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False Facts? Kate O'Connell is getting it badly wrong in the abortion committee

The Oireachtas Committee on Abortion is in shambles, with two politicians, Mattie McGrath TD and Rónán Mullen, threatening to withdraw because of the extraordinary bias shown in calling 20 pro-abortion witnesses versus just 3 pro-life speakers.

Mattie McGrath has described the whole thing as a farce and an “insult to democracy”. And so it is. The ignorant and arrogant attitude of members of the Committee to pro-life witnesses is downright embarrassing.

Pro-abortion TDs are also in full denial of the reality of abortion.

Last week, pro-abortion TD, Kate O’Connell accused her Fine Gael colleague, Peter Fitzpatrick TD, and other Committee members, of ‘telling untruths’ and “just putting out lies” when they raised concerns about the implications of repealing the 8th amendment during the Oireachtas Committee hearings.

She made these assertions after TDs told the chamber what was known about the development of the baby in the womb and raised issues such as the horrifying percentage of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted.

The Chair of the Oireachtas Committee, Senator Catherine Noone, allowed these aggressive and unfounded accusations to be made. When Mattie McGrath TD later asked Senator Noone to ask Deputy O’Connell to withdraw the remarks she refused.

But what did pro-life TDs say that so enraged Kate O’Connell, and were those pro-life politicians correct in their assertions?


The facts show that they were.

1. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick said that 90% of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted in the UK. That is an indisputable fact.

The National Down Syndrome Cytogenic Register (NDSCR) for England and Wales for 2013  shows   this to be the case. A British Parliamentary Inquiry (2013)  also verified this tragic fact, and also reported that parents often felt under pressure to abort their baby after a diagnosis of a disability.

Most recently, a remarkable BBC documentary on the issue – ‘A World Without Down Syndrome’ – showed the terrible, heartbreaking reality regarding the relentless eradication of babies with Down Syndrome, and made the case for a better understanding and acceptance for people with disability.

Perhaps Deputy O’Connell and the other pro-abortion Committee members could take the time to watch that compelling documentary here.


2. Deputy Fitzpatrick also said that the preborn baby’s heart started to beat three weeks after conception. 

According to respected embryology textbooks, such as Moore, Persaud and Torchia, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (10th ed, 2016, p. 3, Figure 1-1 & p.62),  that is absolutely correct.

And Langmans Medical Embryology, (Ninth Edition, TW Sadler, 2003) says the same.

No false facts here so.


3. Mattie McGrath raised the issue of babies born after botched abortions. 

In Britain, the 2007 CEMACH 2007 Perinatal Mortality report, gathered from hospitals in England and Wales during 2005, reveal 66 babies survived abortion in one year alone, with one baby left breathing unaided for ten hours. Newspaper reports at the time noted that “guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends babies over 22 weeks which survive abortion should have their hearts stopped by lethal injection but this can be a difficult procedure for doctors.”

Professor Stuart Campbell, an eminent obstetrician whose 3D scan images of babies “walking in the womb” have garnered international attention noted that “there is also concern that babies with problems such as cleft palate or club feet are being terminated because they are not “perfect”.

Because of the furore surrounding the CEMACH report, the British Department of Health stopped reporting how many babies survived abortion each year.

According to a figures from Statistics Canada, a federal government agency, 491 babies were born alive following botched abortions during the period from 2000-2009 and left to die afterwards.

And in Queensland, in 2015 alone, 27 babies survived abortion but later died because they did not receive any life-saving treatment.


4. Peter Fitzpatrick was attacked because he said he believed that a liberalisation of the law could mean that abortion would be used as birth control. 

His concern appears to be based on the worrying statistics coming from other jurisdictions where abortion is legal. In Britain in 2016, one in every five babies was aborted.

The repeat abortion rate was a shocking 38%.

Ann Furedi, head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which performs 60,000 abortions every year in Britain, this year argued that abortion is “birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down “.

Perhaps Kate O’Connell and her pro-abortion fellow travellers on the Committee could take the matter up with BPAS.


5. In the October 11th session, Deputy O’Connell asked Dr Abigail Aiken if “this abortion regret thing that is bandied about” was “one of those made-up things”, showing a callous and breath-taking indifference to women who say that abortion caused them further trauma. Aiken, it should be noted, is an American who advocates for Women on Web, an outfit that distributes abortion pills, which are illegal in Ireland. Not exactly an impartial expert then.

Perhaps Deputy O’Connell could read the published research of Dr David Fergusson, a ‘pro-choice’ researcher who has found that women who had had abortions had rates of mental disorder that were about 30% higher.

Perhaps she could also take the time to talk to Women Hurt here in Ireland, to understand why they regret their abortions.

We can always live in hope, I suppose.


6. Professor William Binchy appeared before Committee where he made an excellent presentation.

Kate O’Connell did not really ask William Binchy questions, instead, almost spitting with rage, she attacked him for daring to have pro-life views, and accused him of being incorrect when he referred to the Citizens Assembly’s call to have abortion legalised for babies with disabilities.

She was wrong, again. The Citizens’ Assembly did, in fact, support legalising abortion for babies with “serious anomalies”- an additional demand to the one they made seeking abortion for babies with life-limiting conditions.

She also claimed that Ireland had a higher abortion rate than other countries. This was most bizarre.

Britain has an abortion rate of 21%. Ireland’s rate – obtained by adding the number of abortions to the number of births and then calculating the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion – is approximately 5%.

The media gave a huge amount of attention to Kate O’Connell’s unfounded accusations against pro-life TDs. Will they be as diligent in calling her out when she has been proved wrong in her assertions?

Don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of Irish people are learning through the Life Canvass which facts are true and pertinent to the debate.

The vote on the right to life of preborn children will be won at the doors. Join us on Saturday October 21st to Save the 8th. 



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