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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Leah Farrell/
the eighth

Ronan Mullen said his comment about Savita Halappanavar 'could be reworded'. Here's what he said

A defiant Mullen rejected all criticisms of his comments in a statement today.

SENATOR RONAN MULLEN has said that comments he made on the radio about Savita Halappanavar “could be reworded to more accurately express [his] meaning”.

Along with fellow committee member TD Mattie McGrath, Mullen has been a vocal critic of the Eighth Amendment Committee, claiming that other members are biased on the pro-choice side and it is not engaging with pro-life advocates and their views.

Mullen took particular aim at Dr Peter Boylan, who gave evidence to the committee last week that the Eighth Amendment has caused “grave harm to women”, citing Halapannavar’s case.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke Show last week, Mullen said:

Just consider this. Today, the media is full of the allegations from certain doctors that Savita’s death – God rest her – was caused by the Eighth Amendment. Three reports found that it was medical mismanagement of sepsis, which is quite common and women have died in abortion jurisdictions because of sepsis as well. None of these reports pointed to a change in the law. The doctors in the case didn’t try to hide behind the law.
If there was abortion on demand, she wouldn’t have been in the hospital because she wouldn’t have been pregnant and she wouldn’t have been having a miscarriage.

The comment about “abortion on demand” came in for sharp criticism, as there has never been any suggestion that Savita Halappanavar wanted to have an abortion until she fell gravely ill during her pregnancy.

In a statement today, Mullen said: “I would also like to take this opportunity to address allegations by others about my comments on Savita’s tragedy on Today with Sean O’Rourke last Thursday. My point was, and is, that claims that Savita would have been alive but for the Eighth Amendment are misleading.

It is chilling that any person lobbying for abortion, whether politicians or medical persons, would use the death of Savita Halappanavar to push for abortion… I acknowledge that one sentence used by me in the Sean O’Rourke interview could be reworded to more accurately express my meaning. But my meaning was clear anyway, both in the full context of that interview and in later radio interviews.

Mullen concluded that any criticisms of him “are not in good faith” and intended to deflect from his own criticisms of the Eighth Committee.

Today, Mattie McGrath stormed out of the committee, calling it a “charade” and its chair Senator Catherine Noone “biased” before exiting the room. Both he and Mullen have said over 20 groups “pushing for abortion” have been invited to attend the committee’s hearings “while only a handful of pro-life people have been invited“.

With reporting from Órla Ryan

Read: LIVE: ‘We signed for our baby’s remains like an Amazon delivery’

Read: Mattie McGrath storms out of ‘biased’ Eighth Amendment Committee

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