Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Government to seriously reconsider any plans it may have to unilaterally legislate for abortion. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the decisive vote at the recent Irish Medical Organisation’s conference where a clear majority of doctors voted against abortion legislation and on behalf of best medical practice.
He stated that in three separate votes:
Doctors voted against legislating for the X case;
Doctors voted against aborting unborn children in cases of rape or incest;
And doctors voted against aborting severely disabled babies who will not live long after birth.
“It is now abundantly clear to anyone but the most ideologically driven on this issue, that legislating for direct abortion will be contrary to the expertise and advice given by the majority of medical practitioners in this country,” Deputy McGrath said.
The vote is seen as a serious challenge, particularly to the Labour Party to abandon its plan to forcefully introduce legislation in response to the X-Case ruling.
“What we now need to do is determine a way forward on this issue in terms of regulation and guidelines rather than legislation. If the Government is serious about respecting the views of the vast majority of the Irish people on this issue then it must resist those elements within the Labour Party who seem determined to introduce abortion here regardless of the harm it will cause to both mothers and babies,” Deputy McGrath added.
The IMO vote is also seen as strengthening the position of those who argued recently before the recent Oireachtas hearings, that introducing legislation which would permit abortion on grounds of suicidal ideation would be contrary to established medical practice in this country.
“It is highly significant that the much hyped evidence that abortion would provide a form of medical treatment for an unfortunate woman who found herself in a crisis pregnancy situation was also flatly contradicted at the conference. It must now be plain to any objective observer that legislating for abortion on such grounds will represent a deeply retrograde step in terms of protecting maternal health in Ireland,” concluded Deputy McGrath.