An amendment proposing that abortions are not sought on grounds of race, sex or disability under the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill has been defeated in the Dáil.

Following a lengthy and often tense Report Stage debate which began last night, TDs voted against the amendment by 71 votes to 21.

There were two abstentions. 

Independent TD Michael Collins, who was among the proposers of the bill, accused Minister for Health Simon Harris of misleading the public because he said the bill "was silent" abortion on the grounds of disability.

He cautioned against Ireland following the UK, Germany, Denmark and Iceland where he said 91% of those with disabilities "have their lives ended".

The Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said those representing Down Syndrome Ireland had requested during the Referendum that they not be brought into the debate.

However, she said the only thing those proposing the amendment had to go on was disability, and she said it was immoral to do so.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger objected to what she described as the racist stereotyping of the motion.

Ms Coppinger said there was enough racism in society "without people trotting this out" in the Dáil.

"Cop yourselves on, keep it out of it and lets get on with the real issue", she told the proposers.

Independent TD Danny Healy Rae said no one had to be told to cop on and that they were using common sense by highlighting what was not in the bill.

A number of Fianna Fáil TDs expressed concern over advances in technology which will lead to the availability of increasingly inexpensive tests for disabilities before 12 weeks.

The Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkin defended Mr Harris and accused those who opposed the bill as suggesting that the Minister did not keep his word.

Mr Durkin said there was a danger of the Report Stage of the debate drifting off in a direction that was never intended.

He said the bill was in line with what was committed to the public and published before the Referendum and still stands.

"The Minister could be accused of not being true to the word if he didn't follow that line", he said.

As one of the proposers of abortion up to 12 weeks at the Oireachtas Eighth Amendment Committee, Fianna Fáil Deputy Billy Kelleher said the introduction of race, sex and disability was against the wishes of the Irish people in how they expressed their view in the Referendum.

"It wasn't put in covertly, it was kernal of the debate", he said.

Mr Harris said women's rights were human rights and the Oireachtas would legislate in that regard.

Mr Harris said the Chief Medical Officer in the country said the amendment would effectively render the 12 weeks provision in the act inoperable.

"Perhaps that's what you'd like to do, it's not what the people voted to do", he said.

He said the same issues debated during the Referendum cannot continue to be dragged up at Report Stage.

He refused to accept the amendment and it was defeated.

Meanwhile, an amendment to the bill seeking pain relief to be administered to a fetus in the womb during a termination has also been defeated.

The amendment was proposed by a number of pro-life TDs including Independent TD Micheal Healy Rae who described it as a "reasonable and ordinary" request.

Mr Harris rejected the amendment saying that it was the job of the obstetrician to administer pain relief.

"We are policy makers. The place for pain relief and care pathways is for the doctors not the politicians," he said.

The amendment was defeated by 61 votes to 22.

The Dáil debate on the remaining amendments will continue next week as it it did not conclude before 9pm.

TDs are currently debating amendments proposed by Carol Nolan, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae and Michael Collins.

There are 59 amendements to be considered and TDs are currently debating 41 and 44.

The current proposal centres around a woman having to be offered an ultrasound or audio of a foetal heart beat before accessing a termination. Any doctor who did not offer the woman the ultrasound could face one year in prison.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath took issue with being lectured  about being inhumane.

Independent TD Peadar Tobin said the proposal did not seek to change access to abortion but to seek information to analyse how abortion is carried out.

He said "abortion regret is a very serious issue and people sufffer for their whole lives after it."

He said that it is important that people should be allowed to hear an ultrasound so they will know the baby has a heartbeat.

Independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick said the importance of ultrasound cannot be overstated.

Independent Carol Nolan said she found it "very offensive" that she was accused of forcing people to watch ultrasounds.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris said that if adopted the amendment would mean that mandatorily, every single woman would have to have an ultrasound.

Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell claimed the proposal is designed to inflict pain and guilt on women in distress.

She claimed the proposal was a "direct derivative of the Roe versus Wade case in the US."

Similarly, Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger claimed that the amendment was "shaming and punishing" women for their decision to have a termination.