Irish Health Minister wants abortion sooner
14 August 2018
Republic of Ireland Minister for Health Simon Harris reportedly called for an interim abortion law.
Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris said he wants to allow certain parts of the legislation to come into effect in advance of abortion services beginning in January.
In a statement to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Simon Harris said he will look specifically at two areas of the legislation – the ability for a doctor to give information and referral, and the decriminalisation of women.
Government figures have denied that Minister Simon Harris was considering introducing an interim law to assist women who have received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality and to decriminalise women who procure an abortion, reports the Irish Times. The Government says it will seek to implement one piece of legislation, which will not be introduced until the legal challenge to the referendum result concludes.
Presently, the law remains the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which states abortion is only legal when a mother’s life is at risk.
In a 2016 interview with American pro-life group Live Action, former abortionist Dr Anthony Levatino commented:
"We hear all the time how abortion is necessary to save women's lives. Nothing can be further from the truth.
"I spent 9 years working at a tertiary medical centre [receiving referrals for high-risk pregnancies]. I saw hundreds of cases of really severe pregnancy complications: cancers, heart disease, toxaemia... and I saved hundreds of women from life-threatening pregnancies in those 9 years. I did that by delivering the baby [with a chance at life].
"In all those years, the number of babies I was obligated to deliberately kill was zero."
In 1992, Ireland’s foremost obstetricians stated: "As obstetricians and gynaecologists, we affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child."
"Don't make disability an issue", he said
In the run-up to the referendum on the eighth amendment, Simon Harris was reported as saying, that "the committee [considering the Eighth Amendment] did not recommend disability as a grounds for abortion nor do I think it should have, I would abhor that idea... it’s not grounds for an abortion. If you look at what the committee considered and what it accepted and rejected, the idea of abnormalities that are not fatal was not put in as a grounds for abortion."
SPUC's Dr Anthony McCarthy replied to this comment: "It is clear that the health minister wants to distance himself from the unpleasant reality that the proposed legislation would certainly lead to babies with disabilities being aborted simply because they are disabled. Bearing in mind that 'fatal foetal abnormality' is not a medical term, and most babies with life-limiting conditions do live for some time after birth, what he is actually saying is that babies with more severe disabilities than others do not deserve to live."
Read: "Our daughter would have been diagnosed as having a fatal foetal abnormality" (SPUC News, October 2016)
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