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Rónán Mullen says he doesn't believe aborted foetuses are 'debris'

The Senator says he was referring to the attitude of abortion providers.

Rónán Mullen ........
Rónán Mullen ........
Image: Twitter

SENATOR RÓNÁN MULLEN has said that he was not referring to aborted foetuses as ‘debris’ in a newspaper column that provoked anger over the weekend.

In an article about abortion in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, Mullen was speaking about expectant woman who have been presented with a diagnosis of foetal abnormality.

He wrote:

We were told how tragic it was for them to have to go to England for an abortion, and that they had to use a courier to bring their baby’s body back for burial. Doesn’t that sad little story, in which a sick unborn baby was denied the dignity of being allowed to reach a natural end, illustrate how heartless abortion providers are? Whether it’s in Dublin or Durham, the contents of an abortion are debris – not the kind of thing you put into a coffin and grieve over.

His arguments and particularly the words he used were criticised by families who have experienced bereavement following a fatal foetal abnormality.

Mullen was accused of a ‘heartless attack on the bereaved’ by Terminations for Medical Reasons, a group which campaigns for legal abortions in cases of fatal foetal anomalies.

The group also pointed out that some of the families they represent have met with Mullen and that he ignored their grief.

Speaking on the Anton Savage Show on Today FM, Mullen responded to the above quoted paragraph saying that he was not outlining his own view but that of abortion providers.

“Clearly, and I think it’s very clearly expressed, you could even say ‘as they see it’, but what I’m saying is the abortion providers are pretty heartless people and they are not in the coffin business,” he said.

On the show, Mullen then engaged in a lengthy debate about fatal foetal abnormalities, arguing that unborn babies in such circumstances should be able to reach a “natural end”.

He said that his views are not merely his own but also of other families such as those represented by groups such as One Day More.

Asked about the reaction to his article, Mullen said that he was in England yesterday so didn’t hear most of it but that he tends “not to check the social media”.

“I don’t tend to check the social media but I am told that people were angry on social media,” he said.

I think both on social media or phone-ins you bring out the campaigners on both sides, and good luck to them. But I suppose I would much rather if you were speaking to one of those families I’m representing here today like One Day More and in fairness I think you’d have no problem in doing so.

“I’m sorry that I’m a man but what I’m actually trying to do is speak about a human right’s issue and speak up for the vulnerable,” he added.

Earlier this year, Ireland was told by the UN Human Rights Commissioner that its restrictive abortion laws that force woman to travel abroad are discriminatory.

Read: ‘Any politician that says repealing the Eighth doesn’t come up on the doorsteps is living in cloud cuckoo land’ >

Read: Make no mistake, today’s March for Choice is just the beginning of a long ground war >

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Rónán Duffy

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