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Disability Voices for Life rally at Dáil Eireann, Oct. 4, 2018. Disability Voices for Life
LifeSiteNews staff

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Disabled Irish people beg Govt to amend abortion bill to protect unborn babies with disabilities

LifeSiteNews staff
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TDs Carol Nolan, Michael Collins and Mattie McGrath supported parents from Disability Voices for Life at Dáil Eireann, Oct. 4, 2018. Disability Voices for Life

IRELAND, October 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – People living with disabilities have appealed to Ireland’s Health Minister to amend the abortion bill to ensure that abortion on disability grounds is “outlawed.” 

Otherwise, they say, their communities will be wiped out by the same abortion rates that have led to 98% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome being aborted in Denmark. 

“We need an amendment to Mr Harris’ proposal which specifically states that abortion on disability grounds will not be permitted because our communities, and our children's communities, are being wiped out by abortion,” said Michael O'Dowd, spokesman for Disability Voices for Life. 

“The eradication of people with disabilities may not be a stated objective of the abortion bill, but if politicians do not act, this will be its assured outcome. Every politician in Dáil now has the opportunity to protect people with disabilities. Please do not fail us or fail our children,” he added.

The government is currently railroading the abortion bill through the Irish Parliament after 66.4 % of citizens voted in May to repeal the country’s pro-life 8th amendment. 

Disability Voices for Life held a press event at the Molesworth Street entrance to Dáil Éireann last Thursday to make their views known.

They have written to Health Minister Simon Harris seeking a meeting on their proposed amendment to the abortion bill which reads:  “A procedure to terminate a pregnancy shall be unlawful if carried out solely on the ground that the foetus is diagnosed as having or is apprehended as having a disability."

Anne Trainer, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, told LifeSiteNews that parents could not be silent while disability communities were being eradicated by abortion. 

“It can never be said that we didn’t try our best. It can never be said that we just allowed the community our children belong to come under attack without trying to fight back and shield them. This is not over. Every life deserves protection and as a guardian for the voiceless we carry on,” she said. 

“I’m so proud of my eldest girl today came to stand by my side. Make no mistake our entire family are united in their love for Kevin and there isn’t a thing any of us wouldn’t do to protect him. The government can and must amend the bill to outlaw abortion on disability grounds.”

The group represents more than 100 parents and people living with disabilities.  

O'Dowd said that abortion on disability grounds must simply be be “outlawed.” 

"We are parents of children with disabilities, or people living with a disability, and we are asking legislators to ensure that abortion on disability grounds is outlawed in Ireland,” he said.

“Minister Simon Harris seems determined to reject any amendments to his bill, but we cannot and will not be silent on this issue,” he added.

A disability can now be detected using Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing at 10 weeks according to the National Maternity Hospital. In this scenario, pre-born children with Down syndrome are often targeted for abortion. Currently in the UK, almost half of all abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome take place under 15 weeks gestation. 

In Britain, 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. In Denmark that number has now reached 98%. Speaking at the Citizen's Assembly, Dr Peter McParland of the National Maternity Hospital observed that not one baby with Down syndrome had been born in Iceland over a 4 year period. They had all been aborted. 

This trend is not confined to babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Three studies examining abortion after a prognosis of spina bifida showed that between 66% and 78% of babies were aborted across Europe. 

“It is a terrible situation where terminations are targeted at those who potentially have a trait society doesn’t like. It is a culture based on prejudice and lack of knowledge of the positive traits a person with Down syndrome brings to a family and a community,” said O'Dowd,

“Surely, as a compassionate, progressive nation, these heartbreaking outcomes should give us pause. We are simply asking our politicians, and the Irish people, to prevent this from happening in Ireland. We are asking you to protect our children’s communities. We have yet to hear one valid reason as to why the amendment we propose should not be included,” he added.

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