The Crisis

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BACKGROUND TO THE PRO-LIFE CRISIS IN IRELAND:

International Planned Parenthood: 

the umbrella body for abortion providers worldwide, seeks through its affiliates here, to introduce an extremely liberal abortion regime to Ireland. The Irish government is campaigning for a no questions asked unrestricted medical abortion regime to 12 weeks to be run by family doctors / General Practitioners (G.P.s).

Even the U.K.’s ultra liberal abortion regime, stipulates at least on paper, that certain grounds must first be met before abortions can be permitted, however the Irish proposal to 12 weeks does not. Until March 26th this year, [1],  our government originally proposed abortions beyond 12 weeks all the way to birth / with no upper limits on serious mental / physical risk grounds, for the risk to the life of the mother and life-limiting conditions or so-called ‘fatal foetal abnormalities’ in the baby. This, with a two doctor model approach similar to the U.K..*

From March 27th, the General Scheme of the Bill on abortions was published and it is now proposed, to permit abortions  to viability, usually 24 weeks (when the baby has a 50:50 chance of survival), if there is a risk to life or of serious harm to the health mental or physical of the mother. See Head 4 of the Bill: page 7 of the General Scheme [2]

Ailbhe Smyth, long-time pro-choice activist expressed her disquiet on behalf of those for repeal.[3] They were unhappy that ‘serious harm’ would be too restrictive. However Dr. Peter Boylan who has been perhaps the most prominent promoter of repeal of the 8th among obstetricians, reassured her and the entire repeal movement stating: “I don’t really have a problem with them saying ‘serious risk’ because if the woman regards it as serious then it is. It should be the woman’s assessment of the risk that counts.”

In that case why even bother with the two doctor model? If serious risk is going to be self-determined by the woman requesting the abortion from 12-24 weeks, is it not likely that she will grant this to herself, making the entire exercise a farce? Yet apparently guidelines will be drawn up on the medical side to manage abortion requests after the 12 weeks outside of G.P. territory.

How will serious harm / risk to a woman’s health be determined medically?  A working group of obstetricians has been established to draw up guidelines.[4] Dr.Peter Boylan the chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will be responsible for overseeing the drawing up and implementation of the guidelines it seems. And he’s also publicly stated his intention to grant precedence to a woman’s determination of what she feels is serious risk / harm to her own mental or physical health up to 24 weeks.

Spoiler alert: The extremely restrictive rare abortions post 12 weeks, ain’t going to happen. Dr. Boylan is so used to getting away with lack of challenge that he has given the game away but is happy to deny it at the same time.

*The U.K. mental health risk ground /ground C on the HA1 abortion form, has been invoked in over 97% of 180,000 abortions in England and Wales from 2016 figures and the vast majority of over 9 million UK social abortions to date. The notion of the two doctor UK model has been dispensed with long ago, with abortions signed off on by doctors who do not see the woman until in theatre: (please see our post on day 54).

Down syndrome exemption?

The Irish government / pro-choice camp say babies are diagnosed with Down’s syndrome after 12 weeks. Therefore they will escape the unrestricted abortion limit to 12 weeks (unless aborted unbeknownst to anyone before 12 weeks, thus no discrimination there?!). The government also says they will be exempt from mid-trimester abortions as no ground for abortion of non-fatal disabililties will be permitted.

Mid-trimester abortions will otherwise be permissible on serious mental / physical health risk grounds by two nominated doctors as above. However in Germany, there is equally no ground for abortion of Down’s babies, yet 9/10 Down’s babies diagnosed on screening, are aborted under the mental health risk ground.(see day 37) The absence of a ground is meaningless without a ban while the all-embracing mental health risk ground exists. Here’s a simple equation which refutes the repeal arguments:

No ground + mental health risk + no ban = Down Syndrome abortion.

 

Last trimester Ban or is it?

The Irish government having announced they were dropping the ‘no upper limit’,  limit (?!), have since proposed a ban on abortions above 24 weeks of pregnancy / viability. Possible exceptions to the new 24 week limit proposed include serious risk to maternal life and serious harm to maternal mental or physical health that is deemed immediate and requiring an immediate abortion requiring only one doctor as opposed to the usual two,  as well as life limiting conditions, where babies may be still be aborted to birth. (See Head 5 pg 8 of the bill)

Zero legal protection:

In any case if the 8th amendment goes / is repealed, there remains zero legal protection for the Irish unborn to birth following a recent Irish supreme court decision that stripped any remaining rights other than the right to life enshrined in the 8th.[5] Recent attempts by the Irish government’s 2nd in command, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, to prevent further liberalisation of current government proposals including a possible reversion to the original ‘no upper limit’ scenario, failed miserably in the Irish parliament or ‘Dáil’ on the grounds of being unconstitutional.[6] Thus the door will be left wide open to this or future governments acting as they will. Having said that, a constitutional lawyer here has intimated that the total lack of constitutional protection to birth without the 8th in place, might permit a situation to unfold where any limitations in place could be challenged with nothing to underpin them.[7]

A thorn in the side for years:

International planned parenthood’s juggernaut, has targeted Ireland’s pro-life laws for many years as the jewel in the crown for the pro-life movement in general. This targeting despite Ireland having one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world without abortion.

Money is involved at many levels. Consider the revenue of Planned Parenthood America in 2016 which was 1.4 billion US dollars alone[8]. Consider a recent post on major abortion provider Marie Stopes U.K.’s bonus driven culture; (calling back women who’d already refused abortions to offer later appointments as a sales target: (see day 50) and consider a previous post on the flooding of Irish pro-abortion organisations such as Amnesty International Ireland with foreign funds from George Soros amongst others, accepted and kept illegally (see day 49). With a view to not only repealing the 8th amendment, but to specifically target any remaining countries with restrictive abortion laws including Poland….

 

[1] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/government-will-seek-to-ban-late-term-abortions-  1.3440056

[2]   http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/General-Scheme-for-Publication.pdf

[3] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/repeal-campaigners-fear-implications-of-serious-risk-proviso-6df3ndsbh

[4] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/obstetricians-to-agree-principles-if-eighth-amendment-repealed-1.3461242

[5] https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/unborn-does-not-have-rights-beyond-right-to-life-in-eighth-amendment-supreme-court-rules-36679324.html

[6] https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/simon-coveneys-plan-for-legal-lock-on-abortion-law-in-tatters-468838.html

[7] https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/supreme-court-has-given-us-a-clear-choice-in-abortion-referendum-1.3424134

[8] https://www.forbes.com/companies/planned-parenthood-federation-of-america/