Not Appropriate


repro Cora(Johanna Westeson, top, from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life campaign, above)

Today, the campaign group Terminations for Medical Reasons will take their petitions alleging human rights violations to the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to pregnant women diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormalities who have to travel outside of Ireland for terminations.

Last night James Burke, from the TFMR, and Clíona Johnson, from One More Day, appeared on RTÉ’s Prime Time. last night

They both told of their respective decisions when James’ wife Amanda and Clíona found out they were expecting a child with a fatal foetal abnormality. James and Amanda’s daughter had Edward’s Syndrome while Clíona’s son had anencephaly.

Amanda travelled to Liverpool for a termination. Clíona went full term here in Ireland and gave birth to her son before he died.

RTÉ presenter David McCullagh then invited Johanna Westeson, from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which has its headquarters in New York and is helping the TFMR with theirs petition, to speak. Ms Westeson was followed by Cora Sherlock, from the Pro-Life Campaign.

Ms Westeson, top, said Clíona had very important things to say. She also said nobody from the Center for Reproductive Rights or TFMR would tell a pregnant woman with a fatal foetal abnormality to have a termination. But she said any woman in Ireland must be given the option to have such a termination in this country, instead of having to “run off to another country like a fugitive”.

Ms Sherlock said:

“I think that every family has the right to meet their baby and I think what we’re seeing in this debate is the ongoing failure of this government to put those kind of facilities in place. As James said, we need to have separate facilities so that women who find out that their babies are terminally ill can go an meet other women in that position and get the kind of support. We need to look around the world, and see what’s happening in other countries, like in the US for example. I would encourage your viewers to go on to YouTube after this programme and look at a programme called 99 Balloons. It talks about Eliott Mooney who only lived for 99 days but it shows a kind of connection, as Clíona was talking about between mother and baby, that can, you know, create over that time. And also the fact that he went on to inspire his parents. When Eliott finally died, his parents were inspired to do a lot of work with disabled babies, in the aftermath.”

She then continued:

“Can I just make one other point, David. I’m quite concerned to see the Center for Reproductive Rights getting involved in this debate because what the viewers at home may not know is that they are very involved in campaigning for abortion rights throughout the world. So, you know, this is something that we are dealing with, in this country. We need to have a proper debate about how we’re going to address the situation and how we’re going to give support for families. And I just think it’s not really appropriate for an internationally-funded group to come in and get involved in that event.


You may recall how last December, the Sunday Business Post reported:

“The American Pro-Life Action League has said Irish pro-life groups are set for a significant financial boost as a result of fundraising campaigns across the US. The national director of the American Pro-Life Action League has said that Irish pro-life groups are set for a significant financial boost as a result of fundraising campaigns across the United States. Joseph Scheidler told The Sunday Business Post that members of the league, which has been active since the 1980s, would also be travelling to Ireland to take part in anti-abortion protests here. He said the donations involved could amount to several hundred thousands of dollars, and that a significant amount of the money raised would go to Youth Defence.”


Prime Time debate here from 35.40.

Hat tip: Fluffybiscuits