62 days to go….Mass appeal…Down’s abortions: No ground, no ban, no good.

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 or replace it with unrestricted medical abortion to 12 weeks and abortion with no upper limit envisaged on mental / physical health risk grounds.


Yesterday as with everyday, we mention 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 and medically safe fasting, even from one meal a day? If you are organising something, can you let us know through the contact page and like and share us on the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/irishunborn?


Yesterday we also looked at NIPT / non-invasive pre-natal testing, which private clinics are already offering in most countries, Ireland included, with ultrasound testing for about 450 euros. It’s non-invasive in that it is a simple blood test done at week 9 or 10 of pregnancy depending on the company used. If positive for Down’s syndrome, it is 99% accurate.  It’s been introduced as part of pre natal screening in Holland, Denmark,  Belgium and France and is being introduced in Germany next year. The Panorama test done at week 9, here is back before week 11 which falls in the 12 week limit proposed for unrestricted medical abortion. The Harmony test is done at week 10 but depending on the pre-natal private clinic, the result can be back by week 11 or 12. NIPT is not at present available publicly in Ireland though the national health service in the UK, is researching incorporating it in the UK into their public pre natal screening at present. This suggests that in addition to women who opt for unrestricted medical abortions who don’t know they’re carrying babies with Down’s, some abortions of Down’s babies diagnosed with NIPT here, may happen inside the 12 week medical abortion limit. But as the majority of Down’s diagnoses are after 12 weeks, the issue is:

Are Down syndrome babies at risk after 12 weeks of pregnancy under the current government proposals for abortion if the 8th is repealed?

The answer is they are.

The second reason pro choice activists argue that Down’s babies will not be aborted under government proposals is because of the absence of any specific ground for Down syndrome compared with the UK where ground E of the 1967 abortion act permits abortion even to birth for severe disability.

As we remarked yesterday, the absence of a ground for abortion of disabled babies diagnosed in the late 1st or into the 2nd trimester of pregnancy is meaningless as no specific ban is included in the proposals. No ban means no protection as is seen in Germany where there is neither ground nor ban but 9/10 Down’s babies diagnosed, are aborted on the all-embracing mental health risk argument which is also the one proposed in Ireland for applications to doctors for abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

There appears to be a  perfect storm in the presence and absence of certain criteria for abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy that gives a false impression Down’s babies will be exempted from abortion in Irish proposals. This exemption in spite of recommendations of the citizen’s assembly to permit Down’s abortions after 12 weeks, is designed to ensure the 8th is repealed. Clearly the pro choice camp are concerned that inclusion of Down’s abortions could lose the repeal movement for them.

(1): After 12 weeks, women can have abortions under the mental health risk ground (which is the ground for 98% of almost 9 million social abortions to date in the UK: where woman are deemed to be better off from a mental health viewpoint not continuing an unwanted pregnancy than continuing it)

(2): No upper limit in law: limits on gestation will be decided by nominated doctors / best medical practice which in the countries where most of the current obstetricians trained: the US and the UK,  are up to birth in certain circumstances to include disabilties including Down’s syndrome.

(3): No ground for abortion: a smokescreen / red herring argument cited as the reason why Down’s babies will not be aborted after 12 weeks here by pro choicers

(4): No specific ban on abortion for non-fatal disabilities: meaning Down’s babies. There is no mention of / a deafening silence by the government on the absence of a ban on abortions of non-fatal disabilites to include Down’s.

Again, in Germany, 9 /10 Down’s babies diagnosed in the womb are aborted with the current pre-natal testing procedures available. These are done on mental health grounds as no ground for abortion of disabled babies exists in Germany because of their history, but because no ban exists either, it’s possible to have Down’s babies diagnosed after 12 weeks aborted. (Germany is looking to introduce NIPT next year too which will likely pick up more Down’s babies that would have been missed with current testing or where it is equivocal.) What is the chance those wishing to abort Down’s pregnancies won’t push to have them done here, particularly with our Irish politicians capacity for evolution on the subject?

Is it possible that the all party oireachtais health committee are unaware of the above? It’s possible but unlikely, but there again some may have known but not mentioned the risk deliberately to others whom they wished to sway….

On a much happier note, as a follow up to the gorgeous viral video yesterday of 50 Mums and Down’s syndrome children singing and signing to Katy Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’, here is the fantastic interview the mothers in the video gave to ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. When asked what message they’d send to parents who’ve just been told their unborn baby has Down’s they say: ‘Don’t worry. If I knew then what I know now I would have enjoyed that day.’

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