02.05.18: Tsunami of misinformation from repeal side must stop

The LoveBoth campaign has said the Irish public are being consistently and seriously misled about the nature of the abortion proposal before us.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today, the group stated that the level of misinformation has now reached a new high as both the Government and leading repeal campaigners have decided that anything goes in their push to introduce abortion on demand to Ireland.

In recent days we have seen:

-Deliberate misinformation about the Irish health care system

-Deliberate misinformation about what is contained in Simon Harris’ abortion law

-Deliberate misinformation about the impact of abortion on demand on the disabled community and families with disabilities

Cora Sherlock of LoveBoth commenting on the extent of the misinformation from the repeal side said:

“The tsunami of misinformation and manipulation of the Irish people in this debate has to stop. The debate on the Eighth Amendment has to be grounded on fact and on what is actually being proposed by the government, and the reality of abortion in neighbouring countries. Anything less than frank, open and factual discussion is an insult to the Irish people. Recent statements from leading politicians are deliberately misleading the Irish people about the removal the most important right from our Constitution.”

Joining her, Consultant Obstetrician Dr Trevor Hayes commented on the recent commentary on maternal healthcare services in Ireland. He stated:

“In my many years of medical practice I have never been prevented by the Eighth Amendment from doing everything necessary to fully care for women and to fully protect them in my practice. Any suggestion that Irish doctors cannot intervene to protect women is deliberately misinforming the Irish public and creating unnecessary fears. I’ve never gambled with the lives of my patients. I’ve never lost a mother. The Eighth Amendment has never prevented me from doing my job to the best of my ability.”

He continued: “Professional guidelines for obstetricians are very clear, there is no doubt whatsoever nor should there be any doubt that we can intervene to protect the life of women, doctors do not have to wait until the threat to life has become imminent[1].”

Clare McCarthy, Katie Ascough, Dr. Trevor Hayes, Cora Sherlock, Liz McDermott and Ben O’Floinn. Empty podium for Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Dr Hayes added:

“I am very concerned that recent weeks have seen significant and untrue public statements about the practice of maternal healthcare in this country. No doctor doing their job properly would wait until there is an immediate and critical threat to a pregnant woman’s life before acting to protect the woman, the Eighth Amendment does not stop me from doing my job. Never has and never will.

“If repeal were to happen, 99% percent of abortions would take place for any reason at all or on supposed mental health grounds. That’s the reality based on what has happened in other countries but you wouldn’t think it based on how the present debate is being conducted”.

Ms Sherlock said:

“In recent days, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has been deployed by the government to cheerlead for abortion on demand. Speaking in Cork, Simon Coveney assured the Irish public that there are “restrictions” contained in the government’s abortion on demand plan, he referred to “counselling “, “secondary scans “, and that women would be offered “alternatives to abortion.”

She continued: “However, none of these so-called “restrictions” actually appears in the published bill at all. Simon Harris has given us his abortion blueprint, and Simon Coveney hasn’t bothered to read it. It’s outrageous that Tánaiste has decided to spend his time talking about restrictions that don’t actually exist; this has to stop. We now need to look at the bill and see what the Minister actually has planned for the country instead of listening to fake views from Simon and Simon.”

“The only relevant consideration is what is in the bill instead of what Simon Coveney thinks is in the bill, we need to get real about what this government has in store for our country.”

Speaking on disability and abortion, Liz McDermott said:

“Today, a medical test exists and is available in Ireland that allows a 99% accurate detection of Down Syndrome in an unborn baby at 10 weeks. The government is planning to allow abortion without any reason up to 12 weeks. In countries where abortion on demand is available, up to 90% of unborn babies with Down Syndrome are aborted every year. There is nothing in the Government’s abortion plan that would stop exactly the same pattern happening here in Ireland.”

“Simon Harris and the Taoiseach need to explain why this staggering rate of abortion of disabled people would not happen in Ireland if the human rights protection of the Eighth Amendment was removed. We need to face up to the reality of what abortion has caused in other countries, if the government’s plan for British style abortion is brought in, we must ask the question; have they considered the consequences for children with a disability?”

ENDS

[1] Medical Council of Ireland (17th May 2016), “Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics” (8th Edition), published 17th May 2016:

48.2 During pregnancy, rare complications can arise where a therapeutic intervention is required which may result in there being little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.

48.3 Abortion is legally permissible where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the woman which cannot be prevented by other means. This risk, while substantial, may not be immediate or inevitable in all cases. This risk should be assessed in light of current evidence-based best practice.