The Irish abortion law is to be reviewed next year and the campaign to expand its grounds has already started. Two papers, written by three medical researchers based in Cork, want it made easier for doctors to say an unborn baby has a fatal abnormality and therefore perform an abortion.
In fact, their more recent paper reveals something terrible, namely that sometimes these aborted babies are born alive in Irish hospitals and then are left to die.
What is considered a ‘fatal foetal abnormality’ is not clear, as this is not a medical definition, and so the strategy of the pro-choice side has been to constantly enlarge this concept.
At present, an unborn baby is considered to have a lethal abnormality if it will die within 28 days of birth. This is obviously very hard to predict with real precision. Suppose the baby might live for 38 days? Or suppose the condition (or conditions) only might be fatal? Abortion doctors don’t like these grey areas and they want the law to protect them by making it ever easier to consider an unborn baby to have a fatal condition.
In February, the three medical researchers from UCC published a paper lamenting the fact that the current legislation does not include a list of fatal conditions, and sometimes there is a combination of anomalies that could have fatal outcomes, even if they when considered individually would not qualify for an abortion.
The same researchers published a paper in September in which they interviewed ten doctors who perform abortions in Ireland. Those doctors said that they are afraid of being prosecuted if the FFA diagnosis is incorrect. (This happened, for instance, in the Holles Street Maternity Hospital.)
A diagnosis of being fatal “depends on an individual definition of what is fatal. Relating to prognosis, participants identified that ‘there is never any certainty’ when death will occur, that there is always an ‘outlier’ (a baby that will live longer than expected). A couple of doctors commented on the relief experienced when the baby dies, confirming their diagnosis was ‘right’.”, says the article.
This is shocking and disturbing, even if limited to a small number of abortion doctors. Those doctors, and also the authors of the study, want to remove the 28-day time limit of the current legislation, so that abortion would be permitted for a broader series of conditions that are serious but not always fatal.
As there is no gestational limit in the legislation for those abortions, they could take place quite late in the pregnancy, with the concrete possibility that the baby survives the termination and is born alive.
Then, what should be done if this happens? Should the baby be let die or should it be cared until natural death occur? Bear in mind that they could survive far beyond 28 days if properly cared for.
This is a dilemma that the abortion doctors are already facing, according to the UCC study. Half of them experienced conflict with neonatologists as it is “unclear as to who will look after those babies if a baby is born alive following a termination by induction and without feticide, resulting in them (the abortionists) begging people to help them in providing palliative care. “, the study says. “Some expressed that feticide needed to be mandatory for late gestations because it was in the best interest of the baby not to be born alive. A couple of doctors advocated that feticide should be a parental choice.”
This is the grim reality of late term abortions. It is unbelievable that some want to expand the current statutory limits but, as we have seen, the slippery slope is very real. In some countries, there is support for killing handicapped babies after they are born. A similar move here at some stage cannot be ruled out.