Citizens Assembly on abortion: 'If you let this genie out of the lamp you will not be able to put it back'

The Citizens Assembly is hearing opposing views on the abortion issue from advocacy groups today.

It is part of the Assembly's extended discussions on the future of the 8th Amendment this morning.

The Assembly is due to make a recommendation to the Oireachtas next month on the future of Eighth Amendment.

Citizens Assembly on abortion: 'If you let this genie out of the lamp you will not be able to put it back'

Citizens heard from Dr Orla Halpenny from Doctors for Life . She believes that there are no clinical reasons to put one life before another except in the case of an emergency.

"In pregnancy there are two patients, and with the exception of a medical emergency that threatens the life of the mother, there are no clinical reasons to put one life before the other."

Citizens heard from Professor Veronica O'Keane from Doctors for Choice who criticized the 8th Amendment.

"The presence of the 8th Amendment does do harm, it does significant harm not only to the mothers but also to babies or to children who might be born from unwanted pregnancies," she said.

Dr Anthony Levatino, a practicing obstetrician-gynaecologist and former abortionist who has performed over 1,200 abortions, warned about the grotesque reality of the procedure.

"If you let this genie out of the lamp you will not be able to put it back," he said.

He spoke about the fact that there will still be abortions even if abortions are illegal, but that it still doesn't make it "right".

He compared it to how it is illegal for a pregnant woman to sell Methamphetamine, but she may choose to do so anyway.

"Why not? Her body, her choice," he said.

"Just saying that something's a choice doesn't mean it's right. Everyone in this room knows it, we've all made good and bad choices."

Ms Annie Hoey, of Union of Students in Ireland, responded to a question about Dr Levatino's graphic descriptions of abortion procedures.

She called these kinds of descriptions "an attempt to frighten people and cause upset".

Watch it live here.

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