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TD’s abortion proposal for fatal foetal diagnosis criticised

By Sarah Mac Donald - 22 November, 2013

The Pro Life Campaign has hit out at plans by the Independent TD, Clare Daly, to make abortion an option for parents whose unborn baby is diagnosed with a terminal illness. 
In a statement issued on Thursday, the PLC said describing children with this kind of diagnosis as ‘non-viable’ or ‘incompatible with life’ was “deeply hurtful” to the families concerned. 
PLC spokesperson, Caroline Simons, described the new proposal from Clare Daly as “lamentable” and warned that it fails “absolutely” to examine possible alternatives.
She criticised the focus on abortion rather than on the provisions of adequate peri-natal hospice care facilities, which would give help and hope to families who receive a difficult pre-natal diagnosis.
“Clare Daly’s latest abortion proposal exposes the hopeless quality of debate in the Dáil on this matter,” Ms Simons said. 
“Many families who have received a poor pre-natal diagnosis have experienced much more precious time with their child than originally expected, or found that their child’s illness was not as serious as originally thought or in some cases there was nothing wrong at all.”
Caroline Simons added, “The discussion in the Dáil and much of the media on this issue has become completely one-sided. It is time for a more open and honest debate.”
“Notwithstanding suggestions to the contrary, our abortion legislation, which has no time limits and no medical basis, cannot be described as restrictive.”
On 13 November, a group of parents of children whose disabilities or medical conditions were diagnosed pre-natally and proved fatal in some cases, met politicians in the Dáíl to discuss the establishment of peri-natal hospice care facilities.
One Day More supports and represents parents who have received a poor pre-natal diagnosis for their babies. It promotes hospice care and support for families in these situations.
Speaking after the meeting, One Day More spokeswoman, Cliona Johnson, said: “To date there has been almost extensive focus on abortion and little or no attention given to the development of peri-natal hospice care as a way of dealing with this issue. One Day More strongly urge the government to change this focus.”
“Peri-natal hospice care is there for parents to support them as soon as they receive a diagnosis. In real terms it gives families an opportunity to prepare to meet their baby and make memories with them, however brief that may be,” she explained.
Relating her own personal experience, Cliona Johnson recalled that “despite the initial heartbreak when we received the news that our baby had a terminal illness, I look back now with joy and peace at the memories we made with our son John Paul.”

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