Ireland must have an honest discussion about the “barbaric” reality of abortion, ahead of next month’s referendum, members of the LoveBoth pro-life campaign have said.

Separately, RTÉ confirmed it would hold two live TV abortion debates and Fine Gael referendum co-ordinator, Josepha Madigan, was verbally attacked by pro-life supporters as she left the Dáil yesterday.

Speaking to reporters at the official launch of their referendum campaign, Loveboth spokeswoman Cora Sherlock said the debate has become so “sanitised” it is regarded by some as “extreme” to describe what is being proposed, “even in the mildest way”.

Ms Sherlock told an audience of 60 people in Dublin that “voters are entitled to know what a vote to repeal would mean, and it’s certainly not restrictive abortion that they would be voting for”.

“A vote for repeal is a vote for one of the deadliest abortion laws ever proposed. It’s a proposal that obliterates the right to life of unborn babies and makes little attempt to hide that fact.

“The Government’s proposal opens the door to these barbaric procedures.”

Asked about accusations that the pro-life movement uses language intended to shock, Ms Sherlock said: “Abortion is shocking. It ends the life of a baby.”

The LoveBoth launch — which included a video of the former NHS nurse, Theresa Moylan, talking about her experiences of abortion in the UK — took place as RTE confirmed it would hold two live TV debates in the run-up to the referendum.

Members and supporters of Love Both at the campaign launch which took place in Dublin today. Pic John Mc Elroy.
Members and supporters of Love Both at the campaign launch which took place in Dublin today. Pic John Mc Elroy.

The debates will be of a similar format to those held in the weeks before the 2015 marriage-equality referendum.

While no dates have been agreed, RTÉ officials are planning to broadcast the programmes in the final two weeks of the campaign, on Prime Time and Claire Byrne Live.

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner understands that Culture Minister Josepha Madigan was “harangued” by pro-life supporters outside the Dáil yesterday, before a garda intervened.

Ms Madigan was approached by a number of people as she left the Kildare St entrance to Leinster House at midday, and was accused of being a “baby killer”.

A number of campaigners followed her up Kildare St, shouting abuse and videoing her on their phones, before a garda intervened.

While Ms Madigan continued with her work, officials aware of the situation said she was “shook” by what happened.

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