7th May 2013
Pro Life Campaign welcomes clarification from Professor Fergusson and challenges RTÉ’s presentation of story
Failure of RTÉ to challenge both sides of the debate equally is fast becoming part of the story
The Pro Life Campaign welcomed the remarks today on Morning Ireland from Professor David Fergusson which showed that the Pro Life Campaign and others have been accurately quoting his research on abortion and its mental health implications for women.
Before the Morning Ireland interview, RTÉ advertised that Professor Fergusson would be on the programme and suggested that he would be taking issue with the way some pro-life groups were using his research.
Commenting on this morning's interview with Professor Fergusson, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said;
"I welcome Professor Fergusson's remarks today which showed that the Pro Life Campaign and others have been accurately quoting his research.
"But I’m sorry to say the way RTÉ presented the item set out to create the impression that we had misquoted Professor Fergusson’s research. This has been shown to be totally false.
"The Pro Life Campaign has always quoted Professor Fergusson's research in the context of the overall mental health consequences of abortion for women.
"Professor Fergusson clearly distinguished the issues on the programme and confirmed the accuracy of the quotations used during the Oireachtas Hearings which quoted the evidence in the context of mental health effects on woman. He also confirmed the dearth of evidence in regard to abortion and suicidality.
"The psychiatric evidence presented at the Oireachtas hearings in January was unanimous that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal ideation. That is why the Pro Life Campaign is accurate in stating that the argument for abortion in the case of threatened suicide was demolished at the hearings.
"The burden of proof is on the Government and those who campaign for the introduction of abortion to show that it has any therapeutic effects – in particular that it protects women against suicide. To date, no such evidence has been produced.
"RTÉ has an important role to play in challenging the Government on whether they are correct in pursuing abortion as a treatment for suicide, given the lack of evidence. It is a statement of fact that to date RTÉ has not pursued the Government with any vigour on this point.
"The failure of RTÉ to challenge both sides of the debate equally is fast becoming part of the story."