January 7 will be a dark day for human rights in Ireland.
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) announced Friday that it hopes to be ready to abort unborn babies on that date, Breaking News Ireland reports.
The announcement came just a day after President Michael D. Higgins signed the country’s new pro-abortion law. The legislation, which passed parliament earlier this month, allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It will force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals, and hundreds of doctors and nurses fear being forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
IFPA plans to provide abortions up to 9 weeks of pregnancy in Dublin and Tallaght starting Jan. 7, according to the report. Pregnant mothers who are further along will be referred to hospitals, the group said.
Niall Behan, chief executive of the abortion group, said they have been preparing to begin abortions since May when the country voted to repeal its pro-life Eighth Amendment.
“Preparing our abortion service has been the focus of our work since the referendum,” he said. “We’re ready and we’re dedicated to providing abortion care to women in Ireland for the first time.”
Most other hospitals and medical groups have said they are nowhere near ready to begin abortions by Jan. 1, the government’s start-date.
Even Behan admitted that the time-frame pushed pro-abortion Health Minister Simon Harris is “extremely tight.”
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“This is an entirely new service, developed in the extremely tight time-frame set by the minister for health,” he said. “The onus is on the Department of Health and the HSE to ensure that women who seek abortion care have timely access and don’t encounter any barriers.”
Leading Irish medical professionals have said beginning abortions in two weeks could put women’s lives at risk. They pointed to a lack of ultrasound machines and other medical resources, clinical guidelines and trained staff as reasons for delay, but pro-abortion political leaders have refused to back down.
IFPA seems anxious to meet the pro-abortion leader’s time-frame, but its medical director, Dr. Caitriona Henchion, admitted they may have to delay if the resources are not in place, according to The Sun.
“[Abortions] can only begin as planned if the medication and pregnancy tests are supplied on time, and the protocols for rhesus testing and the provision of anti-D are finalised,” Henchion said.
On Wednesday, the Irish College of General Practitioners still was seeking answers to basic questions about the law. RTE reports the group provided interim clinical guidelines for abortion to its GPs, but it also wrote to Harris “to express concerns over the lack of clarity around referral pathways to hospital care …” It also mentioned pro-life doctors’ concerns about being forced to help abort unborn babies against their consciences.
Pro-life advocates have vowed to continue working hard to protect unborn babies and mothers, despite the new law.
“We have to face the sad reality that Ireland now has one of the most extreme abortion laws anywhere in the world and a government that can’t bring themselves to show even a hint of mercy towards unborn babies or concern for the many women who deeply regret their abortions,” said Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign.
Cullen predicted that the Irish people eventually will see through the pro-abortion rhetoric to the truth.
“Amid all the sadness for what has happened to our country, the pro-life movement will stand united and look to a brighter day when everyone is once again welcomed in life and protected in law,” she said.
Just how many unborn babies may be killed in Ireland annually is uncertain, but about 3,000 Irish women travel to England or Wales every year for abortions, according to government statistics.