A lot of publicity has been given, so far, to the Government’s ‘Free Contraception’ Scheme. It was admitted in some of those reports that that Scheme was introduced under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022. The Bill of that Act was initiated on June 29, 2022. There was no reference in the version published that day to the ‘Free Contraception’ Scheme. Second Stage was dealt with on July 1, 2022, and the ‘Free Contraception’ Scheme was mentioned in the Second Stage version. Committee Stage, and Remaining Stages, were dealt with on July 6, 2022. All Stages of the Bill were dealt with in one day in Seanad Éireann, July 12, 2022. On July 18, 2022, President Michael D. Higgins signed the Bill into law. No Stage of the Bill was put to the vote, but all Stages were agreed.
10 TDs debated Second Stage, that is 10 out of a possible 157 or 158 TDs. Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, FF, Kildare South, doesn’t vote, unless the vote is tied. If the Leas–Cheann Comhairle is Chairing the debate, she doesn’t vote either. The Minister, in this case, of Health, Stephen Donnelly, FF, Wicklow, does vote either. Violet–Anne Wynne, Independent [former SF TD] was on maternity leave at the time. As far as I know, 10 TDs are just the bare minimum for a quorum, at present. The following are the TDs who were in the Dáil during Second Stage: Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, FF, Kildare South; Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, FF, Wicklow; David Cullinane, SF, Waterford; Patricia Ryan, SF, Kildare South; Martin Browne, SF, Tipperary; Duncan Smith, Labour Party, Dublin Fingal; Colm Burke, FG, Cork North–Central; Ruairí Ó Murchú, SF, Louth; Róisín Shortall, Social Democrats, Dublin North–West; Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, FF, Carlow–Kilkenny; Paul Donnelly, SF, Dublin West; Gino Kenny, People before Profit – Solidarity, Dublin Mid–West.
3 TDs were present for Committee Stage, and Remaining Stages: David Cullinane, SF, Waterford; Bríd Smith, People before Profit – Solidarity, Dublin South–Central; Róisín Shortall, Social Democrats, Dublin North–West. Catherine Connolly, Independent, Galway West, Leas–Cheann Comhairle, Chaired those Stages; Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, FF, Wicklow, spoke on behalf of the Government.
Only 2 Senators were present in Seanad Éireann for the debates on All Stages: Niall Ó Donnghaile, SF; Martin Conway, FG. Jerry Buttimer, was Acting Chairman for the debate in Seanad Éireann.
As far as the Act itself is concerned, Number 20 of 2022, Health Act (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2022 [No. 2 of 2022], there are references in the Long Title to the provision of ‘contraceptive services’ for women ‘who have attained the age of 17 years but have not attained the age of 26 years’. It goes on to say that the Minister for Health ‘may by regulations prescribe a further age or further classes, by reference to years of age, of women in respect of whom contraception services shall also be made available’.
PART 3 [pp. 4–7] refers, on p. 5, section 6. (4), to ‘contraception services’ passim, to the fitting of ‘a long-acting reversible contraceptive device’; in section 6. (8) (a) on p. 6, to ‘different contraception services or different classes of contraception services, or in respect of the provision of contraception services or different classes of contraception services to different classes of relevant women’; and in section 6. (8) (11) (b) [pp. 6–7] to ‘ “revelant products”, subject to sections 20 and 23 of the Act of 2013 [i.e. Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 (No. 14)]’ that are defined as follows:
‘relevant products’, subject to sections 20 and 23 of the Act of 2013, means contraceptive drugs, medicines and products (including // long-acting reversible contraceptive devices and emergency contraceptives
So therefore, this Act aims to fund, at the taxpayer’s expense, birth–prevention pills, long-acting reversible contraceptive devices and emergency contraceptives, all of which have the elimination of the early human embryo [i.e. abortion] as their predominant mode of action. In other words, they are claiming to help eliminate reliance on abortion by promoting earlier abortion.
The scheme is for females between the ages of 17 and 25. Do men have no role in the procreation of children? Recent research has demonstrated that adolescence lasts from the age of 10 years, until one has passed one’s 24th birthday [Professor Susan M. Sawyer, et al. ‘The age of adolescence’, The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health (January 17, 2018)]. In other words, the scheme is aimed, almost completely, at late–adolescent young women. There is no basis in fact for believing that this move will reduce unwanted pregnancies in that age group. Economist, Professor David Paton, of Nottingham University, England, over the years, has demolished that false argument. Recently it was reported that approximately 21,000 unborn children have been judicially murdered under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, since its commencement on January 1, 2019.
The real aim of the scheme seems to be to get young women addicted to the idea that sexual activity need not have any consequences –– that is, if they can manage to avoid STIs! How cynical, at a time when very few young people can afford to rent a flat or apartment, or when very few pre–marrieds can afford to put down a deposit on a mortgage. Why not, given the current context, exempt under–30s from paying income tax?
The concentration in this scheme is on the Pill, Long–Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs), ‘contraceptive’ injections, implants, IUS, IUDs (coils), the ‘contraceptive’ patch and ring, and so–called ‘emergency contraception’, all of which are a lot more likely to eliminate the early human embryo, than to work either through actual contraception, or sterilization.
An Act was passed in June 2014, the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014. Under Definitions [section 2.1], in the definition of the word ‘body’, in that Act, the human foetus is described as a ‘human person’. Not only that, but DNA testing is endorsed throughout the Act. DNA testing has been used in the Republic since 1994 in criminal cases, and in paternity cases. It doesn’t make any sense at all to use DNA testing, unless the human being is a human person –– starting from fertilization. Describing a creature as a ‘human person’ connotes that the creature has human rights, the principal one being the right to life. No distinction is made in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 between ‘foetus’ and ‘embryo’. Yet the 2014 Act was not taken into the reckoning at all when the Supreme Court gave their ruling on an immigration case in Limerick City, March 7, 2018 [M (Immigration –– Rights of the Unborn) –v– Minister for Justice and Equality & ors] ; the immigration case was based on the position that an unborn child involved had the right to Irish citizenship. The unborn’s father was from Africa, and a deportation order had been issued against him. The unborn child, a girl, was conceived in Ireland. The Supreme Court ruled [13.3 (vii)] that the Minister for Justice and Equality didn’t have to treat her as if she had any Constitutional rights other than what she had under Article 40.3.3º, as it was before being repealed [i.e., a right not to be aborted]; and ruled under [13.3 (viii)] that she wasn’t a child under Article 42A of Bunreacht na hÉireann. ‘Foetus’ and ‘embryo’ are defined as follows in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018:
‘foetus”, in relation to a pregnancy, means an embryo or a foetus during the period of time commencing after implantation in the uterus of a woman and ending on the complete emergence of the foetus from the body of the woman