Woman tells Oireachtas committee of abortion pressure

A pro-life campaigner who said doctors have “pressured” her and other women into having abortions has previously worked with a “rogue” crisis pregnancy agency that links abortion to mental health issues and regret.

One Day More official Liz McDermott outlined the situation at the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment yesterday, where she confirmed she has worked with the Gianna Care group.

Ms McDermott said that when she was informed while pregnant that her baby would have significant medical issues, a doctor at a hospital strongly suggested she could go to Britain for an abortion.

Ms McDermott said she immediately rejected the idea, and, despite the hurdles her family has since faced, she said she is happy with the decision taken.

“It [an abortion] would have answered questions for me. I would never have had to move house, get a new car. But I would have missed out at him [her son John] rolling over after a few months or walking over to me,” she said.

Ms McDermott was complemented by pro-life senator Rónán Mullen and committee chair Catherine Noone, while pro-choice Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell encouraged the witness to make an official complaint over how she was treated.

Under questions from Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly, Ms McDermott confirmed she has worked with Gianna Care, a group widely described as a rogue crisis pregnancy agency which has linked abortions to mental health issues and regret.

Meanwhile, at an earlier session of the committee, British Pregnancy Advisory Service medical director Dr Patricia Lohr told Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy the “criminal aspect” to abortion laws has a “chilling” effect on women.

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