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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Abortions taking place on “suicide” ground expose deep seated flaws in new legislation, says PLC


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“No one claimed abortion floodgates would open overnight” – Dr Ruth Cullen
The Pro Life Campaign has said the fact that a number of abortions have already taken place using the ‘suicide’ ground brings to light the entrenched problems with the legislation introduced by the present government in 2013. Three recorded terminations took place on the suicide grounds in the period January-July 2014. No figures have been released for the number of abortions since then. In recent days, outgoing Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter Smith, criticised the new abortion legislation, primarily on the grounds that it set no time limits for when abortions can take place. He said however that he overestimated the number of abortions that would occur on the suicide ground and that the “floodgates” had not opened as predicted.


Commenting on the impact of the new law, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson, Dr Ruth Cullen said: “Within months of the new law being activated three pregnancies were terminated on the ‘suicide’ ground resulting in the intentional ending of unborn human life. The loss of even one life is a tragedy but the fact that we now have a law that facilitates the taking of human life, with the full knowledge that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings, is shameful in the extreme.


“No one on the pro-life side forecast that the floodgates to wide-ranging abortion would happen overnight. Our criticism of the new law was that over time it would normalise abortions taking place on the ‘suicide’ ground given that the decision to carry out an abortion does not have to be based on any medical evidence showing that the intervention was necessary to save the life of the mother. Sadly, it has already been shown that abortions are taking place using this bogus ground despite all the reassurances given by the Taoiseach that it wouldn’t happen.”


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Minister Fitzgerald “completely out of touch with electorate on abortion”, says PLC


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1st January 2016

The Pro Life Campaign has said that comments by  Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Deputy Paschal Donohoe on abortion are further proof that this Government is completely out of touch with the electorate when it comes to addressing the needs of those facing unplanned pregnancies.
Commenting as part of the PLC’s New Year message, Deputy Chairperson Cora Sherlock said:
“It’s a very sad state of affairs when the first message of the new year is one that highlights the determination of some Government Ministers to target the lives of the most vulnerable members of Irish society.  There is something very unseemly about the way Minister Frances Fitzgerald insists that Fine Gael can ‘deal with’ abortion with or without the Labour Party. Tens of thousands of people are alive in Ireland today thanks to the 8th Amendment. It is a life-saving provision, not a political football.”

“Minister Fitzgerald is being deliberately disingenuous when she distances herself from the term ‘abortion on demand’. She knows, as well as all others involved in this debate,  that any repeal or dismantling of the 8th Amendment would result in widescale abortion over time.”
In terms of what 2016 holds for the pro-life movement,  Ms. Sherlock had this to say:
“The huge numbers of people becoming involved in the Pro Life Campaign is a sign that Minister Fitzgerald and those who want to repeal the 8th Amendment are drastically out of step with the electorate. It is high time for the Government to take a step back and work on the ways they can help families keep their babies instead of constantly talking about abortion,” she concluded.

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PLC challenges Minister Reilly over call for repeal of 8th Amendment



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The Pro Life Campaign has criticised the Minister for Children, James Reilly, over remarks he made in a Sunday newspaper, calling for repeal of the 8th Amendment.
Commenting on the interview, Pro Life Campaign Deputy Chairperson, Cora Sherlock said:
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Minister Reilly is seeking to present repeal of the 8th Amendment as an extremely restrictive measure. Every time he talks about changes to Ireland’s abortion laws he goes out of his way to stress that he doesn’t want to see an ‘abortion on demand’ regime here.

“He kept repeating this same line over and over again when as Minister for Health he introduced the controversial 2013 abortion law, a law that incidentally allows abortion up to birth based on a threat of suicide, even though medical evidence shows that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings. Sadly, abortions have already taken place as a result of this law and babies have lost their lives. But there doesn’t appear to be any time to pause and reflect on this stark reality as the Minister and others focus on removing the 8th Amendment, which provides the last remaining protection for the unborn child.”


She continued:
“It is an appalling tragedy that families of babies with life-limiting conditions are returning home after aborting their child to discover when it is too late about the existence of perinatal palliative care as an alternative to abortion, where parents and families of babies with a terminal illness receive the supports and help to care for their son or daughter for whatever short length of time they survive. But with the focus almost exclusively on repeal of the 8th Amendment this life-affirming and positive side of the story is not getting the attention it deserves.


“Minister Reilly never turns down an opportunity to talk about widening the grounds for abortion but he has no track record on delivering proper perinatal palliative care provision in Ireland. He would be better served devoting some time to this as well as listening to parents who were pressured to go down the road of abortion in similar situations and now deeply regret the decision.”
Ms Sherlock concluded:


“The drop in support for abortion reflected in today’s Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll is encouraging.”


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Minister Harris’ comments on abortion “disappointing but not surprising” says PLC


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Simon Harris went to extraordinary lengths before the last general election to court pro-life votes


The Pro Life Campaign has said the call by Minister of State Simon Harris for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment is disappointing but not surprising. The PLC’s Deputy Chairperson, Cora Sherlock said Minister Harris’ comments are “indicative of the blinkered attitude of this Government when it comes to abortion. Instead of working to improve perinatal hospice facilities for the families of babies with life-limiting conditions, the entire focus is on the further liberalisation of abortion.”
She said: “The real tragedy here is that many families in these situations travel abroad for abortion and are devastated when they return to learn for the first time that perinatal hospice care exists as an alternative to abortion. With government ministers and others placing all the focus on abortion rather than putting resources in place for better perinatal care facilities, some families are opting for abortion that would otherwise not do so. That’s the real scandal and Minister Harris’ latest comments just add to it.


Ms Sherlock said: “Simon Harris went to extraordinary lengths before the last general election to court pro-life votes. He wasn’t just satisfied quoting the then Fine Gael commitment not to legislate for abortion. He gave his own personal commitment as well which he subsequently broke of course in 2013. His behaviour is the kind of thing that makes some people very cynical about politics. He obviously now believes it is right and proper that the law should regard unborn babies with life-limiting conditions as less worthy of legal protection than other human beings. That’s an incredible position for him to adopt but it’s the obvious logic of his position when you take a closer look. He has arrived at this position, to the best of my knowledge, without ever meeting with groups like One Day More or Every Life Counts, representing families who are devastated at the disregard and disrespect shown by politicians and commentators to their sons or daughters with life-shortening conditions. Given how he broke his pro-life promise in 2013, Minister Harris’ latest statement on abortion is disappointing but not surprising. “


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Open Letter published by Amnesty International does a disservice to Ireland’s doctors, says PLC



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“Amnesty ignores Ireland’s outstanding record in maternal healthcare,” says Sherlock
The Pro Life Campaign has said the open letter from doctors published 20/11/2015 as part of Amnesty’s campaign for wider access to abortion ignores the excellent work being done by doctors in Ireland in protecting the lives of pregnant women.
Commenting on the letter, Deputy Chairperson of the PLC Cora Sherlock said:
“The latest attempt by Amnesty to push for the liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws seeks to depict abortion as ‘healthcare’ when in reality it is nothing of the sort.  All it does is end the life of an unborn baby.
“Ireland’s doctors are world leaders when it comes to safeguarding the lives of pregnant women. This fact was re-stated in the most recent report on international maternal mortality, where Ireland ranks far above, for example, the US, a country where abortion is widely available and where some of the signatories to Amnesty’s open letter come from.  There is no mention of Ireland’s outstanding record in maternal care in Amnesty’s letter.  This does a huge disservice to doctors in Ireland who work hard on a daily basis to maintain our impressive international record.
“Today’s open letter represents a further attempt by Amnesty to comment only on carefully selected aspects of the abortion debate. When an article appeared in a prominent newspaper last week, highlighting the fact that babies who survive abortion attempts are left to die alone in hospital corners, there was no open letter from Amnesty.  The public will be asking why a group set up to protect human rights is not insisting that abortion providers explain this human rights abuse,” she concluded.


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Free vote on abortion will not reassure pro-life supporters, says PLC


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The Pro Life Campaign has said that the Taoiseach’s offer of a free vote on abortion will do little to reassure those who want to see unborn babies protected in Ireland.
Commenting earlier today, Pro Life Campaign Deputy Chairperson Cora Sherlock said:
“The Taoiseach’s comments have been reported as something dramatic and ground-breaking.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The suggestion that the abortion issue could be referred to a “Citizens’ Convention” will remind many of the charade in 2013, when expert evidence presented at two sets of Oireachtas Hearings was ignored by the Government who went ahead and introduced abortion.
“By all means, let the Taoiseach make a dramatic statement on abortion. Let him address the fact that repealing the 8th Amendment would mean removing the basic right to life from our Constitution. Let him explain why seriously ill unborn children are having their lives targeted by some members of his Government, including the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.  And let him address the serious human rights abuses that abortion has led to in other countries.  Answers to these questions, and others like them, are what the public really needs to hear,” she concluded.




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The Pro Life Campaign has taken issue with the Labour Party’s blinkered stance on abortion as presented at today’s press launch of its campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment.
Commenting on the launch, Deputy Chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign, Cora Sherlock said:
“The thing that stands out about today’s launch by the Labour Party is the complete absence of any mention of the unborn child’s right to life, the devastating effects of abortion on many women or the pressures that some parents are coming under to abort their baby when he or she is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition.
“Do they seriously think they can run and hide and ignore the grave injustice that abortion involves and its long-lasting effects? The horror of abortion and the hurt and heartbreak it causes cannot be sidestepped in this shameful way.”


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