PSI publish papers in support of repeal as two judges back No campaign

The Psychological Society of Ireland has firmly come out in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment and has published two papers which it says counters “false facts that are not based on scientific research”.

In the first paper, ‘Referendums: On the Relevance of Psychology’, the society claims that, according to the research overall, terminating a pregnancy does not appear to damage a woman’s mental health.

A second paper, ‘5 Facts on the Eighth Amendment and Mental Health’ underlines its claims:

1. Women who choose abortion do so because of the negative effects of continuing the pregnancy on their mental health and that of their existing children and significant others;

2. The overwhelming majority of women report feelings of relief after an abortion. Those who maintain feelings of regret over time are affected mostly by societal stigma and the lack of social support;

3. Those who have a history of mental health difficulties are the most likely to experience these same difficulties following an abortion;

4. Robust, high-quality scientific research by organisations such as the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has concluded that abortion does not harm women’s mental health;

5. Women are at their most vulnerable during the perinatal period compared to any other point of time in their lives and rates of mortality during this time are highest with regard to mental health difficulties.

Meanwhile, former judge of the European Court Aindrias Ó Caoimh and former judge of the High Court and chairman of the Referendum Commission, Iarfhlaith O’Neill, have joined a number of other lawyers in calling for the Eighth Amendment to be retained.

A statement, also signed by lawyers Margaret Cordial, Venetia Taylor, and Benedict Ó Floinn, said the Government’s planned legislation would allow abortion on request up to nearly six months.

The group said that its analysis of the planned legislation, which urges a no vote, has been signed by almost 200 people in the legal profession.

Mr Ó Floinn urged voters to access a copy of the proposed draft legislation and to read it.

He was also critical of comments by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that the proposals were necessary to deal with difficult cases of rape or fatal foetal abnormality.

He is, with respect, wholly mistaken.

“It was open to the Government to recommend the amendment of the article in the Constitution instead of repealing it and to introduce legislation which solely addressed exceptional cases.”

“They didn’t do that. Instead, they yielded to those who wanted the rights of the unborn completely swept away and a wide-ranging right to abortion put in its place,” he said.

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