A demonstration by members of various ‘Pro-Life’ groups outside Leinster House calling for ‘fair coverage’ in media reporting of the abortion debate.
(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)
BBC Reporter Alys Harte
Abortion: Ireland’s Dirty Secret.
Ireland Stand Up writes:
This programme follows 24 year-old Tara as she travels to England for an abortion as well hearing from Sarah, who turned from being pro-life to a campaigner for change, after her first child was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.
[Reporter] Alys Harte believes these voices are a sign that the stigma surrounding abortion is lifting. But she is also struck by the determination of a new generation of pro-life activists, who want to retain the status quo. Gemma, 16, believes some people think it’s fine to have casual sex as they can just have an abortion, an attitude she doesn’t want in Ireland.
Alys hears from a consultant obstetrician working in Belfast who says that her advice to patients is clouded by fear. In Northern Ireland, doctors can be jailed for life for performing illegal abortions. The government even issued draft guidelines that threatened NHS staff with ten years in prison if they didn’t report suspicions of unlawful abortions to the police.
With unprecedented access to both pro-life and pro-choice campaigners as they take to the streets in both Belfast and Dublin, Alys Harte reveals the extreme lengths that young people are prepared to go to in order that their voices are heard in the debate.
Abortion: Ireland’s Dirty Secret on BBC 3 at 9pm.
SDLP compromise on abortion. http://t.co/C6mzYvoYWX
— Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) February 2, 2015
This year’s list has more scientists and more women working in the arts. And with more than a fifth of participants under the age of 25, these are not only women to take notice of now, but ones to watch in the future, too.
Just Pro Life activist and property solicitor Cora Sherlock (arrowed).
Fair play though in…WHAT!?
Thanks Fluffy Biscuits
Bernie Smith of Pro-Life group, Precious Life is interviewed in today’s Belfast Telegraph.
Q. Do you not think you are adding to a vulnerable woman’s distress by trying to make her feel guilty about her choice?
A. Let’s turn this around and look at child abuse. If there was a child abuser in a community is that not the responsibility of people in society to highlight how horrible child abuse is. Abortion is the ultimate child abuse and for a woman in that situation it couldn’t be made worse because there is nothing worse for a woman than to have an abortion. I have sat with women who were suicidal because they had an abortion because there was nobody to say to them beforehand there was another way.
Q. What about the young girl or woman who is suicidal because she doesn’t want to go through with the pregnancy?
A. Well what do we do when people are suicidal? Take a woman who has just given birth and she has postnatal depression. I suffered from severe postnatal depression and like many women I needed someone to help me through that difficult stage. Would eliminating that baby, killing that baby have prevented me from being suicidal? I needed medical intervention. In some cases women who are suicidal during pregnancy may even need to be institutionalised in some cases.
Q. Are you saying a woman who is feeling suicidal about their pregnancy and doesn’t want to continue with the pregnancy should be institutionalised?
A. Well if her life is at risk.
Q. So you would do this against her will?
A. Not against her will, but if someone’s life is in danger we immediately have to offer medical intervention. Abortion does not eliminate suicidal thoughts. Abortion causes suicidal thoughts. I don’t believe aborting a child for any reason is in anyway beneficial to that child.
Q. What about the young girl in the republic, raped and suicidal. Was it not cruel to force her to continue with her pregnancy?
A. Well how much more cruel would it have been to rip that child from her womb. A loving society offers support and help to women. If she was suicidal she should have received immediate psychiatric care and sometimes that involves medical intervention that would include hospitalisation and the proper medication. The right decision was made in this case not to abort the baby. She’ll never regret giving birth to her baby but she would have regretted an abortion.
Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent of The Guardian reports this evening:
Pregnant women in Ireland could be blocked from having an abortion even if they are at risk of suicide after conceiving as a result of rape or incest, under new guidelines issued to Irish doctors.
Experts warned that the Guidance Document for Health Professionals, which has yet to be made public but has been obtained by the Guardian, will give power to doctors, obstetricians and psychiatrists to prevent vulnerable women from terminating their pregnancies.
….The 108-page guide does not include provisions for an independent committee to make decisions on treating those with “suicidal intent”, which was a key demand among campaigners for reform…initial referral for women including those with “suicidal intent” begins with her own GP.
If the GP agrees, he or she will refer the woman to three doctors – including one obstetrician and two psychiatrists – who will decide whether there is a real risk to the woman’s life through suicide. If her request is rejected, she will go through an appeal system involving another two psychiatrists and another obstetrician….
(Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)
Legal Consultant to the ‘ProLife Campaign’ Caroline Simons (
centre third left) with supporters (from left) Catriona Heffernan, Cora Sherlock, Seana Stafford, Maria Fogarty and Catriona Curran in front of a billboard for their new ‘Simple Truth’ campaign in Dublin, on the anniversary of the Government passing the Protection of Life During Pregnany Act.
Simple truth, you say?
(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)
The Life Institute has produced a list of candidates [after consulting only Direct Democracy, Fianna Fáil,
the Green Party and Independents] for the local elections who they claim support the following statement:
Do you support the repeal of the legislation which permits abortion on suicide grounds, and support making Ireland a place where unborn children are legally protected and mothers get all necessary life-saving treatment in pregnancy?
Of the 157 (now 163) candidates listed, 144 (now 148) are male and 13 (now 15) female.
This means approximately 92% (now 91%) are men.
Make of that what you will.
Download the list here (last updated 11:00 May 23).
The Life Institute’s guide to the European election is here.
Previously: Ballyhea Says No