So Ireland is to get an abortion law. I have very negative feelings about this.
One of the criteria used is, apparently, if the mother is suicidal. As the late Prof Tony Clare said, doctors have no special skills in predicting suicidality. Indeed, multidisciplinary risk assessments in psychiatry have at maximum a validity of a week, probably less.
The X case 20 years ago used a psychologist, a profession which in Ireland at that time had no regulatory body. Are psychologists now regulated? Are they to be given a say?
Turning to other criteria, such as the mother’s life being in danger, this is an area in which I have no particular expertise, but I believe it is a knee-jerk reaction to the tragic death of the Indian dentist in Galway, Savita Halappanavar.
I hate to criticise colleagues, but it appears that her care fell below best standards. Would she be alive if she had been airlifted to Holles Street or the Rotunda/Coombe? ‘Retrospectroscoping’ is easy but the question must be asked.
Finally, of course, is the question of what the world will think of us. As a nation, Ireland has nothing of which to be ashamed. We are respected and indeed loved throughout the world, in part for our respect for human life, and our instinctive empathy with the underdog.
We have, in part due to the Catholic Church, a moral compass, which just to look at our nearest neighbour is something which we should not lightly forego.
Cardinals and bishops are not just people who wear funny hats but also care deeply to preserve a morality that has served us well for centuries and made Ireland a special place.
If you agree, lobby your TD now.
Dr Patrick Riordan