Three reasons not to amend abortion law

During the three days of hearings of the Oireachtas Health Committee, amid claim and counter-claim, there were just three points on which the witnesses agreed.

These were, firstly, that no maternal deaths have occurred as a result of any deficiencies in the existing law; secondly, that no doctors have been prosecuted under the 1861 Act, which outlaws the procurement of an abortion; and, thirdly, that there is no body of international medical or psychiatric evidence that suggests abortion is a cause, treatment or cure for suicidal ideation.

Not a single witness disagreed with these three conclusions, be they pro-choice, pro-life, or otherwise.

This raises serious questions that our legislators must address.

If the law poses no danger to the lives of women, why the rush to amend it? If no doctors have been prosecuted under the existing law, then why do we need to amend it to protect doctors from prosecution?

If there is no evidence linking pregnancy to the risk of suicide, why should we enshrine such a link in Irish law?

Barry Walsh

Clontarf

Dublin 3

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