Irish Government Pushing to Legalize Abortions on Babies Who Have Down Syndrome

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 4, 2018   |   11:25AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

Less than two weeks ago, Ireland voted to strip away all protections for unborn babies from its constitution.

Now, lawmakers are considering legislation that could allow deadly discrimination of unborn babies with disabilities like Down syndrome. The proposal would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks and for a wide variety of circumstances up to 24 weeks.

Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris repeatedly has claimed his proposal does not allow abortions on the ground of a disability. But this week, Harris said he would oppose an amendment to prohibit abortions for that very reason, She Magazine reports.

Pro-life lawmakers are considering a number of amendments that would give unborn babies at least some protections in Ireland.

The Irish Examiner reports Independent TDs Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins are backing the proposed disability amendment.

Here’s more from the report:

Fianna Fail’s Mary Butler, who backed a no vote, also said she would back such an amendment to ban terminations where a disability is diagnosed.

It is thought pro-life TDs would propose the changes when the draft legislation is published and comes to committee stage in the Dáil in July or for report stage in September.

They have maintained that they will not delay the passage of the legislation, but that they are entitled to introduce amendments.

The amendment would protect unborn babies who frequently are discriminated against because of disabilities like Down syndrome, spina bifida and other disorders.

And while pro-abortion political leaders claim their proposal would not allow these unborn babies to be targeted, it is curious that they oppose an amendment that would ensure this does not happen.

She Magazine reports more:

Minister for Health Simon Harris has signalled he will oppose the move.

‘TDs are perfectly entitled to bring amendments but it remains the case that the general scheme does not permit termination on grounds of disability, and nor will the final legislation,’ a spokesperson for the Health Minister told BreakingNews.

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Pro-life advocates in Ireland have been warning that these protections are very much needed. They point to nearby England where unborn babies with Down syndrome are targeted for abortions at a rate of about 90 percent.

According to CBS News, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to the report.

Some put the rate as high as 90 percent in the United States, but it is difficult to determine the exact number because the U.S. government does not keep detailed statistics about abortion.

Parents whose unborn babies have Down syndrome or other disabilities frequently report feeling pressure to abort them by doctors and genetic counselors.

The proposed amendment would be an important protection for Irish unborn babies who are targeted for abortion at a higher rate than most simply because of their abilities.