Here are our responses to the most common anti-choice statements and arguments.
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They say: The 8th Amendment is Ireland’s ‘Life Equality Amendment’.
We say: No, the 8th Amendment enshrines inequality in our constitution. During his term as Minister for Justice, Deputy Alan Shatter stated that the 8th Amendment was put in place when women were not equal citizens.
They say: Ireland’s Abortion Laws protect women/save women’s lives.
We say: No, they make women’s lives more difficult and dangerous by forcing women to travel to access the healthcare they cannot access here, access illegal abortions in Ireland or continue pregnancies against their will.
They say: There’s no such thing as a Fatal Foetal Abnormality. The term refers to babies with severe disabilities.
We say: Fatal Foetal abnormalities are conditions diagnosed during pregnancy that mean that a foetus will not develop to be able to live outside the womb. Depending on the condition and individual circumstances the foetus may die during pregnancy or survive up to or shortly past the birth. Medical practitioners provide their patients with the full details of the condition and the statistics regarding any chance and length of survival. This allows all patients to make the decision that is right for them on how to continue the pregnancy.
They say: Abortion kills women.
We say: Access to safe and legal abortion saves women’s lives and safeguards their health, both physical and mental.
They say: Abortion hurts women.
We say: Physically, abortion at any stage has fewer risks and fewer impacts on a woman’s health than continuing a pregnancy and giving birth.
They say: Abortion doesn’t help women who have been raped.
We say: Not being able to end a pregnancy that has been forced upon you is something no one should have to suffer. Being forced to continue a pregnancy and being denied the option to end such a pregnancy has been described as torture by the UN Committee on Human Rights.
They say: Pro-choice groups don’t know what they want.
We say: We want free, safe and legal abortion services that women can access in Ireland through the Irish health system.
They say: Pro-choice groups want abortion on demand.
We say: Who demands any medical treatment? We want women to be able to determine and access the health care options best for them, in consultation with their doctors.
They say: Pro-choice groups want abortion ‘up until birth’.
We say: Late-term abortions are extremely rare, however, they often coincide with the most difficult cases for women, girls and their families. Many late-term abortions occur as a result of diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, or take place among young women who did not know they were pregnant or could not access services in a timely manner. Later-term abortions also result from circumstances of abuse and forced pregnancy. It’s important to resist stigmatising late-term abortions without understanding and having compassion for the challenging circumstances that they arise from.
They say: Abortion is not appropriate for treating someone who is suicidal.
We say: The numbers of young women who died by suicide while pregnant dropped dramatically when abortion was made legal in the UK. No one should be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will.
They say: Ireland’s abortion ban has saved 250,000 babies.
We say: There is no data or statistics to support that number, however we do know that the NHS has published figures indicating that at least 160,000 women have had to leave Ireland to access abortion health care in the UK.
They say: Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis and abortion would not have saved her life.
We say: Dr Boylan of our National Maternity Hospital clearly stated that if Savita Halappanavar had been given the abortion she requested, when she requested it, then her life would have been saved.
They say: Abortion is not healthcare and is never required to save a woman’s life.
We say: Abortion is a treatment for a range of medical conditions, including ectopic pregnancy and pre-eclampsia, among others. The Irish Constitution recognises this and clearly states that an abortion performed to save a woman’s life is legal. Abortion is part of essential health care to safeguard women’s health and lives.
They say: Why not just wait and give the baby up for adoption?
We say: Adoption resolves the issue of an unwanted child not an unwanted pregnancy. No one should be forced to continue a pregnancy and become a parent against their will.