12 november 2014
Thousands of Get Well cards, messages and gifts for the baby at the centre of the abortion controversy will be delivered to the Department of Health today for the attention of Minister Leo Varadkar at 12.30pm.
The baby was forcibly delivered prematurely at just 25 weeks gestation when his mother said that she was suicidal and sought an abortion. Called Baby Hope because of the public swell of opinion wishing him well, the baby boy was left fighting for life in a neo-natal ICU.
Maria Mhic Meanmain, whose first child was born prematurely, said the delivery was being made today because it was the best estimate of Baby Hope's due date, and that the thoughts and prayers of those who sent cards and gifts were also with the baby's mother.
"This was the first reported use of the abortion act and clearly, it was shown to absolutely fail both mother and baby," she said.
"In January 2013, at the Government’s own hearings on abortion, every single psychiatrist called to testify stated that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal thoughts in pregnancy. It was acknowledged that the treatment for suicidality is to make sure that women are safe, and that they have appropriate support, medication and psychological treatment."
"Baby Hope’s mother should have received correct and evidence-based medical care to treat her mental health suffering. Terminating her pregnancy on the basis of suicidal feelings is not the appropriate treatment, as per all of the medical evidence. This woman and her baby were both was failed by the State, who are forcing doctors to practice bad medicine."
Ms Mhic Meanmain said that his story had struck a real chord with families right across the country who understood the implications of being born premature. "Experts tell us that babies born this prematurely really struggle, with only a 20% chance of being left unharmed by prematurity, and he may suffer complications such as blindness, cerebral palsy and chronic health issues," she said. She said that the baby boy had almost been airbrushed out of the picture in media discussions, but that people wanted to send messages of love and support.
"We've delivered thousands of cards and gifts today and there are thousands more online," she said. "People want both mother and baby to come through this, and they want Fine Gael to real this terrible abortion act," she said.
"Some of the messages have been very poignant and moving; there's a lot of compassion and good will for Baby Hope."
"Most Irish people see the rank hypocrisy of Fine Gael, who were busy telling us that 'every child matters' but have now caused so much potential harm to this child and his mother." said Ms Mhic Meanmain. "We join all those sending these best wishes to Baby Hope and his mother, and urge this government to see that there is always a better answer than abortion."
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