17.04.20 “Unsupervised taking of abortion pills is dangerous, unconscionable and it won’t be long before a woman dies.” Leanne, Students for Life
The title of this blog may seem dramatic, but these are not my words, these are the words of pro-choice politicians during the abortion debate of 2018. They talked about the dangers of unsupervised abortions as part of their campaign for “safe legal abortion”. If we didn’t repeal the 8th Amendment, they said, it wouldn’t be long before “some woman in the not-too-distant-future will rupture her uterus and die“. Those were the words of Deputy Hildegard Naughton, spoken into the Dáil record on January 17th 2018 when she also concluded that abortion pills taken “unsupervised… are dangerous without medical supervision”.
The hypocrisy of abortion advocates and politicians is more evident now than ever. The government have made a decision to support home abortions, without the presence of a doctor, despite having highlighted the dangers of such a practice just two years ago. In the past week we’ve seen the Department of Health produce abortion guidelines which suggest that women seeking abortions do not need to visit their GP and can take abortion pills in their own homes. This is a very worrying development, especially in light of newly released statistics in the UK which show that between July 2017 and December 2018, abortion providers Marie Stopes International and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service between them reported to the government 46 cases of women experiencing complications after abortions*. The statistics note that “complications that occurred after discharge may not be included” within this figure.
*UK Health Department Answer to Written Question from Fiona Bruce MP, 30th March 2020
It is not only the government who are being hypocritical in this instance – Bríd Smith TD, the deputy who was pushing for this change the past few weeks has fairly changed her tune from 2018 too. At report stage of the abortion bill, on 29th November 2018 she said that the “danger” of women taking abortion pills without medical supervision was “unconscionable”. The argument being put forward by these deputies is that abortions can be supervised by GPs over the phone. However, pre-referendum the Taoiseach made his interpretation of ‘supervision’ crystal clear – it meant going to see the doctor. Two days before the referendum he said that “it is dangerous to take the pills if one is too far along so one needs a doctor to check how far along one is. It is dangerous to take the pills if the pregnancy is ectopic because they will not work. It is dangerous to take these pills if one has a bleeding disorder. How does a woman know if she does not go to see her doctor?” (Leaders Questions, 23rd Mary 2018).
We all knew the government and yes campaigners were going to break just about every promise they made to the electorate in the months that followed the referendum result. I’m not surprised by this U-turn, but I’m heartbroken that they would see fit to use the current Covid_19 crisis as an excuse to further push for abortions. Everyone is busy trying to save lives these days, but there are certain politicians whose primary, perhaps sole focus, is on liberalising abortion – as it always is.
Students for Life Ireland is deeply worried and concerned for the safety and well being of women and babies at this time. The image of a woman at home, on her own, in isolation, having an abortion, is a haunting one, and one which represents everything that is wrong with out country. We would ask the government and the powers that be to reconsider this move in the interests of the mothers’ safety and well being, rather than making rushed decisions without due parliamentary debate.