DUBLIN, September 10, 2012 ( – An international group of obstetricians and other physicians meeting in Dublin this weekend has issued a statement denying that abortion is ever “medically necessary” for women.

“As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology,” the declaration said, “we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”

“We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

“We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”

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Over 140 medical professionals attended Friday’s symposium, organised by the Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare and chaired by Prof. Eamon O’Dwyer, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynaecology at the National University of Ireland in Galway. They released the statement along with new papers on maternal health issues including high-risk pregnancies, cancer treatment during pregnancy, foetal anomalies, mental health and maternal mortality.

The symposium, with its panel of experts in obstetrics and gynaecology, mental health, and molecular epidemiology, “provided clarity and confirmation to doctors and legislators,” said O’Dwyer. This “clarity” comes at a crucial moment as legislators are wrestling with demands by the Labour party and abortion lobbyists to abolish the country’s constitutional protection for the unborn. 

Over the last two years, abortion industry lobbyists have stepped up their campaigns, and are working hard to convince the Irish public that Ireland’s law banning all abortion is a “threat to women’s health”. A ruling in 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights is being used as a pretext by the Labour Party to push forward plans to legalise abortion. But the ECHR ruling did not say that the law is a violation of women’s rights or that Ireland was obligated to change its laws.

Dr. Eoghan de Faoite, a physician who attended the symposium, spoke with saying that abortion is being pushed forward under a “false pretense” that abortion is medically necessary. The problem, he said, has stemmed from one of the women who brought the complaint to the ECHR who, he said, “didn’t get correct treatment from her family doctor”. This one case is now being used to make the claim to the public that in difficult pregnancies women need access to abortion as part of their health care, which they are being denied under the law.

The public and medical practitioners, he said, “needed to hear from the experts that it is safe to deliver chemotherapy to pregnant women,” both for the woman and her unborn child.

Currently, Ireland’s parliament is waiting on the decision of a panel of government-appointed experts examining the ECHR ruling to issue recommendations on how to proceed. But the government has cut off access to the expert group, and is not allowing any submissions from the public or from medical experts.

“The purpose of the symposium was so that the real experts could be heard,” he told LSN. “Those who care for pregnant women in their daily working lives.”

Right now, he said, because of the media’s interest in pushing forward the abortion agenda, and because of the lack of a consultation on the question, “In the debate we’re having in Ireland, the voices of people who actually care for pregnant women aren’t being heard.” The expert group, he said, is “having closed shop hearings” which is not allowing for expert testimony.

The abortion lobby, he said, has jumped into this gap and is “scaremongering people into believing that women are being deprived of good maternal care because of the ban on abortion.”