8th Amendment

12.05.18: Dr Andrew O’Regan GP: “This debate is not about health care.”

Full speech of Dr Andrew O’Regan GP, at LoveBoth rally:

A chairde – ardaíonn sé mo chroí a bheith in aonacht libh inniú. What a privilege to be here with you.

I reluctantly joined in this referendum campaign. I was busy with my work and family and my wife, Siobhán, was expecting a baby. As the debate progressed it became clear that health care was becoming a central issue: a tiny number of heartbreaking cases were being misrepresented by people who should know better.

Ireland with the 8th amendment is among the safest countries in the world for a woman to be pregnant. Audits of death and sickness in pregnancy confirm this. The Irish Medical Council guidelines say that doctors must intervene to save a woman whose life is at risk – the risk does not have to be imminent. The purpose of these rare but necessary interventions is to save the life of the mother – not to target the life of the baby. Although sadly they may lead to the death of the baby – it is never the intention. Such life-saving interventions are worlds apart from what is being proposed in the referendum on 25th May – which is the direct and intentional targeting of the baby.

Yesterday, five of the country’s most imminent obstetricians and gynaecologists, all former Chairmen of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, issued a statement to the Irish people saying: “We are appalled by the comments of Dr Rhona O’Mahony and Dr Peter Boylan” – their comments are simply not true and are a serious misrepresentation of the Irish health system.

As a doctor I have heard a litany of falsehoods and exaggerations – designed to create a climate of panic – to distract from the reality of repeal – which is unrestricted abortion on demand. This debate is not about health care.

Simon Harris has published his outline for what would repeal the 8th Amendment: It defines termination of pregnancy as a medical procedure intended to end the life of the foetus. This is not health care. It goes against the most basic principles of medicine. To heal, to cure, to save life… never to harm and certainly never to intentionally end a life.

Head 7 of the plan says that termination of pregnancy be carried out for no specified reason up until 12 weeks. 50 years ago Britain introduced abortion for the most rare and difficult cases only – almost 9 million babies have been aborted since then. What Simon Harris is proposing is more extreme than this. It is clearly unrestricted abortion on demand.

Simon Harris has announced that he wants GPs to lead out and deliver his plans. With no consultation – no discussion. I heard about it on the news. GPs treat people for the course of their lifetimes. We manage mothers and their babies before and after pregnancy and it is a pleasure to do so.

Respect and compassion are the cornerstones of our medical practice. But if repeal happened, we would be forced to end the life of one of our patients. We have a crisis in recruiting GPs outside of the main cities. Simon Harris plans to impose abortion delivery on GP surgeries – how would this affect recruitment and retention of GPs?

Calling abortion health care and telling us that it must be regulated is conjecture. Nothing more. Despite repeated claims to the contrary it has become crystal clear that it is possible within 12 weeks of pregnancy for a mother to know with a high degree of certainty if the baby she is carrying has Down Syndrome. We have seen what happens to these babies in Britain and many other neighbouring countries. Repeal will mean abortion of Irish babies with Down Syndrome in Irish clinics and hospitals.

Science has progressed since the introduction of abortion in Britain and USA. The humanity of the baby can be clearly seen on ultrasound well before 12 weeks. What the repeal campaign call pregnancy tissue is a little human with organs facial features and moving limbs and is truly one of us.

Let’s show more compassion – let’s force the government to give these women and their babies the supports they deserve: access to counselling, proper housing for homeless pregnant women in this city, social services, financial support and all of this extending after the pregnancy for lone parents and mothers of children with disability…

To do this we must vote NO.

Today we celebrate diversity and equality in Ireland

Down Syndrome day abortion

Launching a new video to mark World Down Syndrome Day, a spokesperson for the LoveBoth project has said that the Eighth Amendment has ensured a culture of respect for people with disabilities in Ireland, unlike that which exists in other countries.

Speaking earlier, Maeve O’Hanlon said:

“The video we are launching today tells the story of Carina and her son Benjamin who has Down Syndrome.  Their experience is that of many families all over Ireland – where children with conditions like Down Syndrome are given equal protection under our law thanks to the Eighth Amendment which doesn’t discriminate between babies in the womb in any way.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in many countries throughout the world, such as Britain where 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed with the condition in the womb are aborted.

“Today is a day that celebrates diversity and equality in Ireland.  It’s a time for us to reflect on the ways we can work on improving outcomes for people with Down Syndrome and enable them to fulfil their potential in every area of life.”

Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution. Riddle me this!

Article 40.3.3

There are so many contradictions in the debate around the article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, better known as the. Here are a few I have been studying…

1. We are told: ‘It’s not a baby, it’s just a clump of cells’ yet we are also told ‘abortion is a traumatic experience for a woman and is not entered into lightly.’ So why the trauma?

2. We are told: ‘It’s not a baby, it’s a clump of cells’ yet the politicians say ‘abortion should only be legal up to 12 weeks.’ Why should it make a difference to a bunch of cells?

3. Abortion is supposedly OK for fatal foetal abnormalities or in cases of rape or incest. Why not then on other grounds?

4. “I believe women should have the choice but I couldn’t have an abortion”. But why not?

5. Abortion supporters talk about rape, incest, sexual abuse and fatal foetal abnormalities as justifications for abortion. Yet they accuse pro-life supporters of resorting to emotional language by using the term ‘baby’.

6. Women who have had a hysterectomy or who have gone through menopause or who are unable to conceive can have an opinion. So why do abortion campaigners not want men to have an opinion?

7. Article 40.3.3 considers a pregnant woman a mother by virtue of her pregnancy. Abortion campaigners argue is that women shouldn’t be forced to become mothers. But mothers of what … a bunch of cells?

8. The death penalty was made illegal in Ireland in 1990 for all crimes (including rape and incest). So why then do abortion campaigners now want to make it legal to kill the innocent child resulting from rape or incest?

9. Our TDs and Senators voted to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, under which abortion for reasons of disability is a violation. So why at the same time do they want abortion available if there is a disability diagnosis of ‘fatal foetal abnormality’.

10. In all countries where abortion is legal, sex selection forms part of the abortion business and females are aborted purely for being female. So why do abortion campaigners consider abortion as a women’s rights issue?

11. Studies show a much higher rate of depression and anxiety among women who have had an abortion when compared to women who have continued the pregnancy to birth. So why then do abortion campaigners consider abortion as a women’s health issue?

12. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not list abortion as a human right so why do abortion campaigners claim abortion as a human right?

13. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “the child…needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. So why do abortion campaigners consider repealing article 40.3.3 as a human rights issue?

14. Scientific studies prove that a fertilised egg is an autonomous, living being. So why do abortion campaigners consider abortion itself, the negation of life, a human rights issue?

15. Article 43.3.3 has served women and children well. No one woman has died because of Article 43.3.3. So why should we even consider removing it?

 

By Brónagh Hayes.

Brónagh is a Law student in Dublin.

I had an abortion at ten weeks.

Abortion 10 weeks

There are lots of areas that the Oireachtas committee never bothered to examine. Among them, women who have been hurt by abortion, Like Bernadette.

“I became pregnant in my late teens, and 10 weeks into the pregnancy I had an abortion. A trusted doctor assured me that the procedure would be simple, effective, with no after effects. I was never told that abortion would lead to deep depression, that every time I heard a baby cry it was like a knife turning in
my heart. Abortion is supposed to be a quick fix for an unwanted pregnancy, but there is no quick fix for regret, grief and the pain of loss. The most powerful witnesses for the humanity of the unborn are not scientists, but mothers who mourn. We women are not crying over products of conception. We are crying over the deaths of our children.”

Bernadette, Cork.

Victoria is lucky that she was not 1/5

Repeal = more abortion

“I was almost aborted after my mother came under tremendous pressure to end my life. But she stayed strong and gave me the precious gift of life. I am so thankful to her for giving me the dignity everyone should have. I feel grateful to live in Ireland where the right to life of unborn babies is still protected. In France, where I grew up, one in every five babies are aborted. Once abortion is legalised, there is no going back. It is sad to hear all the calls for repeal of the 8th Amendment. Because of my personal circumstances, I’ve come to understand that each of us is unique and irreplaceable.”

Victoria, Dublin.

Abortion was legalised in France in January 1975. The numbers soared between 1975-1981. Today, 1 in 5 pregnancies in France ends in abortion. Victoria is lucky that she was not 1/5.

Repeal means more abortions

Abortion in France

In Ireland, the 8th Amendment saves an estimate of 5,000 lives  (pdf) every year.

See this video on Youtube:

Abortion matters to men as well

Men's role in abortion

I am 18 years old, and I’ve seen that guys my age don’t really care about abortion because they don’t know what being a father is like or they only see it as an issue for woman to deal with. However, I believe young men like myself should have more of an education on abortion because not only can it do harm to both the mother and the father mentally and physically, but it is also extremely important for men to respect and defend the rights of women. If half the human race does not believe that women’s rights should be respected, how are women expected to respect themselves? Abortion is not only going against the unborn baby, but also that baby’s mother. Therefore men’s role in abortion is very crucial.

I have been reading articles where men find that when their partner goes through the abortion process and they feel strange about what just happened. There is a study where 1000 men were surveyed during the abortion and only 75 men were interviewed after the procedure. 21% of men who remained with their partners during the abortion found it to be a traumatizing experience. It was found that some of the men after the procedure suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Because of this there have been many cases where trouble arises in the relationship and the couple will attend therapy or the relationship between the two comes to a complete end.

Not everything is so sad. There are beautiful stories where couples thought of abortion but decided not to go through with and instead lived a happy life with their child.  The song “There goes my life” by Kenny Chesney is about how a young couple are expecting a baby and consider abortion but they keep the baby and live a wonderful life together.

 

In the lines,

All he could think about was I’m too young for this

Got my whole life ahead.

He is saying that all his plans for the future are gone and that he won’t be able to handle having a kid at his age.

In the lines,

A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later

That mistake he thought he made covers up the refrigerator

Oh yeah, he loves that little girl.

Kenny is saying that the mistake he thought he made was the best thing in his world. He loves the little baby girl and doesn’t regret a thing.

You can listen to the song here: There Goes My Life

By Richard B

Intellectual engagement

I first went out with the LoveBoth Street Outreach Campaign a number of weeks ago, for what turned out to be an enjoyable –if at times divisive– evening of intellectual engagement. I talked with roughly ten or eleven people over the course of two hours, and as it turns out people open up to you quite substantially once they know that abortion is the subject of your approach (much more so than if they think you’re trying to sell them something. Who would have thought?). From a broadly pro-life paediatrician thirty minutes late for a dinner appointment, to the street performer who was unwittingly serenading us for the first half of our exploits, people were genuinely curious and perked up or slowed down when the subject was mentioned.

Following the example of a wise friend who advised that starting with the pitch “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute about the 8th Amendment?”, actually garners far more interest, I was able to talk with people who would be almost certainly “in a rush” otherwise. Even if someone hasn’t thought all that much about it, it’s still a question that generally gets the cogs turning. Being there to shift aside debris or doubts that can get in the way of a logical and compassionate conclusion is an extremely rewarding –if at times frustrating– task.

The aforementioned doctor said he had never thought fully about the issue, but as he works with children outside the womb that are in similar if not identical situations to those being targeted inside the womb, the thought of ending their life didn’t sit right with him. His only doubt was in cases where the child will have a very short and poor quality of life (which in my personal experience is the most ‘tough case’).

Having thought about it and discussed it myself in the past I was able to say that while that seems sensible and compassionate on the surface, if you transpose the situation to that of a sick, but already born two-year old, the veil of apparent mercy for the unborn quickly falls away. All this being said, there were unpleasant experiences too, of course, but they were certainly outweighed by the civil discussion and indeed occasional praise you receive from those whom you interact with. What at first seemed like an enormous challenge, quickly emerged as really being just profoundly human engagement. If you’re thinking of taking part, I would strongly recommend that you contact info@loveboth.ie to join the next Outreach.

By Matthias Conroy.

 

Dealing with a crisis pregnancy

crisis pregnancy Oireachtas Committee

I had graduated three months from my Masters degree when I discovered I was pregnant. I had always considered myself to be pro-life but now I was on this side of things it challenged me a lot and actually dealing with a crisis pregnancy was much harder than I’d ever expected. It was very difficult accepting that I was going to have a baby, my pregnancy was extremely strenuous emotionally. I had so many worries about what the future would bring. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I felt I wasn’t ready to be a mother.

I often had suicidal thoughts throughout my pregnancy. During the first few weeks of my pregnancy my family encouraged me to go and speak to someone in a crisis pregnancy centre to help me deal with it better but I found my pregnancy too painful to talk about.

Sometimes now I think about those many, many moments when I was emotional and vulnerable. I’m so thankful that the 8th Amendment was there to stop me making a quick and wrong decision when I was feeling my worst. I often think if I had local access to an abortion when I was feeling so down I could easily have made a decision that I would have regretted later.

Looking back now I regret not speaking to someone sooner. I reached out to my maternity hospital for help at 7 months into my pregnancy, I spoke to someone from the mental health support and got the help I needed.
My beautiful baby Rossa was born on the 27th of October 2015. I am his sole carer and provider and although being a lone parent has its difficulties, it is extremely rewarding. My life has a total new meaning and I’m a happier person now than I was before my unplanned pregnancy. I’m blessed to have such a supportive family who help me with Rossa, I know so many lone parents don’t have this support. We need to work together to ensure every parent has a support system during their pregnancy and afterwards. Abortion is not a solution to a mother who is struggling like I was. Instead, we need to love both mother and baby.

By Emma Maloney

They don’t want to see the 8th repealed!

The 8th Amendment

Several groups of volunteers have been traveling around the country to share their ideas about protecting life, on the LoveBoth Tour. Here are two of their testimonies.

Sign up to get involved – you won’t regret it!

“When you turn on the radio or the TV and they’re discussing the abortion issue, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the majority of the country wanted to see the repeal of the 8th Amendment. It can be a little disheartening at times, when you can recognise the lies being spread in the name of ‘choice’. However, the Love Both tour has opened my eyes to what the public really think about abortion in Ireland. I’ve done the Galway tour and the weekly outreach sessions in Dublin, and honestly, I loved both!
It’s only when you talk to people directly that you see how they really feel about the issue: the majority of people I’ve spoken to about the issue don’t actually want to see the 8th Amendment repealed!
In Galway, there were, of course, those who didn’t want to hear the pro-life side of the debate, but even in the city we got a lot of people coming up to us with words of encouragement and support. When we did outreach in Dublin, we were greeted with an overwhelming openness and the majority of people we met were either pro-life or at the very least, open to hearing our side of the debate.
Going up to talk to people about the pro-life message is never the easiest thing to do at the start, but helping out with the LoveBoth tour is a great way to get involved and meet some incredible people. The work is good and the craic is mighty! Sign up to get involved – you won’t regret it!”
By Roger Theodore Berkeley

The future of the world

“Getting to canvass in Galway as part of the LoveBoth Summer Tour was an absolutely unreal experience. It seems daunting at first given the uncertainty about what to expect, whether people will give out to you, or whether they’ll acknowledge your existence at all.
The truth of the matter is that the cause we’re fighting for is much greater than any setback.
Thinking in those terms helped me overlook any displeasing comments, and pushed me to make a greater effort to engage with people in the street. Another factor that really boosted my confidence was to think of the many people I had come across who were pro-life themselves, and who had thanked me and the Pro Life Campaign for some fantastic work. They’d shout out a “fair play to ye! Ye will keep Ireland great with the 8th! Go raibh maith agat, folks!”.
All in all, I’m extremely glad I did this, I’ve learnt a lot, and I know I have not only served Ireland and its future, but the future of the world.”
By Al Byrne