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Laws will make abortion ‘pervasive’ in Ireland: Warning from pro-life TDs

A cross-party group from both sides of the border says real-life examples illustrate the ‘floodgates’ effect.

Of the 10 Oireachtas members on the pro-life trip, six were from Fine Gael - including TD Peter Mathews.
Of the 10 Oireachtas members on the pro-life trip, six were from Fine Gael - including TD Peter Mathews.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A CROSS-PARTY GROUP of pro-life politicians has written to every member of the Oireachtas, telling them it is almost inevitable that legislation for abortion – even in limited circumstances – will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of abortions.

The group says no country has introduced any laws allowing abortion – “no matter how well intentioned” – and been able to limit the procedure to limited cases.

The group – featuring 10 members of the Oireachtas, two MLAs from the Northern Ireland Assembly, and one Northern Irish MP – says this is “especially” the case when those countries have allowed abortions to be carried out on the basis of a risk of suicide.

A memo written by the group to every member of the Dáil and Seanad, seen by TheJournal.ie, follows a “research visit” to the United States where the politicians met with eight senior pro-life figures from the legal, medical and religious fields.

The politicians – including four TDs and two senators from Fine Gael, three senators from Fianna Fáil, one independent TD, one member of the SDLP and two from the DUP – said their visit had led them to conclude that any legislation for abortion would, in effect, allow for a much more liberal abortion regime.

They wrote:

For example, the Therapeutic Abortion Act in California was enacted in 1967 on the strict grounds of ‘where the mother was a danger to herself’. The legislation included oversight by registered psychiatrists, yet within three years the number of abortions in the state had risen from 518 to over 63,000.

Similar evidence exists in the UK, France, New Zealand and Chile to name a few. The experience of judicial activism being used to widen abortion law was highlighted.

Legislation will lead to ‘pervasive’ abortion culture

They added that any legislation allowing abortion, irrespective of how inflexible it was, would lead to a social shift in the perception of pregnancy.

“Once abortion legislation is introduced everything changes,” their memo writes. “An abortion culture becomes pervasive.

While the number of young people opposed to abortion is growing substantially, the practice of abortion has become so commonplace that some families practice gendercide, i.e. the aborting of unborn babies that doesn’t suit their preferred family make-up.

The politicians said they had been shown video evidence from a family planning clinic in the US where abortion was openly discussed and facilitated in this regard.

The memo written to TDs and Senators also says that abortion had not ‘empowered’ women but actually resulted in pregnant women being put under social pressure, asked to make choices to “promote short-term convenience ahead of the real long-term interests of women”.

It also discusses the need for “hopeful solutions” for women – specifically listing the provision of “women’s care centres, attitudinal change, more accountable fathers, more understanding families and workplaces”.

‘Irony’ of abortion while more seek adoption

The politicians said they noted what they called the “irony” of abortion rates being relatively high while waiting lists for adoption continue to lengthen.

They also added that their findings underlined evidence to the Oireachtas hearings on abortion, which was told that abortion had never been identified as an appropriate medical treatment to stop suicidal ideation.

The six Fine Gael participants on the trip were TDs James Bannon, Terence Flanagan, Peter Mathews and John O’Mahony, and senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy Eames.

Three Fianna Fáil senators, Jim Walsh, Brian Ó Domhnaill and Paschal Mooney were joined by their former party colleague and now independent TD, Mattie McGrath. There were no Labour or Sinn Féin representatives on the trip.

The three Northern Irish representatives were Ian Paisley Jr MP and Paul Givan MLA, from the Democratic Unionist Party, and Pat Ramsey MLA of the SDLP.

The trip was paid for by the pro-life lobby group Family & Life, and saw the politicians visit New York and Washington while the Oireachtas was on recess for the St Patrick’s Day festivities.

In full: TheJournal.ie‘s coverage of the abortion debates

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Gavan Reilly

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