Love Both seeks ban on discriminating against unborn over sex

Love Both has set out a list of principles which should be included in abortion legislation including a ban on the sale of foetal remains.

As Health Minister Simon Harris continues to engage with opposition parties and other stakeholders ahead of bringing draft legislation before the Dáil, the group has put forward seven points the group believes should be included in new laws.

Among them is a stipulation that parents cannot discriminate against unborn babies on the basis of sex or disability.

Asked about the resounding referendum result, Caroline Simons of Love Both suggested that the use of the death of Savita Halappanavar and others by the yes side was what won the vote.

“Obviously the message that we had didn’t get through, there were some ideas that were just impentariable it seems impossible to get past the idea that women died because of the Eighth Amendment, I don’t believe that is true.

“When we hear constantly of Savita Halappanavar, her face being brought out again at the end of the campaign, it’s a difficult one because there was no finding by any of the three independent inquiries that the Eighth Amendment caused her death,” she said, but did admit it was suggested that it was a contributory factor.

Love Both also wants to ensure that “healthcare professional strive to preserve the lives of babies born alive following abortion”.

Meanwhile, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has said concerns voiced by the National Association of General Practitioners over the availability of crisis pregnancy counselling are unfounded.

Maura Leahy, IFPA director of counselling, said: “A national crisis pregnancy counselling service is in place and has been for many years.

“It’s funded by the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) and free for the women and girls who use the service.

“There is no waiting list to see a counsellor; anyone who needs the service will get an appointment within a matter of days.”

The IFPA said it operates ten pregnancy counselling centres across the country, providing half the SHCPP-funded crisis pregnancy counselling in Ireland.

It said women can make an appointment directly by calling the IFPA helpline (1850 49 50 51) or can get a referral from their GPs.

“This is a specialist service, staffed by qualified and accredited counsellors who are experienced in crisis pregnancy and related issues,” said Ms Leahy.

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