PLC accuses Government of “face-saving wrangling” on abortion

The Pro Life Campaign has strongly criticised both parties in Government for engaging in “face-saving wrangling” on the abortion issue. This is in response to newspaper reports today about the number of doctors that would sit on the panel to adjudicate on when an abortion can be carried out on grounds of threatened suicide.

The reports claim that the Fine Gael party is insisting on six doctors – two obstetricians and four psychiatrists while Labour has said that they want abortion to be more easily accessible. On Friday, the Pro Life Campaign welcomed all nine of the recommendations from the inquest into the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, including the call for Guidelines providing clarity for doctors in relation to necessary medical interventions in pregnancy.

Commenting on today’s newspaper reports on the disagreements in government over any proposed abortion legislation, Caroline Simons, Legal Consultant to the Pro Life Campaign said:

“If there are any difficulties in government in reaching agreement on abortion legislation, they stem from the fact that Fine Gael capitulated to the Labour Party last December when they agreed to introduce abortion on the grounds of threatened suicide.

“It is all but irrelevant how many psychiatrists or obstetricians are on the panel that decides when a baby’s life can be ended.  The real issue here is that X Case legislation would for the first time permit the direct targeting of the lives of unborn children, including in threatened suicide situations even though all of the research to date shows that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings.

“It was entirely predictable that the Labour Party would criticise any legislation as too restrictive. It is also highly likely that Labour will give some ground to Fine Gael on this but any compromise will be meaningless as the right to life will already have been conceded.

“Once the legislation is passed, the Labour Party and others will continue to ridicule the law and call it unworkable knowing that abortion is now permissible and that it is only a matter of time before the grounds are widened.

“Rather than facilitating this smokescreen, the Fine Gael party needs to challenge Labour over the justification of proceeding with abortion legislation on grounds of threatened suicide when the research shows that abortion is not an appropriate treatment for suicidal ideation and has potential to cause severe adverse mental health consequences for women.”