Abortion and disability

 

Sir, – We are families of children with disabilities, or people living with a disability, and we are asking Minister for Health Simon Harris to amend the abortion Bill to ensure that abortion on disability grounds is outlawed in Ireland.

Otherwise our communities will be wiped out by the same abortion rates that have led to 98 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome being aborted in Denmark.

We are asking that the Bill be amended by adding this head to the current proposal: “A procedure to terminate a pregnancy shall be unlawful if carried out solely on the ground that the foetus is diagnosed as having or is apprehended as having a disability.”

In Britain, 90 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted before birth. Speaking at the Citizens’ Assembly, Dr Peter McParland of the National Maternity Hospital observed that not one baby with Down syndrome had been born in Iceland over a four-year period. They had all been aborted.

In Germany, the law does not specify that abortion can be carried out on the grounds of a disability, but, just as in the current proposal, neither is it outlawed. More than 90 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in Germany are aborted on grounds of a threat to the mental health of the woman, and a similar clause is also included in the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

This trend is not confined to babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Three studies examining abortion after a prognosis of spina bifida showed that between 66 per cent and 78 per cent of babies were aborted across Europe, while studies also suggest that 47 per cent of babies diagnosed with congenital heart disease have their lives ended by abortion.

Surely, as a compassionate progressive nation, these heart-breaking outcomes should give us pause. We have yet to hear one valid reason as to why the amendment we propose should not be included.

The eradication of people with disabilities may not be a stated objective of the abortion Bill, but if Mr Harris does not act, this will be its assured outcome. – Yours, etc,

SIOBHAN and

SHIRLEY SCANNELL,

Cork;

LAURA and

DEREK DALY-DEVINE,

Westmeath

YVONNE DONOHOE,

Leitrim;

CAITRÍONA KIRBY,

Limerick;

Úna Fairley Hanlon,

Co Dublin;

Michelle Sephton,

Co Cork;

Catherine Sims,

Co Galway;

Siobhán Keady,

Co Galway;

Nick and Mary Lowry,

Co Dublin;

Bernadette Belton,

Co Longford;

Bernie Browne,

Co Longford;

Vicky Wall,

Co. Waterford;

Michael Curran,

Co Waterford;

Sinéad Fitzpatrick;,

Co Waterford;

Sandra

and Jonathan Caulfield,

Co Mayo;

Carolyn and

Paul O’Meara,

Co Dublin;

Tracy and

Tom Harkin,

Co. Armagh;

Catherine Keniry,

Co Cork;

Carmel Ludden,

Co Mayo;

Monica O’Connor,

Co Carlow;

David and

Margaret Mullins,

Co Wicklow;

Siobhan Livingstone,

Co Cork;

Rick Livingstone,

Co Cork;

Kathy Sinnott,

Co Cork;

Brigid Sinnott,

Co Kildare;

Emma and

Matty Vicinenzo,

Co Cork;

Emma

and Avril O’Connell,

Co Galway;

Susan Murray,

Co Cork;

Linda and

Dary Farrelly,

Co Cavan;

Sinead and

Martin McBreen,

Co Cavan;

Gerry and

Bernadette Mockler,

Co Tipperary;

Tanya Coonan,

Co Tipperary;

Caitríona

and Mark Cronin,

Co Donegal;

Robert and

Judith Tait,

Co Donegal;

Patricia

and Mick Moore,

Co Kildare;

Marion and

Peter Murphy,

Co Kildare;

Jennifer

and John Keogh,

Co Kildare;

Áine and Joe Healy,

Co Dublin;

Emma Quinn,

Co Dublin;

Tara Seagrave Daly,

Co Dublin;

Emma Horan,

Co Cork;

Mary Bridget Kelly,

Co Dublin;

Clare and

Mark Kelly,

Co Dublin;

Attracta Dowling,

Co Dublin;

Daniel Dowling,

Co Dublin;

Siobhán

and Teddy Delaney,

Co Dublin;

Liam and

Kate Kearney,

Co Dublin;

Missy Fallon,

Co Dublin;

Anne and Joe Trainer,

Co Louth;

Evelyn

and Derek Russell,

Co Louth;

Michael

and Audrey O’Dowd,

Co Louth;

Conor O’Dowd,

Co Louth;

Mary Lynch,

Co Clare;

Ciara & Sean Leahy,

Co Dublin;

Aoife & Ray DeClár,

Co Westmeath;

Catherine

and Peter Hand,

Co Monaghan

Cheryl & Robbie Hurley,

Co Dublin;

Fidelma Kennedy,

Co Westmeath;

Gillian Kennedy,

Co Westmeath;

Caoimhe Doyle,

Co Dublin;

Edward Cunningham,

Co Leitrim;

Emma Coughlan,

Co Meath;

P. McHugh, Co Leitrim

Roisín, Áine

and Jimmy Reilly,

Co Longford;

Stephen, Matt

and Mairead Fulham,

Co Longford;

Breege and Andy Gettings,

Co Longford;

Evelyn Kelly,

Co Longford;

Anthony Healy,

Co Longford.