we want to prolong the suffering of both the parents and baby? Who is benefiting from our existing abortion procedures?

  • Charlie Farlie

    Very disheartening to see Claire Hanna abstain. The SDLP are no more turning over a new leaf than Donald Trump is. She obviously disagreed with party policy on this but took no action on it. Abstention is the utility choice of the cowardly, or the coerced mechanism of party dictators. Either way – not good!

  • Séamus

    SDLP – “progressive nationalism” my arse.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think the absence of these facilities should be blamed on pro-life, as some pro-life supporters do provide these services as do some pro-choice supporters, I’d imagine both sides of that argument are concerned at this disparity but having opinions one way or the other isn’t doing any actions to rectify the matter.

    No one chooses a miscarriage, and life is more than dying naturally.

  • Shar

    “Around a third of women
    having abortions have had a previous procedure – similar to other
    countries where women have had access to legal abortions across their
    lifetimes. Women are fertile for up to 4 decades so it is unsurprising
    that over those years some will face an unplanned pregnancy, or a
    pregnancy they cannot carry to term on more than one occasion.”

    See for the numbers: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/report-on-abortion-statistics-in-england-and-wales-for-2013

  • Croiteir

    A tragedy for the woman and an absolute disaster for her child(ren)

  • Croiteir

    Marie Stopes and other providers do well enough I believe

  • Croiteir

    What the child? I would have thought that is also deserves car not death.

  • Croiteir

    I am sure that he does not. That is a shameful accusation.

  • Croiteir

    I am glad that the progressive policies promised by the SDLP are bearing good fruit. It would be awful if we started to slip back to the regressive barbarity that existed before the unborn child was protected. Good to see the regressive policies of the anti-life brigade has been defeated

  • Shar

    I’m from the school of thought where the already-existing, fully-formed human being is of more importance than the potential human, within the current timescales supported within the rest of the UK.

    Keeping a woman pregnant against her will is inhuman torture. Keeping a woman pregnant with a foetus that is only going to result in a dead baby, is inhuman torture. I read today of a woman whose mother spent 6 months in a mental health unit after carrying to full term a foetus with FFA. The non-viable baby took 9 days to die, and the woman said enduring that torment almost destroyed her parents. As it was, it haunted them for the rest of their lives.

    You want tragedy. There’s tragedy for you.

  • Simon Salter

    Sorry Keven i’m confused by your answer. The services in question can only be provided by the NHS, not charities.

    I was questioning the severe lack of attention given to the aftercare and why some believe unborn babies are still well protected considering we have some of the worst statistics in Europe.

  • Korhomme

    When you say, “thin edge of the wedge” what exactly do you mean? And why?

  • Graham Parsons

    I’m pro-IVF. Does that make me pro-life? Are you anti-IVF?

    How do the god botherers up on the hill rationalise their support for IVF and their opposition to abortion?

  • Korhomme

    Before the 1861 Offences against the Person, and even before that, the churches didn’t condemn abortion before ‘quickening’, the time of ‘ensoulment’. When was this golden age when all unborn children were protected?

  • Zorin001

    I think it would be a lot tighter though probably still the same result.

    I’ve no doubt that there are a number of MLA’s in both the SDLP and DUP you would vote Yes in a free vote but worry about the backlash come election time, Mike Nesbitt is right that the working group is simply an obvious attempt to kick the issue into the long grass till after the elections.

  • hugh mccloy

    it went to a democactic vote, who has the problem with this ?

  • Graham Parsons

    If the SDLP weren’t finished before this they certainly are now. SF not much better on this issue either. The rise of Corbyn and Sanders shows that the electorate has had enough of the triangulation b.s. that forms much of today’s politics.

    This is the opportunity for a socialist, progressive N.I. Party that appeals to both communities and especially the younger electorate. Hopefully the greens or Labour can grasp the opportunity.

  • Croiteir

    Whenever the science told the Church life began, ie, at the quickening. Still the same today as ever. Not sure about Golden age though.

  • Croiteir

    Why not ask them?

  • Croiteir

    I am of the opinion both are important.
    Allowing someone to rip apart or destroy the child in the womb is real physical torture, and totally inhuman. There is no medical condition as FFA, many who get this diagnoses go on to live, like the example of the child on Nolan who is now 8 years old.

  • Korhomme

    I don’t think a Golden Age ever existed – it was sort of suggested in your original comment.

    As for the ‘beginning of life’, well that is really a can of worms. Another time, perhaps.

  • Graham Parsons

    What about you? Still waiting on your answer.

  • Croiteir

    No – I don’t

  • Graham Parsons

    At long last. So you’d be happy for your son or daughter to miss out on the chance of family?

    Why are the pro lifers not picketing IVF clinics? There are a lot more “babies” getting aborted there.

  • Shar

    “One of the most inflammatory arguments against abortion is rooted in the assertion that the foetus can feel pain, and that termination is therefore a brutal affair. This is extremely unlikely to be true. A foetus in the early stages of development lacks the developed nervous system and brain to feel pain or even be aware of their surroundings. The neuroanatomical apparatus required for pain and sensation is not complete until about 26 weeks into pregnancy. As the upper limit worldwide for termination is 24 weeks, and the vast majority of pregnancies are terminated well before this (most in the first 9 weeks in the UK), the question of foetal pain is a complete red herring. This is reflected in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’s report on foetal pain, which concludes “… existing data suggests that cortical processing and therefore foetal perception of pain cannot occur before 24 weeks of gestation”.

    Despite its complete lack of veracity, this myth remains a powerful one, and in several US states legislation dictates that doctors can be fined for not warning women that the foetus might experience pain, despite the scientific advice suggesting “proposals to inform women seeking abortions of the potential for pain in foetuses are not supported by evidence. Legal or clinical mandates for interventions to prevent such pain are scientifically unsound and may expose women to inappropriate interventions, risks, and distress.” https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/aug/12/five-main-anti-abortion-arguments-examined

    And what about the women whose health is threatened by pregnancy? What about the woman who doesn’t want to spend 6 months carrying a foetus she knows is going to result in a dead baby? What about the woman at risk of going blind due to her pregnancy? Listen to these women http://www.fpa.org.uk/abortion-in-northern-ireland/video-stories and think again about torture.

  • Croiteir

    Never mentioned it – nor did I allude to it.

  • Croiteir

    No – I would not be happy. And I agree with your second line. But I suppose they do what they can.

  • Korhomme

    It would be awful if we started to slip back to the regressive barbarity that existed before the unborn child was protected.

    Doesn’t that rather suggest that there is/was a “Golden Age” after protection of the unborn?

    But, don’t lets quibble over details.

  • Brendan Heading

    the SDLP are unlikely to be finished. They behaved as they did because they think a lot of people support them, or at least will support them irrespective, and for the most part they’re right. Nothing changes overnight in this place.

    [I should clarify that I think the SDLP’s failure to review their policy on this matter at least is a serious mistake, and they’ll eventually end up paying for it.]

  • Dominic Hendron

    “The non viable baby took nine days to die”

  • Shar

    “and the woman said enduring that torment almost destroyed her parents. As it was, it haunted them for the rest of their lives.”

    Those weren’t 9 joyful days filled with cuddles and happy baby photos for future comfort. Those were 9 days of torture for a baby that had no chance of life, and a lifetime of torment for its parents.

    If the parents choose it, having those 9 days are an important time for them to have. I don’t think bringing a baby into the world to have a 9 day life of pain and inevitable death is something every parent would choose. But choice is important here. They should have the right to choose to continue with the pregnancy if they want. And they should have the right not to continue with it.

  • PeterBrown

    Which comments?

  • Cosmo

    As regards the ‘good old days’…..In the 19thc, the taboo against illegitimacy and abortion in Ireland was indeed very great and the records are that there were far fewer proportionately than in 19thc France, for example, where historians (Cambridge Economic History of Europe) estimate as many children were aborted as born. However, on the other hand, the indicators (unmarked graves etc) for Ireland was that resorting to infanticide (by the desperate) was very much more commonly practiced.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I was referring to NHS workers.

  • Cosmo

    What you’ve got to understand Shar, is that the pain you are describing is probably encouragement to some of these so called pro-lifers, who operate on principle, rather than evidence. As in truth they really rather relish the idea of the women suffering.

  • Dominic Hendron

    Still strikes me as a callous attitude to have regarding what I consider to be a fellow human being, also, indicative of a desensitization to the suffering of the other

  • eireanne3

    sorry Shar – I posted something which came up addressed to you for some reason – have cancelled it now – fully agree with your position and arguments.

    Am appalled at the lack of compassion exhibited by our MLAs as well as their inability to understand that neither church nor State have a right to decide what women do with their own bodies

  • eireanne3

    here’s a little info about the history of abortion from greek and roman times, to 19th century england (NI today!!) and later https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/abortion-on-demand-now/

  • Korhomme

    Thanks for that.

    However, in the US today many states are introducing all sorts of irrelevant hurdles to accessing abortion.

    Further, it’s now possible to donate to an organisation which assists women in Ireland to access an abortion in GB. Are such donors now liable to prosecution for ‘assisting the procurement’ of an abortion??

  • murdockp

    Here is a real scenario that could be played out for all the ‘no’ voters and I wonder what they would do to resolve the matter.

    A close family relative is brutally and violently attacked and gang raped thankfully the perpetrators have been caught and are awaiting trial.

    The victim then discovers that she has become pregnant as a result of the rape and is in considerable emotional distress as a result of such devastating news whist she also has to recover from the physical and physiological abuse she has just suffered following the rape and also has to contend with being the key witness at a forthcoming trial.

    All those who voted ‘no’ in this debate are clearly stating that it is right that the woman carries this embryo until it grows into a baby and subsequently born into this world and they believe this to be a reasonable position to take.

    My personal view is that there is no right and wrong answer to this, but the woman should have the right to choose what is right for them as going full term with a rapists child growing inside your body is not a choice most people would make however I am willing to accept some women will make such a decision.

    The question I would simply ask any of the no voters is what would they actually do in real life if the above event happen to them?

    I would moot that most would support the woman quietly going to England and have an abortion.

    The result of the vote saddens me as to how backward we have become.

  • murdockp

    so a rapists child is an ‘inconvenience’, a word we use when we go to the local shop for a pint of milk and discover the shop is closed and we say ‘how inconvenient’

  • murdockp

    Democratic is one word for it.

    But these people are representatives of their constituents and should have been out there listening to people and voting in accordance with the feeling on the ground.

    They mostly followed party lines which is not democracy in my book.

  • Shar

    I can find no compassion in your words towards the suffering of the women in these situations, just disregard for them in favour of the foetus.

  • Dominic Hendron

    That interpretation suits you but don’t imagine it describes me because you know nothing about me

  • Croiteir

    No – let us quibble – especially when you put words in my mouth in order to create a target.
    It suggest nothing of the sort.

  • Korhomme

    Croiteir, I think I misunderstood your original comment; mea culpa, my apologies.

  • Cosmo

    well said. these politicians are not giving leadership and representation of public (personal) feeling. Sadly they are giving in to being bullied by a vociferous, disruptive minority, with views rooted in mysogny, who, like the Taliban, wish to impose their rules around women’s bodies.