Figures released today by Health Minister Leo Varadkar showing that 26 abortions took place in 2014 under Ireland’s new abortion law.
The Government and Minister Varadkar are fully aware that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings. Yet they pressed ahead with legislation in 2013 providing for abortion on this ground, ignoring the expert evidence from two sets of Oireachtas hearings which showed that, far from being a medical treatment, abortion in the case of threated suicide can have long term negative consequences for women.
The loss of even one baby’s life from abortion is an immense tragedy. It is a very sad fact that the Government’s legislation in 2013 is directly responsible for the loss of life in the cases where three babies had their lives ended under the ‘threat of suicide’ ground for abortion.
It is difficult to determine from the information made available today whether the deaths of the other 23 babies under the new Act resulted from induced abortion that directly targeted their lives or whether some or all of them resulted from necessary medical interventions in pregnancy to save the life of the mother where every reasonable effort was also made to save the life of the unborn child.
Under the new legislation the Government deliberately blurred the distinction between necessary medical interventions and induced abortion. But what is not at issue is that three babies under the new abortion Act had their lived ended without a shred of medical evidence to suggest abortion on this ground would safeguard the life of the mother.
Pro-life groups never claimed that the new law would lead to abortion on demand overnight. We stand by the claim we made in 2013 that over time the new law, unless it is repealed, will normalise the practice of abortion in Ireland and undermine the dignity and inherent value of every human life.