29 days to go….Mass appeal….Who launched Inclusion Ireland’s pro-repeal campaign (part 3)

Dr Mark Murphy

29 days to go….Mass appeal…..Dr. Mark Murphy advocates for intellectually disabled women to be able to abort their babies at Inclusion Ireland’s pro-repeal launch.
Yesterday we examined Evie Nevins’s talk at a Kildare Pro Repeal meeting. Evie is the disability rights activist who advocates for abortion access rights and she made a number of negative comments regarding pro-life activism in relation to the billboards depicting Down Syndrome children with the statistic that 9 out of 10 are aborted in the UK (diagnosed pre natally) and also how the ground E abortions for severe disability in the UK are as low as 1 to 2% by way of arguing that those with disability will not be at higher risk of abortion/ discriminated against / screened out of the population. Yesterday we looked at the UK government’s last published data from 2016 where it was stated that a figure of 2% of disability abortions was probably underestimated by a half. This was only picked up by the Christian Medical Association doctor Dr Peter Saunders and it begged the question, if half of abortions on grounds of disability can be missed in official U.K. govt. data is the problem of under reporting even wider?
The third person who launched the pro-repeal campaign for Inclusion Ireland was Dr. Mark Murphy.
Dr. Murphy is the chairman of ‘Together for Yes’ campaign, a coalition of pro-choice / repeal groups. He is a G.P and a member of the group Doctors for Choice. He has co-signed a number of letters on behalf of Doctors for Choice to the Irish Times. Again in the Irish Times he stated at Repeal the 8th launch: “women with disabilities, like all women in the Irish State, should be able to make private, personal decisions about their own healthcare, particularly in a crisis”. He said it was very difficult for him, as a GP, to stand over the lack of access to care for his patients who had disabilities. He is a lecturer and head of communications in the Irish College of General Practitioners where other founding members of Doctors for Choice have been based.
[To get a flavour of where Dr. Murphy is on the catholic Church and how much he despises the Church, have a read of this:
It’s not clear if Dr. Murphy, like Suzy Byrne and Evie Nevins, had any dealings with Inclusion Ireland before the launch. If they did ….genuine apologies. If they didn’t, then, they were contacted by Inclusion Ireland, presumably by the C.E.O. Paddy Connolly and / or Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath, to launch a disability repeal campaign using Inclusion Ireland as a platform.
Minister McGrath also cites the fact that he is a father to Cliodhna, his daughter who has Down Syndrome in the context that there is a need to repeal the 8th. This is supposed to give credence to his and Paddy Connolly’s use of Inclusion Ireland as a front for a repeal campaign on behalf of those with disabilities.
As mentioned in previous posts, Minister Finian McGrath, contradicted himself when stating his rationale for wanting the 8th repealed. In one article he gave right-on statements, on how he wanted women with intellectual disability to have the right to choose, including abortion access. In another article, he stated that realistically, it is the family and the GP who make the decision in a crisis pregnancy and that abuse takes place in certain centres under the radar. The intellectually disabled woman doesn’t get a mention in the decision making process in that comment, nor does he elaborate on what abuse takes place. It appears no one enquired further what abuse and in what centres, he was referring to that resulted in crisis pregnancies in intellectually disabled women.
It’s likely that the good name of Inclusion Ireland was hijacked by Minister Finian McGrath and Paddy Connolly for the repeal campaign.
For an organisation, some of whose policy papers are taken with the issue of rights to sexual relations in the intellectually disabled, providing capacity to consent is established and consent does take place, I wonder how many members of Inclusion Ireland were consulted on using the organisation as a platform for repeal?
How many family members or is that irrelevant? How many of the intellectually disabled themselves, deemed to have capacity were brought through what is at stake if the 8th is repealed,  before the organisation went public on their behalf, advocating that if any of their female clients got pregnant, they would be able to access abortions in Ireland?
Is this not another example of the minister having his cake and eating it? He and other activists choose for the intellectually disabled, saying it’s best to for them to have access to abortion on a wider scale. He also advocates for them having the right to sexual relations if consent is genuinely given at least in theory, but says the G.P. and family members make a decision on the ground in a crisis pregnancy? ( If he was only talking about those who can’t consent he didn’t clarify that which would have been critical)?
Were board members of Inclusion Ireland who include self-advocates / people with intellectual disability consulted on the launch and if so what were they told or how were they told what repealing the 8th meant? Did someone from a non-directive counselling perspective advise the board members? Did they have someone from both sides talk to them for balance and voted?
Otherwise if they didn’t consult their membership, it’s paternalistic and against the spirit of what they say they advocate for. Perhaps the following did not enter their heads, but it may have been a safer bet to choose an organisation representing intellectual disability as it was unlikely that the client base of intellectually disabled would rise up in arms about it if they did disagree.
Or is that discriminatory of us to suggest that?
Separately, even though Evie Nevin and Suzy Byrne have physical disabilities and they say they want to be treated equally, they were also happy to advocate for the intellectually disabled to have abortion access among the wider body of those with disabilites. Maybe they did act in trust, but really, did anyone think of checking with the intellectually disabled?  Remember these are the clients Inclusion Ireland are agitating for to have rights to sexual relations.
For that matter, why weren’t other disability groups chosen?
Was it just Minister Finian McGrath’s personal bias kicking in? (Is it the case that at some level he has already established in his mind that if ever his daughter had a crisis pregnancy,  she would be best having an abortion?)
Perhaps the other disability groups weren’t playing ball?
Did he consult any of them?
We did. We contacted the national ones listed on the HSE disability groups page.
The following have stated they don’t have any position on the referendum:
The National Council for the Blind (N.C.B.I.)
Enable Ireland,
The National Disability Authority,
Down Syndrome Ireland.
Special Olympics Ireland said to give them a call to discuss it. But they have not taken a position.
Others did not respond though they were contacted twice. If they had a position, one imagines they would have responded to an open question or have flagged it on their websites.
While pro-repeal people could argue that other disability groups didn’t get involved as Inclusion Ireland was already doing the job for them, is it not more likely that the launch was signed, sealed and delivered based on the personal paternalistic bias of Minister McGrath with C.E.O. Paddy Connolly, who got a pro abortion ideologue in Dr. Murphy and two very eloquent physically disabled rights activists to talk about where they are coming from?
Either treat the intellectually disabled as people capable with capacity or don’t and just openly make decisions for them (Inclusion Ireland advocates that capacity to consent to sex should be presumed in the first place in the intellectually disabled, not the other way round which they feel would be discriminatory. But they also say that if sexual relations are happening, that that is okay once capacity and consent is established. We’re not sure when capacity and consent is established in relation to sexual activity in the intellectually disabled) . Don’t just advocate for them when it suits Inclusion Ireland / Minister McGrath.
You can’t have it both ways…

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