Response to bill


Bereaved parents 'relieved' Clare Daly's abortion bill failed to pass


Parents whose children have been diagnosed with life-limiting disorders such as anencephaly or Trisomy 13 have said that they are 'relieved' that the abortion bill proposed by Clare Daly TD was rejected by the majority of TDs in the Dáil.

Every Life Counts spokeswoman Tracy Harkin said that abortion was not a "progressive answer" for families facing a life-limiting diagnosis for their child and that the language used by Deputy Daly in her proposed bill was "outdated, discriminatory and a threat to all children with a disability".

Ms Daly's Bill sought to legalise abortion for unborn babies with a profound disability, although medical experts have pointed out that there is no agreed definition of so-called 'fatal foetal abnormalities', nor can they 'identify an agreed list of conditions that fit into this category'.*

Ms Harkin said that most of the families in the Every Life Counts** support group had lost their children to these conditions but they strongly believed that every child had a right to life and wanted to share that their own families had found great healing and love in having time with their children, however short their lives were, or severe their disability.

"This bill is so far behind the curve when it comes to providing best support for families that it should be rejected out of hand by every progressive person," said Ms Harkin.

"First of all, it uses the now outdated concept that a child is 'incompatible with life', when the medical literature shows that the term is misleading and offensive and should not be used in counselling".

"Secondly, the Bill ignores the fact that the most up-to-date research shows that most children diagnosed with a life-limiting condition do live after birth, and that their families are hugely helped by new supports such as perinatal hospice care, which gives the family precious time with their baby."

"Thirdly, Ms Daly and her fellow campaigners are targeting unborn children with a profound disability, and they are ignoring the evidence that shows there are no agreed list of conditions that fit into this category, meaning that the right to life of all unborn children with a disability comes under threat."

The Every Life Counts spokeswoman said the organisation had written to all TDs to urge them to reject the abortion bill, and to focus on providing better care for families instead.

"A new form of care for families where baby faces a very short life has emerged: perinatal hospice care, and it has made a huge difference to parents where offered," she said, noting that in one study some 85% of families availed of the care where it was made available in one US hospital.

Ms Harkin said that the death of a child was an enormous tragedy for any family and that Clare Daly's abortion bill did not recognise the hurt and lack of healing caused by abortion.