20.12.2017: Inexcusable that Oireachtas Committee never  explored lives saved by Eighth Amendment

20.12.2017: Inexcusable that Oireachtas Committee never  explored lives saved by Eighth Amendment

The Pro Life Campaign has said that the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment “are presenting their report and recommendations today as though they exhaustively and thoroughly examined the Eighth Amendment. However, the reality is very different. This committee will be remembered as one of the most biased official groups ever to convene in Leinster House.”

Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign made her remarks outside the Dáil following the publication of the Oireachtas committee report recommending the dismantling of the Eighth Amendment.

At the event outside the Dáil hosted by the Love Both Project, where a paper chain representing people saved by the Eighth Amendment was displayed, Ms Sherlock said: “Just to take one example – the Oireachtas Committee never heard from a single parent or family who say that their child is alive today as a direct result of the Eighth Amendment. There are thousands of families like this throughout Ireland but the committee showed no curiosity or interest in listening to any real life stories like this that challenged the case for doing away with the Eighth Amendment. Any committee that would behave in this manner cannot claim to be impartial or fair minded.”

Ms Sherlock continued:

“In many European and western countries one in five pregnancies end in abortion mainly for social reasons. The abortion rate for Irish women (carried out mainly in the Britain) is a small fraction of that, thanks to the Eighth Amendment. There are many stories of mothers who initially contemplated abortion, only to change their minds. Today, they cannot believe they ever entertained the idea of ending the life of the child who now means the world to them.

“The paper chain of people on display here today represent the 5,000+ children born each year, thanks to the Eighth Amendment. It is a conservative estimate based on the actuarial analysis of comparative abortion rates in culturally similar European countries. This independently produced report, commissioned by the Pro Life Campaign, was published in 2016.

“The 5,000+ saved annually include children whose parents are given more time to reflect; children diagnosed with disabilities that routinely lead to abortion in other countries; children with life limiting conditions who are welcomed into the world, however briefly; children whose fathers have a say and were given time to offer real support; children of mothers who are persuaded of the value of adoption.

“Laws change our attitudes and beliefs. When you legalise something you make it normal. And when you make something normal, you get more of it. That’s why the abortion rate in other countries is so surprisingly high. And that’s why there is no such thing as restrictive abortion.

“There are lots of other areas that the Oireachtas committee never bothered to examine. Ignoring the evidence of lives saved by the Eighth Amendment is just one of them. There is no excusing this omission and it rightly leaves the committee open to the charge of extreme bias and of having a predetermined outcome long before they ever concluded their work.”