What can be done for families of babies with Fatal Fetal Abnormalities?

  • The term “fatal fetal abnormality” is grossly misleading. The HSE Bereavement Guidelines have opted for a more appropriate term – life limiting condition – to describe terminal illness or serious disability in a baby.
  • Doctors have no way of knowing how long a baby diagnosed with a life limiting condition will live. They can live for months and even years after birth. Studies have found over 70% of children conceived with anencephaly have live births, with roughly a third of these babies living for at least two days.
  • Kathleen Harkin from Co. Down was born with Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13). Doctors at the time told her parents she was unlikely to reach her first birthday. Today she is eleven years old, attends school, and is cherished by her family. The outcomes of many children with life limiting conditions can be greatly affected by the level of care they receive early in life.
  • In Ireland today there are parents who have returned home from Britain after aborting their baby with a life limiting condition only to learn for the first time about the existence of perinatal hospice care as a positive alternative to abortion.
  • Instead of pressuring parents to go down the road of abortion, health care professionals should be given additional resources to provide high quality palliative care to facilitate families in sharing those precious moments with their baby for whatever length of time he or she lives.
  • This referendum is not about abortion for difficult cases, it’s about abortion on demand for any reason. If the 8th amendment is repealed, the right to life of all unborn babies will be removed.

One Day More is a support group made up of parents who received poor pre-natal prognoses for their babies. They support parents who find themselves in a similar situation. www.onedaymore.ie