The Pro Life Campaign has said that the refusal by the Minister for Health to answer official parliamentary questions on the gestational age of the babies involved in the 26 terminations carried out under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, and the medical conditions of the women, is not acceptable considering the enormous public interest in the Act’s operation.
The Minister’s attempt to ignore the official parliamentary questions that have been raised by Deputies O’Cuiv, Flanagan, McGrath and others amounts to nothing more than a disgraceful attempt to stifle debate on abortion in Ireland by withholding information from the public.
The questions raised can easily be answered in such a way as to protect the anonymity of the women involved. The 2013 Act was one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in the history of the State. Certain aspects are not supported by any medical evidence whatsoever.
It is not enough for the Minister to simply issue a figure. Our collective duty towards women and their babies means that we must ask further questions. What were the conditions that caused the pregnancies to be terminated? What was the gestational age of the babies at the time of termination? Did the babies survive the termination procedure, and if so, are they now receiving medical care and attention? What sort of care were women given?
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In the interests of transparency, the Minister must now answer the questions raised in the Dail so that the public can come to their own conclusions regarding whether this legislation is acting in the best interests of women and their babies.