‘The Task Of The Committee Will Be To Water Down These Proposals’

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RTÉ journalist David Davin Power on tonight’s Six One

Yesterday.

The Citizens’ Assembly voted by 52 votes to 29 (or 64 per cent) to allow access to the procedure with no restriction on reasons.

Of the 52 who voted for this access, 25 stated abortion should be available up to 12 weeks’ gestation, 23 voted for a 22-week limit, while four said there should be no restriction on gestational age.

Further to this.

Tonight, on RTÉ’s Six One news.

RTÉ journalist David Davin Power spoke to Sharon Ní Bheoláin about the results of yesterday’s Citizens’ Assembly.

Sharon Ní Bheoláin: “We’ve been kicking this can, this most difficult and contentious of issues down the road for decades, David. Has the time come where we’re finally going to deal with it?”

David Davin Power: “Sharon, we might be approaching the end game but, as always, the timing is critical. The first thing to say is that the very liberal package of recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly took people very much by surprise here. There was astonishment across all parties that they had recommended something that, it has to be said, is politically unsaleable.

“Only around 24% of the electorate, in the last comparable opinion poll, backed a regime that is that liberal. So, the task of this committee that will be meeting from June onwards is essentially to water down these proposals to the point that they’re not politically toxic. Because if these, if this package was put to the people, the view in Leinster House, certainly is, that it would surely fail.

“But, of course, the timing and the timescale is a problem because, with the best will in the world, this committee, if it sits in June and reports in September, if it works through the summer, there’ll be very limited legislative time. And the Dáil returns in October, we have the budget, we have the social welfare bill, so, effectively, the first time we could contemplate having any referendum on this is next year, maybe around April next year.”

“And, of course, that’s the time when you could be facing a general election, if the package between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil unravels. but one thing I have detected around Leinster House today is that there does seem to be, there does seem to be a will to crack on with this now. If only to make sure that the issue is disposed of before that general election but ultimately this will be a problem for a new Taoiseach and, potentially, a new Government.”

Abortion should be legal for all women, says Citizens’ Assembly (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Watch back here

82 thoughts on “‘The Task Of The Committee Will Be To Water Down These Proposals’

  1. Sheik Yahbouti

    No truer word, Mr Davin Power, no truer word. No doubt you’ll be reprimanded for such uncharacteristic plain speaking. That’s just not welcome.

        1. Brother Barnabas

          I haven’t yet dined – I am about to, but am still considering the options. Or I may just continue drinking.

          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            You’ve been dipping into the sacramental wine again, haven’t you?

            Anyway, it’s much too late for dinner. Carry on with the alcohol.

          2. Brother Barnabas

            in the end,I had a toasted sandwich (goats cheese, sundries tomatoes and onion) and a bottle of foam+fury. pleased me.

      1. jungleman

        He is repeating the opinion of his political pals in FG and FF but stating as fact that their expected future action following the CA’s proposals is an acceptable and reasonable inevitability. That to me indicates a bias on his part.

        1. rotide

          He’s a reporter. He is reporting the opinions of the TDs he has talked to. He is repeating as fact the voting percentages which appear to be to, fact.

          People on this website really have a hard time understanding what bias actually is.

          Saying that the commitees task is to water down the proposal is horrifyingly worrying in the extreme, but if thats what the politicians said is what they wanted to do, it’s not biased to report that fact.

          1. jungleman

            He states as fact specially what the task of the committee will be, as though it is pre-ordained. That’s not an opinion he is relaying. He is stating it as a FACT. Why has he taken this position if he is not in some way biased? You state below that the CA represents a wide spectrum of society but then accept the statistic that only 24% would favour the CA’s measures. A bit of consistency on your part would be welcome.

            “Politically toxic” my ass.

          2. rotide

            I think it’s a fairly reasonable jump to assume that the politicians that described the recommendations as “politically unsaleable” would want to water them down no?

            I ASSUMED below that the CA represents a spectrum.

            I accepted a statistic that “Only around 24% of the electorate, in the last comparable opinion poll, backed a regime that is that liberal”

            The two things are not exclusive.

          3. rotide

            Like, we’re on the same page here, I think its ridic that they want to change the proposals since I think the CA got it pretty spot on from what I’ve read. I’m just not into crucifying the messenger

          4. Happy Molloy

            people on this website refuse to believe anyone can have a different opinion to them without being a paid shill or a sociopath.

          5. mildred st. meadowlark

            I don’t believe I’ve ever accused anyone on this site of being a ‘shill’ dear.

            And I reckon the only person I’ve ever called a sociopath is Trump. And that bitch from school.

            The only person I can see acting like an idiot, however, is… you.

          6. Sheik Yahbouti

            For once, rotide, you and I agree. It IS horrifying, but is probably an accurate report.

          7. rotide

            If you can’t read printed words and understand what they mean, then I can’t be of any further help.

  2. MoyestWithExcitement

    “something that, it has to be said, is politically unsaleable.

    “Only around 24% of the electorate, in the last comparable opinion poll, backed a regime that is that liberal.”

    Only a commie hippy conspiracy theorist would say RTE is govt propaganda.

  3. rotide

    Surely the Citizen’s Assbembly was a broad spectrum of the people of Ireland?

    How can any politician consider this “politically unsaleable”?

    The issue was sent to a CA, They have their answers, now give us a referendum please.

    Side note, I find it incredible that this is the talking point rather than the CA’s finding.

    1. mildred st. meadowlark

      I agree.

      The CA have really done a great job of coming up with a solution that is very workable, while maintaining (imo) a respect for the life of a child, as enshrined in the constitution.

      Unless someone here was sitting on the CA, none of us can know how effective the speakers were.
      The proposed amendments are reasonable and neither too radical, nor too restrictive.

      If the government can actually follow through on this, they will be lauded for being one of the most forward thinking the country has seen since the foundation of the state, counting this and the marriage ref. And it gives me absolutely no pleasure to say that, considering the many, many failures they’ve accrued at the same time.

      1. newsjustin

        “The CA have really done a great job of coming up with a solution that is very workable, while maintaining (imo) a respect for the life of a child, as enshrined in the constitution.”

        I’m kind of baffled as to how what was recommended by the CA shows respect for the life of the child.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          You and I will disagree on this til the cows come home, I know, but it’s acknowledged that the foetus is not sentient in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is, at that stage, medically speaking a cluster of cells. By recommending that abortion be permitted up to this time seems reasonable (to me), and acknowledges the fact that once the foetus begins to develop beyond that, it is a sentient being with a right to life. I don’t know if I’m expressing myself well here, tbh. As it is, those first twelve weeks are when the pregnancy is most at risk and when most miscarriages occur.

          1. newsjustin

            OK. So you’re saying they’re showing respect for the life of the child by not killing it when it might be aware of things.

            I don’t accept that. It’s not showing respect for the life of the child, clearly. At best, it’s a fig-leaf to convince us ending the life is somehow OK.

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            No, that’s not what I’m saying.

            Abortion is something that will happen, whether you want it to or not. It is an unpleasant fact of life. And yes, it is ending a life. Or rather, a potential life.

            At that stage of life, the first three months of pregnancy, the foetus is only developing, it is a cluster of cells. It is widely acknowledged that the foetus is not sentient at that stage. And as I said, it is when most miscarriages occur, because that is when the foetus is at its least stable, when the pregnancy is at greatest risk of being lost.

            I can see why you feel that there is something inherently wrong with ending a life, or a potential one. But you have to be aware that forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy against her wishes, denying her freedom and choice, is equally wrong.

            What the CA recommendations do, imo, is offer the closest thing to a compromise; acknowledging that, as a foetus grows into sentience, and into a baby, as opposed to a lump of cells, it ought to have some right to life, while accepting that abortion is a fact of life, accepting that refusing women access to them is wrong.

            Allowing women to have abortions during those early months, when the cells are not yet developed into a child – are still only the potential to grow into one- is the closest thing to a compromise I can see.

            Because by denying this, by refusing to grant women this bodily freedom, the country will simply be ignoring and turning their back on the very women we supposedly cherish, our mammies and sisters, our daughters and granddaughters.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            No what she’s saying is that it’s just a cluster of cells up to 12 weeks and not a “child” as you consciously dishonestly state.

      2. Sheik Yahbouti

        Sweet Mildred, if our politicos are lauded, they will be lauded unfairly. They will have been dragged behind the actual population they profess to represent to a conclusion long arrived at by more practical populations. The headbangers who rave about ‘pro -aborts ‘ are just that. No rational person is ‘pro abortion ‘ – they merely recognize that, sadly, it is sometimes necessary.

        1. newsjustin

          Some people, a small number, are pro-abortion because it allows us to remove undesireably disabled foetuses from the human race. Another small number are pro-abortion because they see it as a good way of divorcing womanhood from the tyranny of motherhood.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            The vast majority in this country are pro choice. Social conservatives always lose in the end. Always. Just accept it.

  4. Happy Molloy

    That’s a really strange thing to say. I read it a couple of times and still can’t see the logic in it.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Harry, does the phrase “barefoot and pregnant” ring any bells? Keep ’em in their place don’tcha know.

  5. newsjustin

    If the topic weren’t so serious, I’d say that I hope the recommendations of the CA be put to the people. Abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks.

    It’s so outlandish a proposal, it would be beaten out the gate and we’d have Article 40.3.3 untouched for the foreseable future.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      newsjustin, can I ask – are you a young woman likely to become pregnant in the future? Or the husband of such a young woman? A truthful reply would be appreciated.

    2. classter

      ‘It’s so outlandish a proposal, it would be beaten out the gate and we’d have Article 40.3.3 untouched for the foreseable future.’

      This is what I’m wondering though. Is it really so outlandish?

      Like, I think the general public, even older generations, have realised that the sky hasn’t fallen in since we legislated (finally) for the X-case. I really think the argument for a complete pro-choice position could be won in the near future.

  6. Spaghetti Hoop

    “Only around 24% of the electorate, in the last comparable opinion poll, backed a regime that is that liberal.”
    Correction: the electorate have not been asked. An array of opinions have been polled online. So very, very different.

  7. Steve

    The end section of this makes a good point:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/abortion-q-a-what-next-after-citizens-assembly-vote-1.3059370

    “That position is a good deal more conservative than the one espoused by the Citizens’ Assembly yesterday. However, what the experience of the assembly shows is that a more liberal position may follow a period of debate and discussion on the issue – which suggests that the campaign in any referendum will be crucial”.

    The CA was extremely informed on this issue. If they had taken this vote on Day One the result would have been different but given all the evidence that the CA listened they came to a new position (one I fully agree with). After weeks and weeks of evidence. Maybe the politicians think Joe Soap public would not be as so engaged/informed and there is a danger that an abortion on demand vote would be lost.

    Wonder could the referendum give us a few options to ensure we defo change SOMETHING…i.e.

    (a) Abortion on Demand up to X weeks
    (b) Abortion in the case of rape/incest/fatal foetal up to X weeks
    (c) No Change to 8th

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        If we ever get to the stage of a referendum, the problem will be the wording put to the voters. Don’t underestimate the capacity of our unseen ‘rulers ‘ to sabotage the thing.

    1. Andy

      No, they can’t give options as far as I understand*. It has to be a specific question of amend and replace.

      *heard a lawyer talk about that on t’internet.

  8. ReproBertie

    If we get a referendum based on the outcome of the CA then it will not be to determine situations or timelines. It will be to amend the Constitution to allow the Oireachtas legislate for abortion rather than being handcuffed by 40.3.3. What legislation they introduce will be a discussion for another day.

    1. newsjustin

      And that’s why the referendum will fail. Very few people trust politicians to do this. Many people will be more suspicious than ever given the CA has put the notion that one might abort a child up to 5.5 months gestation for socio-economic reasons (I didn’t get that promotion) or no reason at all into play.

      The Renua leader guy made a very good point in response to the CA. Basically describing the horrific spectre of horse-trading before each election on the rights of the unborn and what each part might allow re abortion.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Actually that’s why the referendum will pass. You are in a tiny minority, Justin.

      2. Nigel

        Of course it is also horrifying, but all too bloody typical, that all this horse-trading and hysteria and political cowardice is over medical treatments for women. Remember, this is a result of the extreme provisions insisted upon by anti-abortion activists. They were never sustainable and always a time-bomb waiting to go off. It should NEVER have been put into the constitution, whatever the law was.

        1. newsjustin

          Constitutional protection of basic human rights is necessary. This is obvious from the CA.

          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            Such as free will? Bodily autonomy? I would say they count as basic human rights.

          2. Listrade

            Glad you agree, just like the UN who would also agree that the current restrictions on abortion is a breach of Human Rights for the mother. Nice to see you come around on the issue.

          3. Nigel

            Any number of ugly infringements of women’s rights that have resulted from this ‘protection’ suggest otherwise.

          4. newsjustin

            Mildred. The right to life trumps (imho) the right to bodily autonomy – for a temporary period required to protect the life of the unborn.

            Don’t get me wrong. Bodily autonomy is hugely important and a very important human right. But the right of a human to life does trump it.

            And free will – yes, of course, but free will on its own could justify absolutely anything.

          5. Nigel

            In this case women’s bodily autonomy is the power over life and death – it’s an intrinsic part of being a woman. To assert that there is no point at which a woman can make a choice to terminate a pregnancy is extremist and oppressive. Is it so utterly galling that woman, entirely responsible for the process of giving birth, can have the freedom to make the conscious choice to not give birth? This is misogyny.

          6. Listrade

            “Mildred. The right to life trumps (imho) the right to bodily autonomy – for a temporary period required to protect the life of the unborn.”

            But that isn’t basic “human” rights as it only gives the right to bodily autonomy to men, a woman’s right is subject to certain conditions.

            However, there is a means to even out this right in the preservation of life argument being the most important: compulsory organ donation.

            All of us are on are on a register for bone marrow and kidneys. When someone needs it and we’re a match, we have to go into hospital and donate. It’s the preservation of life after all and that trumps bodily autonomy doesn’t it?

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