Parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with often devastating and life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly and Trisomy 13 have hit out at the Labour Party for ‘using’ their children’s plight to justify a push to broaden Ireland’s abortion laws.
Tracy Harkin, spokesperson for the organisation Every Life Counts, said it was ‘hugely distressing’ for families who had lost their beloved children to these conditions to hear the Labour party and others repeatedly suggest that abortion was the better – or only – option for severely disabled children.
“We’re currently seeking better services for parents in this situation – a new form of care called perinatal hospice care – but all we are hearing from Labour is abortion and more abortion,” she said. “Where is their sense of compassion or their sense of equality for children with disabilities?”
Aileen Smith, mother to Lilly Ann, added, “My child had anencephaly. Her brain did not form properly, which meant she lived for just six days with us, but she was loved and cherished and she will always be remembered. It is very, very distressing to me to hear anyone talk about my baby as if she was less than human because of her disability – that her right to life could be taken away because her disability was profound. Lilly Ann was no less human than any other little girl, and what families need is help and support, not abortion. ”
Ms Harkin said that abortion was a very emotive issue, and that parents in Every Life Counts were especially upset at the way their babies were constantly targeted to justify an abortion push.
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“Labour want abortion legalised in Ireland on broad grounds, but they are hiding that agenda behind a call to target babies like my child. It’s very distressing for the parents in Every Life Counts who have been so tragically bereaved to hear their children being talked about as if they were worthless, and it’s dishonest of Labour to campaign like this,” she said.
“If Labour want to copy Britain’s abortion laws, then be honest and say that. Stop hiding behind unborn babies with a severe disability,” she added.