Pro-Life Groups Blast Ireland Bill Allowing Abortion on Suicide Grounds

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 1, 2013   |   10:24AM   |   Washington, DC

Leading pro-life groups are blasting the Government’s publication of a new bill on abortion that allows abortions on the ground of threatened suicide with three doctors certifying the abortion.

The Pro Life Campaign has dismissed the Taoiseach’s reassurances that the law will be restrictive.

“The Taoiseach and Minister Reilly have been talking up the proposal as very restrictive. But, in reality, these reassuring noises are empty and misleading. What matters is what’s contained in the Bill and what’s in the Bill is dangerous. For the first time an Irish government is proposing to introduce a law that provides for the direct intentional targeting of the life of the unborn child,” the group told LifeNews. “Talk of the legislation being ‘life-saving’ is simply dishonest. There is no evidence that abortion ever helps women’s mental health and in fact it may damage women. It’s astounding that the Fine Gael leadership has caved in to Labour, allowing ideology to win out over evidence.”

The Pro-Life Campaign continued: “The two-panel six-doctor proposal for signing off on abortions is utter nonsense. All it takes is three pro-choice doctors to sign off on every request and all restrictiveness is gone. It is an insult to women and their unborn babies to pretend that it could operate in an evidence-based manner.”

“The Government has claimed all along that there is no option but to legislate. This is untrue. If the Government were really concerned about protecting women’s lives and respecting the unborn, we would have appropriate guidelines drawn up to assist doctors in various cases. The law already protects good medicine and life-saving treatments,” PLC added. “If the Government continues to press ahead with the proposed legislation, we cannot continue to airbrush the reality of what abortion entails in countries where it is legal. There has been a huge spotlight on Ireland’s abortion laws but the public deserves to know what’s going on in other countries before any final decision is taken on the matter.”

Pat Buckley, who represents the British pro-life group SPUC in Ireland, said in Dublin today that it opposes the bill as well. His statement to LifeNews follows:

“Far from being restrictive as the government claims, the bill has the potential to lead to widespread availability of abortion.

The Irish bill proposes to abolish sections 58 & 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, under which abortion in general remains a criminal offence. That provision is retained even in Britain. The vast majority of abortions in Britain are in fact unlawful under the 1861 Act if the Abortion Act was interpreted honestly (instead of being widely flouted).

Regarding abortion for suicidal mothers, the bill goes beyond both the mental health grounds of Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act and of British case-law such as the 1938 Bourne judgment. Unlike British law, the bill makes suicide an explicit, statute-level ground for abortion.

The bill explicitly removes protection for unborn children before implantation in the womb, thus ensuring that they can be aborted legally by drugs and devices such as the morning-after pill.

Even the name of the bill “Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013″ is misleading and hypocritical, as it does not protect unborn life in a wide variety of circumstances and is contrary to the equal protection for mothers and their unborn children under the Irish Constitution.

We call upon all Irishmen and women to unite to ensure that this bill is thrown out of the Oireachtas at the first vote. There must be absolute and unequivocal opposition to all abortion expressed loud and clear by church leaders, pro-life groups and politicians. Today must mark the end, not the beginning, of abortion in Ireland.”



Meanwhile, the Life Institute has accused Fine Gael of caving in to Labour on abortion, while pointing out that the government had ignored all the medical evidence that confirmed abortion was not a treatment for suicide.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that no term limits were contained in the draft legislation and that abortions could be carried out through all nine months of pregnancy – something she said would horrify the Irish people.

“We’ve seen the horrors of the Kermit Gosnell case in the US in recent weeks, and just how horrific late term abortions are,” she said. “Fine Gael’s lack of regard for human life is downright disturbing.”

“Fine Gael made a deal with Labour – ‘support our austerity measure, and we’ll give you abortion’, but it is Fine Gael who will now become known as the abortion party,” said Ms Uí Bhriain. “Labour represent less than 10% of the people now according to polls, yet they are deciding for the whole country on this issue of life and death.”

“This government asked medical experts to give evidence on this issue, and the evidence they heard demolished the case for legalizing abortion on suicide grounds, but now they have roundly ignored the evidence and moved to allow unborn children to be deliberately killed for the first time in Ireland,” she said.

Last week, 113 Irish psychiatrists said they agreed with a statement that they were “deeply concerned” about plans to legislate for suicidality as grounds for an abortion being carried out.

There have been numerous studies that found an association between abortion and suicide. Other studies have found a link between abortion and depression (which is a major risk factor for suicide). For example:

A 1995 study by A.C. Gilchrist in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that in women with no history of psychiatric illness, the rate of deliberate self-harm was 70 percent higher after abortion than after childbirth.

A 1996 study in Finland by pro-choice researcher Mika Gissler in the British Medical Journal found that the suicide rate was nearly six times greater among women who aborted than among women who gave birth.

A 2002 record-linkage study of California Medicaid patients in the Southern Medical Journal, which controlled for prior mental illness, found that suicide risk was 154 percent higher among women who aborted than among those who delivered.

A March 2004 report from the U.S. National Institutes of Health revealed that suicide is now the third leading cause of death among America’s young people. In fact, for teen girls and young women, the suicide rate has tripled over the past 25 years.

One study published in August 2003 edition of the British Medical Journal found that women who had abortions were seven times more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth.