Coghlan welcomes Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s contribution to abortion debate

Seanad Report: Senator says archbishop ‘is someone who thinks and talks straight’

 Paul Coghlan: said it was “unthinkable and unconscionable” that an unborn baby, capable of life outside the womb, could lose its constitutional right and be killed. Photograph: Eric Luke

Paul Coghlan: said it was “unthinkable and unconscionable” that an unborn baby, capable of life outside the womb, could lose its constitutional right and be killed. Photograph: Eric Luke

Fri, May 17, 2013, 07:48

Paul Coghlan (Fine Gael) welcomed the comments made in the abortion debate by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, in a letter in yesterday’s Irish Times .

Mr Coghlan said it was “an extremely important and constructive contribution’’ to the debate.

“This is a man who is not given to making wild statements,’’ he added. “He is someone who thinks and talks straight.’’

Mr Coghlan said it was “unthinkable and unconscionable’’ that an unborn baby, capable of life outside the womb, could lose its constitutional right and be killed.

“That is an appalling prospect if it were true, and I sincerely hope it is not,’’ he added. “That is a right that deserves to be defended and vindicated.’’


Time for debate
Senator Maurice Cummins (Fine Gael), Leader of the House, said the Seanad would have ample time to discuss Dr Martin’s statement and any other matter associated with the Bill.

Senator Prof John Crown (Independent) said he would like Mr Cummins to bring to the attention of Minister for Health Dr James Reilly the current circumstances relating to genetic testing for patients in Ireland.

Most breast cancers were not genetic, he said. “A small minority of breast cancer cases are caused by well-recognised genes which can be diagnosed on the basis of a blood test,’’ Prof Crown added.

In a typical scenario, he said, when a doctor took a careful and detailed history from a patient with breast cancer, it would emerge there was a substantial or suspicious history of breast or other cancers in the family. This would indicate that the person in question might be an appropriate candidate for genetic testing.

“This has important health implications for the patient,’’ Prof Crown added.

“Not only does she need treatment for the cancer she has, but she is also at substantial risk of developing new cancers which can be prevented by making appropriate, albeit difficult, decisions about preventive surgery.’’

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