The claims published in an Irish Times article by Jennifer Bray which interviewed abortion review researcher Deidre Duffy have now been admonished in an article by fellow Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland. Duffy claimed the abortion system was on the verge of ‘collapse’, having been appointed by Minister Stephen Donnelly to produce research on women who’ve had abortions as part of the review. Interestingly, her research seems to have been dropped from the final report, which may have prompted her to make this unauthorised statement to the media. Last week, Minister Donnelly strongly rejected Deirdre Duffy’s claim, fact-checking his own ‘expert’ on live radio, by referencing the ruthless impact of the abortion law which saw 8,500 abortions last year.
On Easter Sunday, the Irish Times’ Social Affairs correspondent, Kitty Holland, published an article which carried quotes from doctors claiming that Deirdre Duffy’s claim was ‘over the top’ and ‘unhelpful’. It was a remarkable development for one journalist to publish a counter-article rebuking the work of a colleague in the same newspaper. It certainly has not helped the reputation of the Irish Times as the “paper of record”.
The contents of Kitty Holland’s article indicated that abortion has become increasingly entrenched within the Irish medical sector, with Dr Mary Favier claiming that nurses and midwives who previously had ‘strong feelings’ against abortion were no longer vocally opposed to providing abortions or were now keeping quiet. Dr Favier credited ‘value-clarification sessions’ as producing this effect, a distinctly Orwellian sounding process.
The drastic disparity between two separate Irish Times reports must have raised a few eyebrows in the newsroom, with an apparent unedifying rivalry playing out between two of its journalists. In fairness to the Irish Times, it recently (12 April) printed an opinion piece from Eilís Mulroy advocating the retention of the three-day waiting period (alongside an opposing piece from the other perspective).
With the abortion review expected to be published soon, the inherently contradictory assessments of ‘expert’ researchers like Duffy and pro-abortion doctors on the state of the abortion regime in Ireland clearly demonstrates the extent to which ideology is infecting this supposedly ‘independent’ review.
Minister Donnelly also appointed other researchers with a history of activism, such as Catherine Conlon, whose work has been published as the “UnPac” study (Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care). This study has deep flaws, with self-selective interviews impacting the outcome and skewing its findings in a direction which, unsurprisingly, aligns with the wish-list of pro-abortion activists.