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PLC criticises Health Minister’s abortion remarks

By Sarah Mac Donald - 17 December, 2014

Minister Varadkar accuses Eighth Amendment, which deals with abortion, of being too “restrictive”.

Leo VaradkarThe Pro Life Campaign has hit out at Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s comments in the Dáil on Tuesday evening in which he said Eighth Amendment to the Constitution dealing with abortion is too “restrictive”.

The Minister was speaking in response to a private members’ bill tabled by Clare Daly TD, which seeks to remove constitutional protections for the unborn.

Minister Varadkar said the legislation as it currently stands is having a “chilling” effect on doctors.

The Minister, however, acknowledged that the Government has no mandate to change constitution, and that any attempt to change it would have to be done by referendum.

He added that he did not “support abortion on request or on demand”.

Responding to Minister Varadkar’s remarks, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said, “Minister Varadkar is part of a government that introduced abortion up to birth based on a threat of suicide.”

“He knows there is not a shred of medical evidence to back it up and that if anything the evidence points to the adverse mental health consequences of abortion for women in these situations.”

The PLC spokeswoman said there was nothing in the new legislation to prevent two psychiatrists, who view abortion as harmless, from signing off on abortions, secure in the knowledge that they don’t have to meet any evidence-based test.

“Contrary to what Minister Varadkar now claims, there is absolutely nothing restrictive about such a law in practice,” Dr Cullen said.

“What is truly chilling about the current abortion debate is the way the unborn child throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy has been totally written out of the discussion. There is nothing humane, liberal or compassionate about empty talk of protecting and respecting the unborn while bowing to the demands of those who want all remaining protection for the unborn child stripped out of our laws, which would be the effect of repealing the Eighth Amendment.”

Separately, the Cabinet agreed on Tuesday that the referendum on same-sex marriage will be held in May next year.

Nearly two weeks’ ago the bishops published a pastoral document ‘The Meaning of Marriage’ in which they outlined their opposition to any redefinition of marriage to include gay marriage.

The statement is currently being distributed by the country’s 1,300 parishes and it is also available online.

In their pastoral letter, the bishops say it is “a grave injustice if the State ignores the uniqueness of the role of husbands and wives, the importance of mothers and fathers in our society.”

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