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Defending life
from conception to natural death


"Our daughter would have been diagnosed as having a fatal foetal abnormality"

26 October 2016

Kathleen Rose with her parents Tracy and Thomas Harkin. Photo: Belfast Telegraph

As abortion proponents protest outside Stormont and former Alliance leader David Ford seeks to introduce abortion in cases of "fatal foetal abnormality", a mother of a disabled child has spoken out against the use of the term.

Tracy Harkin wrote in the Belfast Telegraph about life with her daughter Kathleen Rose, who was diagnosed with Pateau syndrome shortly after birth. She says:

"If diagnosed before birth, she would have been labelled with those ugly, dehumanising words, 'fatal foetal abnormality' or 'incompatible with life'. Now two weeks after birth, and still alive and kicking, she was described as life-limited."

Mrs Harkin says that if other parents were offered better support, including perinatal hospice care, they wouldn't consider abortion. She also points out that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have said that "fatal foetal abnormality" is not a medical term.

"It also saddens me to think that for some legislators and campaigners, children like Kathleen Rose have less of a right to life than children without a disability."

Bid to immediately repeal the Eighth Amendment fails

A bid in the Irish Parliament to debate holding a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment has failed due to a compromise reached by the Government on Tuesday.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance- People before Profit party proposed a bill to hold a referendum to remove the equal right to life of the mother and unborn child from the constitution. However, the Fine Gael and Independent Alliance parties reached an agreement ensuring the bill does not process to the second stage. This is to allow the Citizens' Assembly, which is considering the issue, to complete its deliberations.

The agreement commits not to pass any motion on abortion while the assembly is underway. The timeframe agreed means that if a referendum were proposed by the assembly, it could not happen until at least 2018."

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