Ireland’s Life Institute has welcomed the defeat of Mick Wallace’s abortion bill in the Dáil last week.
The bill attempted to deny the humanity of unborn babies with disabilities and was a cruel and cynical exercise to push a much wider abortion agenda, Niamh Uí Bhriain, Life Institute spokeswoman, said.
“Wallace’s abortion bill actually served to clarify several issues,” Ms Uí Bhriain said. “First, it is now clear from the statements of experts such as the chief medical officer that the terms ‘incompatible with life’ and ‘fatal, foetal abnormality’ are not medical terms and should not be used in drafting legislation or considering changes to the abortion law.
“Second, it is significant that the Attorney General found it was unconstitutional to deny the protection afforded to a baby under the eighth amendment simply because that baby has a severe disability.
“Third, it is increasingly evident that abortion campaigners have no compunction in attacking the right to life of babies with disabilities – and it is also increasingly evident from canvassing the public that awareness of this agenda is becoming more well known, and that more and more people are becoming uncomfortable with this push to attack the most vulnerable babies of all.”
Mattie Mc Grath TD said that it was important to recognise that there is no monopoly on compassion when it comes to the issue. “We all want the best medical and clinical outcomes for mothers and children,” he said.
“In light of that we need to be guided by the actual medical reality, which clearly states that there is no legitimacy to the terms ‘fatal foetal abnormality’ or ‘incompatible with life,’ concluded Deputy Mc Grath.
He also noted that “for every ten emails I get asking me to oppose Deputy Wallace’s Bill, I am receiving just one asking me to support it.”
Mr Mc Grath joined pro-life advocates from Youth Defence outside the Dail where a mobile billboard touring the city carried a powerful ‘Abortion Discriminates. Save the 8th’ message.
Meanwhile, parents in the support group Every Life Counts said that Mr Wallace’s abortion bill would have dragged disability rights back to the Dark Ages.
“We have endured two weeks of listening to our children being described as ‘fatal abnormalities’, and it is simply appalling to see an Irish TD argue that unborn babies with a severe disability should be denied their right to life simply because of that disability,” said Tracy Harkin, Every Life Counts spokeswoman.
Ms Harkin said the proposal amounted to a “naked discrimination”, and that Mr Wallace’s bill would push disability rights back to the dark ages.
“Mick Wallace’s bill would push disability rights back to the Dark Ages, because it proposes that babies who have a severe disability, and those babies alone, should be targeted for abortion.
“We think that the days when people with disabilities were treated cruelly are gone, but now we are seeing people in power arguing that their right to life before birth can be taken away,” she said.
“The debate has been so disturbing, misleading and upsetting to be honest,” she added. “My daughter Kathleen Rose is aged nine and living with Trisomy 13, something campaigners wrongly call a ‘fatal, foetal abnormality’. She is the light of our home, not a life to be discarded.
“We’ve had to fight for better treatment and better services for Kathleen Rose. Do we now have to fight for her right-to-life and for the right to life of every child who has a life-limiting condition? Parents actually need better support and care, like perinatal hospice care, instead of abortion, but we never hear Mick Wallace or John Halligan calling for that,” said Ms Harkin.
She added how hurt parents of disabled children had been by the language use d in the debate: “The spin and the misinformation in this debate is horrible and it’s hurting parents,” she said.
“These are our children, they were alive and kicking when we got the diagnosis, and whether they lived for days, weeks or years, their lives mattered because every child matters.”