This week in Ireland, the final vote on proposed abortion legislation is expected to take place. The Dáil is expected to hear and discuss proposed amendments to the divisive bill, though Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made it clear that one of the most contentious portions of the bill — legalized abortion on the grounds of suicidality — will not be removed from the proposed legislation.
The bill states that it shall be lawful to carry out a procedure in which “an unborn life is ended” if medical practitioners certify that there is a “real and substantial risk of the woman’s life by way of suicide” and that risk can only be averted by means of termination. The bill makes no stipulations regarding gestational age, meaning that this proposed law would allow for the induced abortion of unborn babies up until the day of birth.
Despite pro-abortion advocates’ arguments, the assertion that this action is necessary for the mental health and life of the mother is simply not supported by any credible evidence. The medical evidence makes it quite clear that abortion is not a solution to suicidality or suicide ideation. In January, the Irish Government’s Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children held hearings to consider evidence from leading medical experts on this issue. The experts overwhelmingly agreed that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal behavior – and asserted that the appropriate response to suicidality is to provide proper psychological treatment and medication.
In a written submission to the Committee, Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin, and St. Patrick’s medical director Professor James Lucey explained that there is “no evidence either in literature or from the work of St Patrick’s University Hospital that indicates that termination of pregnancy is an effective treatment for any mental health disorder or difficulty.”
Additionally, there have been multiple studies which demonstrate that, rather than acting as a cure for any sort of psychological distress, abortion can further harm a woman’s mental health. Abortion can be a contributing cause of depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as suicide ideation.
While there, of course, must be concern and care for a woman in mental distress, the fact remains that this bill would allow for the destruction of a human person. To endorse such a proposal — especially as the evidence demonstrates that it is needless and unhelpful — would be both morally wrong and intellectually dishonest.
The proposed legislation is somewhat paradoxically entitled the “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.” As this law would both forcibly end the life of one human being and potentially tear apart the life of another, the irony is quite bitter. Should this law be passed, Ireland will face the ugly prospect of joining the United States as a nation where the most dangerous place for a baby is nestled in their mother’s womb.