to May 25th and the referendum on whether to repeal the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution which gives equal right to life to mother and child in Ireland. Today the parliament passed the second stage of its abortion proposals.
Yesterday we discussed Sr. Briege McKenna’s appeal for Masses to be said privately or publicly in parishes in reparation for Ireland’s turning from God and for protection of the 8th amendment. Please consider getting Masses said locally or through this link to ACN:
http://www.acnireland.org/masses or call 01 837 7516.
Alternatively can you with other parishioners organise one or more Masses / half-days or days of prayer?
Down Syndrome Advocacy Groups….Fight.
Yesterday the 21st of March, was world Down Syndrome day. At the end of January this year,a controversy erupted in Ireland over images of Down syndrome children or adults being used in the debate on abortion. Not images of aborted Down syndrome babies to clarify. But images of Down syndrome people who live their lives like the rest of us.
The call to refrain from using these images came from the advocacy group Down syndrome Ireland. This was surprising at one level. They said:
“This is very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. It is also causing a lot of stress to parents. People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate.Down Syndrome Ireland believes that it is up to each individual to make their own decision about which way to vote in the upcoming referendum.
We are respectfully asking both sides of the campaign debate, all political parties and any other interested groups to stop exploiting children and adults with Down syndrome to promote their campaign views.
We would also like to remind campaigners on both sides of the debate that people with Down syndrome listen to the news and read media articles, including social media content. We ask that the tone of the debate is respectful towards all people with disabilities.”
9/10 Down syndrome babies diagnosed in utero are aborted in the UK. 98% in Denmark and 100% in Iceland. Michael O’ Dowd of the group ‘Disability voices for life’, said that they would not be silenced. He said: “People with Down Syndrome, people with disabilities are very much to the forefront of terminations that are taking place across Europe.It seems to me that Europe is almost sleepwalking into a situation where people with Down’s Syndrome will no longer be visible.” Michael continued:
“The campaign against us has been quite disturbing. During the debate in the Citizen’s assembly, I heard no voices challenging that recommendation or talking about how upset they were then. The Oireachteas committee (the cross-party health committee whose task was to study the recommendations of the citizen’s assembly and make their own recommendations on behalf of the Irish government) happily spoke about disability without inviting any representative organization in to counter the negative stereotypes that were being portrayed. Yet now when we as parents dare to challenge the real probability regarding termination of lives of people with disabilities we hear objections.”
The call by Down Syndrome Ireland to keep Downs out of the debate is ironic in that if Down’s does end up being screened out here through abortions, they will cease to exist. But maybe that’s too long term for them to be concerned about either from the point of view of their own jobs or the future of the Irish Down Syndrome community.
While it is understandable ‘Down Syndrome Ireland’ might worry about uncomfortable conversations emerging if Irish citizens with Down syndrome see and question why it’s a hot topic, it is noteworthy that they stayed silent when the citizen’s assembly, voted to permit abortion of Down’s babies diagnosed in utero to 22 weeks. The oireachtais / cross-party parliamentary committee later stated that there would be no specific ground for non-fatally disabled babies being aborted which pro choice activists are quoting left, right and centre to reassure the Irish that Down’s babies would be safe under this proposed legislation. But significantly no ban on Down’s babies being aborted will exist either…So does that matter?
Again, it cannot be overstated: 9/10 Down syndrome babies diagnosed in utero are aborted in the UK. 98% in Denmark and 100% in Iceland, 77% in France, 67% in the USA. And that is before the phenomenon of NIPT goes main-stream across the western world. NIPT or non-invasive pre-natal testing, is a simple screening blood test that predicts Down’s syndrome with 99% accuracy. It’s expensive and available privately in most countries, but the transition to a standard part of public health care is happening in some countries and the trend is one way.
At present, in Germany where there is no ground for abortion of non-fatal disabilities but no ban either (as is being proposed in Ireland) again, 9/10 Down’s babies diagnosed in utero, the vast majority of cases, after 12 weeks of pregnancy, are aborted but under the mental health risk ground. Just like the mental health risk ground being proposed here for abortions after 12 weeks and with no upper limit in law.
For a look at how Down’s babies are being screened out of the Icelandic population entirely, look at this CBSnews report: