The LoveBoth campaign has claimed the Irish public are being consistently and seriously misled about the nature of the abortion proposal facing the nation.
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today the group stated that the level of misinformation has now reached a new high and cited what they called 'deliberate misinformation' about the Irish health care system, what is contained in the proposed abortion legislation and the impact of abortion on demand on the disabled community and families with disabilities.
Cora Sherlock of LoveBoth said she was now calling for an end to this "tsunami of misinformation and manipulation".
"The debate on the Eighth Amendment has to be grounded on fact and on what is actually being proposed by the government, and the reality of abortion in neighbouring countries.
"Anything less than frank, open and factual discussion is an insult to the Irish people. Recent statements from leading politicians are deliberately misleading the Irish people about the removal the most important right from our Constitution.”
Joining her at the press conference consultant obstetrician Dr Trevor Hayes also hit out at recent commentary around maternal healthcare services in Ireland.
“In my many years of medical practice I have never been prevented by the Eighth Amendment from doing everything necessary to fully care for women and to fully protect them in my practice.
"Any suggestion that Irish doctors cannot intervene to protect women is deliberately misinforming the Irish public and creating unnecessary fears. I’ve never gambled with the lives of my patients. I’ve never lost a mother. The Eighth Amendment has never prevented me from doing my job to the best of my ability.”
He continued: “Professional guidelines for obstetricians are very clear, there is no doubt whatsoever nor should there be any doubt that we can intervene to protect the life of women, doctors do not have to wait until the threat to life has become imminent.”
“I am very concerned that recent weeks have seen significant and untrue public statements about the practice of maternal healthcare in this country. No doctor doing their job properly would wait until there is an immediate and critical threat to a pregnant woman’s life before acting to protect the woman, the Eighth Amendment does not stop me from doing my job. Never has and never will.
Ms Sherlock went on: “In recent days, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has been deployed by the government to cheerlead for abortion on demand.
"Speaking in Cork, Simon Coveney assured the Irish public that there are “restrictions” contained in the government’s abortion on demand plan. He referred to “counselling", “secondary scans" and that women would be offered “alternatives to abortion. However, none of these so-called ‘restrictions’ actually appears in the published bill at all."
Ms Sherlock said the only relevant consideration is what is in the bill.
Speaking on the issue of disability and abortion, One Day More campaigner Liz McDermott said the electorate should not lose sight of the fact that a medical test exists and is available in Ireland which allows a 99% accurate detection of Down Syndrome in an unborn baby at 10 weeks.
"The government is planning to allow abortion without any reason up to 12 weeks. In countries where abortion on demand is available, up to 90% of unborn babies with Down Syndrome are aborted every year. There is nothing in the Government’s abortion plan that would stop exactly the same pattern happening here in Ireland.”
“Simon Harris and the Taoiseach need to explain why this staggering rate of abortion of disabled people would not happen in Ireland if the human rights protection of the Eighth Amendment was removed.
Call to register
Meanwhile, the Together for Yes campaign will have a photocall at 11am tomorrow to mark the final call for the #Register4Yes campaign
Authors Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght will urge young voters to get their registration forms in the post by Friday to meet the May 8 deadline so that they are eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum. They will be joined by young activists and other guests.
- Digital Desk