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PLC rejects TD Jerry Buttimer’s call for abortion forum

By Ann Marie Foley - 31 December, 2014

Pro life group says public would be right to distrust any such process after 2013 Oireachtas hearings in relation to the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill.

Pro lifeThe Pro Life Campaign has described a call for a forum to examine Ireland’s abortion laws as “pretend hearings” with a “pre-arranged outcome”.

The PLC was responding to a call by the Chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee Jerry Buttimer TD for an abortion forum to be established to examine Ireland’s law on the matter.

According to the Chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign Cora Sherlock, “What Deputy Buttimer is proposing has all the signs of another set of pretend hearings with a pre-arranged outcome irrespective of any evidence that is presented.”

Speaking of the last hearings in relation to the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill she added, “We saw in 2013 that the overwhelming medical evidence presented to Deputy Buttimer’s Health Committee during two sets of Oireachtas hearings clearly showed that abortion was not a treatment for suicidal feelings in pregnancy, yet all of that evidence was ignored and the Government proceeded with its agreed, yet deeply flawed legislation.”

The public would be right to distrust a similar process, she commented.

Cora Sherlock claimed that in expressing a wish to hear from the ‘middle ground’ and not the extremes, Jerry Buttimer is attempting to make the removal of the Eighth Amendment sound acceptable to the electorate.

Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer

Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer

“One has to assume he regards as ‘extreme’ the position of those who opposed the legislation in 2013 and who supported evidence-based medicine,” she said.

She added, “Women and babies deserve better than the charade that happened in the Dáil in 2013. The last thing we need is a repeat of that.”

Chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign, Cora Sherlock

Chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign, Cora Sherlock

On Monday (29 December ) the chairman of the Oireachtas health committee, called for an all-Ireland forum to address what he called the “complex issues” around the High Court hearing to decide the fate of a brain-dead pregnant woman and her baby.

What has been called the ‘right-to-die’ case, involved a woman 15 weeks pregnant who was declared clinically brain dead in early December.

The High Court case heard medical evidence that her unborn child stood little chance of survival even if the woman was kept on a life support machine. The High Court ruled that life support should be withdrawn.

Earlier this year Jerry Buttimer chaired the health committee’s hearings in relation to the heads of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013, which has since been introduced into law.

He said that the new forum should be based on the public hearings process adopted by the Convention on the Constitution, so views are heard in a mature and respectful way.

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