Breda O’Brien: If you vote for choice you are facilitating abortions

Either we become a State that nudges women into making life-ending decisions for their babies or we strive to care for both

On radio recently a man said he felt that he could vote for abortion because even though he did not approve of it, he would have clean hands.

Other people would be the ones choosing an abortion. He would have nothing to do with it.

This is the triumph of pro-choice ideology. It allows us to conceal from ourselves that when we vote for something, we enable it and facilitate it. But if we vote Yes, we are collaborators and are implicated in the widespread abortion that will follow.

When you normalise something by voting for it, you get more of it. The UK legalised abortion allegedly to solve the problem of 5,000 back-street abortions and now has 185,000 front-street abortions a year instead, the majority of which are on unspecified mental health grounds. Many of those UK backstreet abortions were carried out by qualified midwives and even doctors.


Dr David Paintin, a key 1967 Act campaigner, recently stated that women with serious injuries after illegal abortion were quite uncommon and “that side of abortion has to some extent been exaggerated. Most illegal abortionists in the 1960s were really quite skilful.”

Dr Rhona Mahony has said that abortion pills are the equivalent of backstreet abortions. Dr Leo Varadkar said that it was only a matter of time until a woman bled to death using illegal abortion pills.

Neither mentioned that the only two recorded UK deaths from abortion pills were under legal, medical supervision. Nineteen-year-old Jessie Maye Barlow died of sepsis in 2012 after taking abortion pills under the care of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.


Manon Jones, aged 18, died in 2008 after taking legal abortion pills. She retained parts of the baby and developed sepsis.

Abortion campaigners dismiss these two incidents as incredibly rare, but neither is rare to their families. Haemorrhage in bathrooms and medical negligence happen in legal abortion, too.

Do you trust the HSE with the 2,000 elective surgical abortions predicted by former master of the Rotunda Peter McKenna? Or with 3,000 medical abortions?

Many people in the Yes campaign have spent decades working to introduce abortion on demand.

But abortion campaigners have no compunction about pretending that this is only for the exceptionally difficult and tragic cases. They invoke Margaret Thatcher’s TINA – there is no alternative to inserting a provision to legislate into the Constitution. How then, did 23 European countries manage to legislate for abortion on grounds of sexual assault?

I believe everyone, whether their biological father is a rapist or not, should have the right to life. But I know it is possible to amend the Constitution and legislate for abortion in exceptionally traumatic cases like rape. And if we vote Yes this time, we will never, ever get a chance to vote on it again.


We will have enshrined the right of politicians to choose for us into our Constitution and taken away the right to live or ever choose anything from the youngest humans.

If you identify as pro-life but plan to vote Yes, why would you personally never choose abortion? Do you believe that it is the taking of a human life and that we can do so much more for mothers than just leaving them so unsupported that they feel they cannot continue to cherish their babies? Why then would you vote to facilitate it for anyone?

Ireland has a far lower rate of abortion than our European neighbours.

Either we become a State that subtly nudges women into making life-ending decisions for their babies because of the lack of better options, or we strive to care for both.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – a former GP – was asked by RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke: “If you are dealing with a woman who is pregnant, do you regard it as dealing with two patients rather than one.”

He replied: “I think that the patient that you’re dealing with is the patient to the front of you. That is, you know, that’s the woman. But obviously, at a later stage of a pregnancy, certainly beyond viability or when a pregnancy is wanted, you treat, in that scenario, as two patients but I do think there’s a different when you reach the point of viability, when the foetus or the unborn child, if you prefer that term, can survive outside the womb, I think there’s a difference at that point that an early pregnancy is a very different situation.”

A shocking undermining

This is a shocking undermining of current Irish medical practice. That attitude will seep into the treatment of every pregnant woman, whether or not she is seeking an abortion.

In addition, obstetricians, doctors and midwives will either have to carry out legal abortions or find someone who will. This is not real conscientious objection.

We already have a crisis in GP provision. The lack of real conscientious objection will chase GPs out of the profession who cannot countenance the deliberate death of one of their patients, along with midwives, pharmacists and already scarce obstetricians.

In 2015, insurance cost €337,000 per annum for obstetricians and is so expensive that the State pays most of it. This kind of insurance will have to be extended to GPs. The HSE already has people on waiting lists for more than nine months for cataracts, hip and knee replacements, tonsils, varicose veins and scopes. How is our shambolically dysfunctional health service going to cope?

If you vote Yes, you can trust pro-choice doctors and politicians to introduce abortion on demand up to 12 weeks and on unspecified mental health grounds up until 24 weeks. You will have facilitated it. The only way not to directly enable this dreadful, irreversible regime is to vote No.