FG colleagues criticise ‘alarmist’ Creighton stance on Bill
Shatter says he had hoped ‘this type of hyperbole’ would not feature in discussions
Alan Shatter: “I regard it as extraordinary that anyone could suggest any relationship between the single-baby policy in China or intentional gender-based abortions and this Bill.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the Bill had nothing to do with China, the United States or any other of the jurisdictions that had been mentioned during the debate.
“I regard it as extraordinary that anyone could suggest any relationship between the single-baby policy in China or intentional gender-based abortions and this Bill.
“It is not only unfortunate, but also alarmist and inaccurate, to relate this restrictive measure to the creation of designer babies or the termination of a pregnancy where the prognosis gives rise to the possibility of a child suffering intellectual disability.’’
Mr Shatter said he had hoped “this type of hyperbole’’ would not feature in their discussions. “This is not a measure in which compulsory terminations or abortions are prescribed, nor is it a measure for abortion by simple choice on demand. It would be almost impossible to draft a more restrictive and careful law than that before the House.’’
FG TD Regina Doherty said the Bill was about providing legal and medical clarity for existing rights for pregnant women. She believed life, from conception to natural end, was bestowed on people by a God she very much believed in. “And it is because of that I genuinely reject some of the comments made by my colleague earlier on with regard to groupthink.
“And I also absolutely and fundamentally reject the view that just because I think differently makes me a lesser person, a lesser Christian, having a lesser moral or ethical code.’’
Ms Doherty said she absolutely rejected it “and the guilt associated with it’’.
She said she had endless sleepless nights in the past year thinking about the issue and wrestling with one argument or another. “It has taken me a long time to reach a decision. I am happy with my position, that is, supportive of the Bill.’’
Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG) said the Bill required legislators to be rigorous in argument and thinking but also, quite properly, required them to have faith, first of all in women. “The language of suspicion that surrounds suicidal ideation in pregnant women is doing a disservice to the women of the State.”
Language of suspicion
Ms Mitchell O’Connor said the language of suspicion held that if a woman was in crisis and could terminate it by claiming to be suicidal, she would make precisely those claims. “That is to caricature women and reduce them to one manipulative stereotype. It is unrealistic, nasty and inhuman.’’ She had seen no useful figures for women who took their own lives and those of their unborn children because they could see no other way out. However, nobody could have any doubt that it had happened and would happen – that was what the Bill was about.