Irish politicians have been warned that changes to the law will lead to an increase in abortions – after a cross party and cross border group undertook a fact finding trip to America.
The warning was issued as the government parties continue to bicker over the wording of a proposed change to Ireland’s abortion legislation.
TheJournal.ie says the group has written to every member of the Irish parliament.
The letter claims that no country has introduced any laws allowing abortion ‘no matter how well intentioned’ and been able to limit the procedure to limited cases.
The letter was signed by 10 members of Irish parliament, two members of the Northern assembly in Belfast and one Northern Ireland MP.
Their letter says: “This is especially the case when those countries have allowed abortions to be carried out on the basis of a risk of suicide.”
The memo was issued, according to TheJournal.ie, after a ‘research visit’ to the United States where the politicians met with eight senior pro-life figures from the legal, medical and religious fields.
The group includes four deputies and two senators from Fine Gael, three senators from Fianna Fáil, one independent deputy, one member of the SDLP and two from the DUP.
The website says the six Fine Gael participants on the trip were TDs James Bannon, Terence Flanagan, Peter Mathews and John O’Mahony, and senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy Eames.
The three Fianna Fáil senators who travelled were Jim Walsh, Brian Ó Domhnaill and Paschal Mooney along with former party colleague and now independent deputy Mattie McGrath. The three Northern Irish representatives were Ian Paisley Jr MP and Paul Givan MLA from the Democratic Unionist Party and Pat Ramsey, MLA, of the SDLP.
The trip was paid for by the pro-choice lobby group Family & Life, and included visits to New York and Washington.
The politicians said their US visit had led them to conclude that any legislation for abortion would, in effect, allow for a much more liberal abortion regime.
They wrote: “For example, the Therapeutic Abortion Act in California was enacted in 1967 on the strict grounds of ‘where the mother was a danger to herself’.
“The legislation included oversight by registered psychiatrists, yet within three years the number of abortions in the state had risen from 518 to over 63,000.
“Similar evidence exists in the UK, France, New Zealand and Chile to name a few. The experience of judicial activism being used to widen abortion law was highlighted.”
TheJournal.ie says that the memo added that any legislation allowing abortion, irrespective of how inflexible it was, would lead to a social shift in the perception of pregnancy.
The letter continued: “Once abortion legislation is introduced everything changes. An abortion culture becomes pervasive.”
The report says that politicians were shown video evidence from a family planning clinic in the US where abortion was openly discussed and facilitated in this regard.
The memo also claims that abortion has not ‘empowered’ women but actually resulted in pregnant women being put under social pressure, asked to make choices to ‘promote short-term convenience ahead of the real long-term interests of women’.
The report concludes that the politicians said they noted what they called the “irony” of abortion rates being relatively high while waiting lists for adoption continue to lengthen.