Pro-life activists will hold vigils across the country tomorrow demanding that the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, investigate and take action on the revelations regarding late-term abortion in Ireland published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
A study published in the BJOG confirmed that unborn babies are being aborted using the feticide procedure in Irish maternity hospitals, where the baby receives a lethal injection of potassium chloride into the heart. Doctors whose experiences were recorded by the BJOG paper revealed they thought the procedure was "brutal" and "awful", with one saying it was like "stabbing the baby in the heart". Another doctor is quoted as saying “I remember getting sick out in the corridors afterwards because I thought it (feticide) was such an awful procedure and so dreadful".
The study also said that doctors were “unclear as to who will look after these babies” if a baby is born alive following an abortion. They said this situation resulted in them “begging people to help” them in providing palliative care.
The study was raised in a topical issues debate in the Dáil yesterday. Minister Stephen Donnelly failed to show up in the chamber to answer questions from TDs who said that he needed to take urgent action on what they described as "shocking" and "barbaric" practices being carried out in Irish hospitals.
"There can be no cover-up in relation to these absolutely appalling revelations and the horrific treatment of babies in late-term abortions," said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute who are organising the pro-life vigils.
"During the 2018 referendum, voters were assured that late-term abortions would not take place. They were told that in the case of an advanced pregnancy and where the baby had a severe anomaly, the baby would simply be delivered. This study has shown those claims to be untrue. The paper notes that "Ireland’s legislation is without gestational limits so creating opportunity for late TOP (termination of pregnancy) following FFA (fatal foetal anomaly)". The horrific reality is that babies are being given lethal injections into the heart in late-term abortions and babies are also surviving abortions and not receiving care," she said.
"We will not allow the Health Minister to sweep this under the carpet. He must investigate and then he must take action to stop this barbaric practice from happening," she said.
Opening yesterday's debate, Mattie McGrath, Independent TD for Tipperary said that the reaction of doctors who are carrying out late-term abortions made for "grim reading". He said what was revealed in the paper, produced by researchers in UCC, was shocking, unspeakable and had to end. He added that Simon Harris dismissed concerns from TDs on this issue in 2018.
Carol Nolan Independent TD for Laois Offaly said TDs were assured that babies would never be born alive after abortion and left without care but that it was now happening. "What are you going to about this?" she asked the government, adding that it was shameful that the Health Minister was not here to take questions. "It's barbaric and shameful." she said.
The pro-life protests will take place in Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, Navan, Trim, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford and other centres.
The events will observe social distancing.
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