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Doctors signing Amnesty's letter are giving political, not medical, opinion

The Life Institute has said that doctors supporting Amnesty’s latest push for abortion are expressing a political and not a medical opinion. Spokeswoman, Niamh Uí Bhriain also said that Amnesty had gathered signatures from medics across a total of 44 countries and that the average of less than 20 doctors signing per country was “less than impressive”.

“Amnesty is trying to use its global muscle in a campaign to push abortion on Ireland, but it’s results, much like its message, are less than impressive,” she said. “Recently, we saw the public react unfavourably to Amnesty’s propaganda video on abortion in Ireland, and now we can see that Amnesty has failed to gather significant support from Irish doctors for its abortion campaign.”

Dr Eoghan White, medical advisor to the Life Institute, said that Amnesty’s campaign reflected the political opinions of medical practitioners, and that the evidence showed that a ban on abortion does not prevent optimal medical care to pregnant women. 

“Banning abortion has not caused women to die, a fact confirmed by the Oireachtas hearings on abortion in 2013, where leading obstetricians testified that they did not know of one case where a woman had lost her life in an Irish hospital because doctors were unable to intervene due to Ireland’s ban on abortion,” said Dr White.

"The statistics are clear, less women suffer and die from pregnancy related conditions in Ireland than they do in countries with unrestricted access to abortion such as the UK and USA".

He continued; "Where there is a ban on abortion, we know that doctors can and do intervene to treat women who have a life threatening complication of pregnancy even if that means ending the pregnancy. This is largely because, as Dr Sam Coulter Smyth of the Rotunda Hospital has pointed out, this type of intervention is not and should not be considered as abortion. We also know that not a single doctor has been prosecuted in Ireland for prematurely ending a pregnancy where medically necessary.

"We know from British DOH statistics that women from Ireland are not travelling to UK for abortions because they are being denied healthcare in their own country. The reality is, with expert care and close monitoring, we can achieve healthy outcomes for mother and baby where there are pre-existing medical conditions or even where cancer arises

He pointed to the leading researcher in gynecological oncology, Dr Frederic Amant, who's work conclusively shows that where there is a diagnosis of cancer, termination of pregnancy does not improve maternal outcomes. This is mainly due to the fact that chemo and radiotherapy can now be safely delivered during pregnancy

“Amnesty is also targeting Chile’s ban on abortion, yet Chile’s maternal mortality rate has continued to improve dramatically since abortion was banned, and Chile is now a leader in the Americas in terms of maternal safety,” said Dr White.  

“Good maternal care, not abortion, is what both mother and baby need,” he added.

Niamh Uí Bhriain said that Amnesty’s campaign on decriminalisation was deliberately misleading. “In fact, as Amnesty fully understands, criminal penalties are attached to abortion in almost every jurisdiction, and women have never been prosecuted in Ireland because of our pro-life laws. Criminal penalties should apply to abortionists who break the law, and women should be protected from practitioners who have been known to exploit vulnerable women for profit, and have often caused them to lose their lives. It is a measure of how far Amnesty has strayed from its mission that it continues to push for abortion, but has ignored the death of a woman from Ireland who bled to death after undergoing an abortion in a Marie Stopes clinic in London,” she said.

    
 

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