Protect the 8th meeting in the Grand Hotel Wicklow this Monday

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of WicklowNews.Net)

by Mary O’Toole

“My baby didn’t die so that abortion could be made legal”

A yes vote in the abortion referendum would be an enormous mistake that the country would regret, a meeting in Wicklow next Monday will hear.

The meeting will take place in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow, on Monday 9th April, at 7.30pm. The line-up of speakers for the meeting, which is jointly organised by the Save the 8th and Protect the 8th campaigns, includes Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Patricia Casey, GP Dr. Anthony Reilly, Journalist John Waters, and Vicki Wall, whose daughter Liadan died shortly after birth from a life-limiting illness. A large crowd is expected to gather on the night, to hear the speakers discuss the genuine concerns that many Wicklow voters have about the referendum.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Vicki Wall said that her own story had shown her the love and compassion that Irish people have, and how important she feels it is to preserve that culture:

“When we found out that Liadan had what some people call a fatal foetal abnormality, it was like having your hopes and dreams run over by a truck. You learn that this most wanted, most loved, most dreamed about child will not live, and you just can’t breathe with the grief.

For us, abortion was never even a question. Liadan was not destined to live a long life, but we were certain that she should see the light of day, even for a moment, and that she should breathe on her own, even for a moment, and that we should hold her hand while she lived, even for a moment. Those moments are so precious to us – we will treasure them forever.

There are some people who think – and they mean well – that legalising abortion would make it easier for families like ours. But abortion only does one thing – it kills. It doesn’t comfort. It doesn’t ease pain. It doesn’t make your child better again, it doesn’t mend a broken heart – it just stops a heart. And every child, even a dying child, is fighting for life. They’re fighting for the chance to see their mum and dad, to say hello, just before they say goodbye. It’s not compassion to deny them that chance. It’s not compassion to say to them ‘sorry, it hurts too much to see your face’. True compassion is for us all, as a society, to stand by the families that face these horrible situations and hold their hands. I would be horrified if people used Liadan as an excuse to legalise abortion, I really would. She didn’t die so that killing other unborn children could be made legal. That’s not what her life was about.”

Dr. Patricia Casey said that the Government’s plan would inevitably lead to abortion on demand:

“You have these tragic stories, like Vicki’s, and you have the horrible situations where women are raped, and your heart breaks” she said. “But those cases are 0.3% of all pregnancies in Ireland. The other 99.7% are  perfectly healthy babies, being carried by perfectly healthy women.”

“One of the things we are being asked to do here is to legalise the abortion of babies that have nothing wrong with them, for any reason, for the first three months, and on UK style ‘health’ grounds after that.

These babies are healthy. They’re normal, they’re growing, and we’re being asked to legalise the killing of them for any reason. I just think that is wrong, and I think many people, even those with concerns about the hard cases, agree with me. Leo Varadkar himself said that when you go down this road, it inevitably leads to abortion on demand. We should take him at his word, and vote No.”

Dr. Anthony Reilly, a GP, will address the medical facts around the 8th amendment:

“You often hear people complain that  ‘pregnant women cannot access treatment because of the 8th amendment.’ With the greatest of respect, that’s simply untrue. The reality is that our safety record for mothers in pregnancy is world class, consistently better than the UK and the United States.

The 8th amendment means that we recognise the respect due to both mother and baby and never intentionally set out to kill an unborn child. If a woman needs treatment, she is never denied that treatment despite the fact that unfortunately it can sometimes have harmful and even fatal consequences for the baby.  What is proposed by the government, however, is something altogether different: the deliberate killing of a baby for no medical reason whatsoever. This is totally unjustifiable and should never be classified as healthcare.

I hear people saying ‘ah, but sure it’s happening anyway’. In fact, we have the lowest abortion rate in Europe. About one in 12 to one in 15 pregnancies in Ireland end in abortion as opposed to one in every five in the UK. Wherever liberal abortion regimes such as that proposed by the government have been implemented, the abortion rate has risen dramatically. When something is made legal, it gains acceptance. Repealing the 8th amendment will undoubtedly cost thousands of lives every year.

When a pregnant woman attends my practice, I am conscious that I am treating 2 patients and I have a grave duty of care to both.  Medicine in Ireland has a proud tradition of caring for both mother and baby. A fundamental principle of medicine is ‘1st do no harm’.  Deliberately ending the life a patient is a proposal that is utterly macabre and unworthy of any doctor. The future integrity of General Practice and medicine in general in Ireland is on the line in this referendum.

I hope with every fabric of my being that the Irish people will vote to retain the 8th amendment. It is an excellent constitutional provision. It protects women, and it protects the unborn. It doesn’t stop us caring for women to the highest possible standard. As a doctor, I’m asking people to say No on May 25th.”

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of WicklowNews.Net)

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