Irish pro-lifers launch video as country debates abortion laws

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Prolife marchers walk through Dublin on July 2, 2011 for the Fifth Annual All-Ireland Rally For Life. Credit: William Murphy-infomatique via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As a group of 14 experts debates abortion regulations in Ireland, a pro-life group is pointing out that abortion is “not needed to treat any medical condition” that arises during pregnancy.

“In just 90 seconds the video message clearly and succinctly assembles all the facts which prove that abortion is not ever medically necessary, and that Irish women do not need abortion in order to preserve their lives,” the Life Institute said in an Oct. 15 press release.

The video, available on both YouTube and the Life Institute's website, comes as an Irish group of 14 experts will soon release its recommendations on how to clarify abortion law in the country.

The expert group was formed in response to a Dec. 2010 decision of the European Court of Human Rights that Irish law is unclear about the legality of abortion when maintaining the pregnancy threatens the mother's life.

An 1861 law, still in effect in Ireland, bans abortion. The 1983 constitution recognizes unborn children’s right to life “with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.”

In 1992, the country's Supreme Court ruled that abortion was lawful if there was a significant risk to the life of the mother as a result of her pregnancy. In the 20 years since the ruling, lawmakers have refrained from revising Irish abortion law.

The European court's 2010 ruling was in response to a suit filed by three women in Ireland who traveled elsewhere to procure abortions.

The third woman, in whose favor the court ruled, asserted that her rare form of cancer could resurface if she were to reduce her chemotherapy treatment during her pregnancy, and that the baby could be harmed if she didn't. She was unable, however, to find a doctor to substantiate these claims.

The European court found that her situation did allow for an abortion under the 1992 Irish Supreme Court ruling, and mandated that Ireland clarify the legal provisions for abortion there.

And so, because the Irish government is expected to soon clarify the situation, Ireland's public square is seeing a heightened discussion of abortion, providing the impetus for the new video from Life Institute.

Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute believes that if the video hits at least 200,000 views in Ireland and it will be “game-changing” for the debate over abortion.

Bhriain explained that the video points out “a major medical review proved that Irish women are never denied medical treatment for any condition arising in pregnancy, regardless of our ban on abortion.”

The Irish Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists testified that “treatment for ectopic pregnancy, cancer, pre-eclampsia and other conditions arising in pregnancy are not considered abortion by the professional since there is no intent to harm the unborn child,” Bhriain wrote on Life Institute's website.

“And it calls for zero tolerance on misinforming women - because abortion campaigners have been allowed to scaremonger on this issue for too long. The misinformation stops here,” she stated.

In April, the lower house of the Irish parliament rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion.

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