Daughter ‘living proof’ of Eighth’s value

Catherina O’Sullivan, a psychiatric nurse, from Tralee, Co Kerry, says her daughter is “living proof” that the Eighth Amendment should be retained.

Ms O’Sullivan is one of more than 130 nurses and midwives who came together in Dublin yesterday to call on the public to vote no in the referendum on May 25.

“Had there been an abortion clinic in Kerry, had there been a doctor handing out pills in Kerry, I could have easily had an abortion and told nobody,” she said.

“I did not have an abortion, I had a baby. A child is the greatest gift that life has ever given me and I was so close to not accepting it. In Britain, and in other jurisdictions, women like me don’t think twice. Because it is normal. It is the done thing. It is what is expected of you.”

She fears that Ireland is very close to importing that culture that says life is not a gift, it is a problem.

To go down this road would be a horrendous, horrific mistake. I am somebody who came very close to having an abortion. I was a teenager and I was vulnerable.

“I listened to people tell me that my child would ruin my life and it would be easy to make the problem go away.

“If those people met my daughter today, I hope it would make them think that they would never advocate getting rid of her today — but they did back then.”

She said her crisis pregnancy influenced her career choice, because she knew how much support and care mattered to someone like her. “I learned the importance of being able to say to somebody that ‘you will get through this’. I did not want to hold someone’s hand and tell them that ending the life of their child is the right decision, because it’s not.”

Mary Kelly Fitzgibbon of Nurses for Life said that if abortion is allowed in Ireland, they will be required to pass the care to somebody who will facilitate the termination of pregnancy — and that would mean they would be co-operating in the act of abortion. “Because that is against our core belief of upholding the life of both the mother and the baby, we could no longer practice,” she said.

Marie Donnelly, a nurse from Co Kerry, said hospitals would have to give priority to ending lives, rather than saving them.

“Every surgical abortion will require somebody else to be bumped down the list.”

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