"Government and Yes Campaign are exploiting our pain to mislead the Irish people."
23 May 2018
"Hope came and graced us with her presence for nine days, she taught us all so many lessons about true love and acceptance.
This is about abortion on demand
A mother whose baby was diagnosed with a life-limiting genetic condition in the womb has said that the Irish Government is exploiting the pain of families like hers ahead of the abortion referendum.
On Friday, Ireland votes on whether to repeal the right to life of the unborn and allow the government to legislate for abortion. One of the main arguments from the Yes side has been that abortion is needed for women whose babies have been diagnosed with a "fatal foetal abnormality."
Using my pain
However, Sandra Caulfield, whose daughter Hope Rose was diagnosed with Edward's syndrome and died at nine days old, said last night that she is supporting a No vote.
She said: "I want people to understand that the government and the Yes campaign is using my pain and the pain of families like ours to legislate for abortion on demand, and I think that they are exploiting our pain to mislead the Irish people."
The full press conference can be seen here.
Abortion is not healthcare
Hope Rose was diagnosed with Edward's syndrome when Ms Caulfield was 14 weeks pregnant. She was given comfort care after being born at Mayo University Hospital last September, and spent the last three days of her life at home. Ms Caulfield said: "Hope came and graced us with her presence for nine days, she taught us all so many lessons about true love and acceptance. I will be eternally grateful for Hope's life."
She added: "How you can call abortion healthcare is beyond me. What I and Hope Rose received was proper healthcare."
She was not a fatal foetal abnormality
Other parents of babies with life-limiting conditions or other disabilities have also been speaking out against legalising abortion in their name. Liz McDermott of One Day More made a powerful intervention during RTE's last televised debate on the referendum last night, saying that abortion in these cases left no hope, just a dead child.
Vicky Hall wrote in the journal.ie about her experience of loosing her daughter Líadán, who also had Edward's syndrome. Referring to the dehumanising term often used for disabled babies with a limited life expectancy, she said: "She was not a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality, she was my baby, and she was perfect. Her life was short, but her life was full of the kind of love that you cannot express in words."
Exploiting abortion victims
Niamh Ui Bhriain, from the Save the 8th campaign, said that the Yes Campaign are also exploiting other difficult cases to legalise abortion on demand. For example, the case of "Ms C" a 13 year old rape victim who was taken to England for an abortion, is often cited as a reason abortion is needed. Ms C has said that she was given the abortion, which she regrets every day, without her consent, and is calling for a No vote.
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