Former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness (above) addressed the Joint Committee On Health And Children hearing on abortion legislation this afternoon.
This is what she told them.
Judge Catherine McGuinness “Doctors are not asking to be allowed to abort children who perhaps are suffering from Downs Syndrome or something like that, it’s not about that. It’s about questioning, the timing and when the child is already destined to death in the womb and that is still, I think it’s highly doubtful what the law will be.
Professor [William] Binchy [Pro-life campaigner who had spoken earlier] has said that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to have no requirement for due care for the child. I don’t believe that legislators are going to bring in laws that would approach it in an uncaring manner like that.
I think that you have the opportunity, if you are approaching it as you suggest you’re going to, by having an outline law and regulations that you have the opportunity to which you should do, is to look at the questions with due care for the child, as balanced, as is required against the life of the mother.
That can be dealt with in the regulations. And, in the end, when we look at the values of Irish society, and whether you’re going to change them, I think that you understand that what I’m saying is that our values are considerably more subtle than you might think, when you look at, overall, what we do about life as opposed to what is a sort of ideal, which we’ve said before is and then when we come up to the human dilemma, what do we really do about it?
And I would say that, I really do plead with you not to be too affected by a kind of bullying approach, or, from either side of the question, from either the ultra liberal who are depicted as pro-abortion or from the extreme, what describes themselves as pro-life, who are trying to narrow the law, and think about where the middle ground is and what the main, majority of your constituents feel.”