Irish abortion referendum committee accused of ‘appalling’ anti-life bias
DUBLIN, November 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The government committee planning the referendum to remove or retain the constitutional protection for the unborn in Ireland has been accused of strong pro-abortion bias.
According to the Irish Times, the Oireachtas (government) Committee on the Eighth Amendment held a private meeting on Wednesday to discuss the allegations. Catherine Murphy, the member of the Committee who called for the conference, said that the “narrative” about its bias should be forbidden as it is “a lie.” However, Senator Ronan Mullan said that the chair of the Committee, Catherine Noone, had “failed to procure objectivity.” Committee member Mattie McGrath called the Committee’s proceedings “a stitch-up” and “unbalanced.” He called the parade of mostly pro-abortion witnesses before the committee “appallingly skewed.”
At stake is the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which was added in 1983 after a national referendum. It is supposed to ensure the right-to-life of unborn babies in Ireland. Ireland’s prime minister, or Taioseach, Leo Varadkar, announced this June that there would be a new referendum regarding the Amendment’s removal.
Two medical experts have refused to appear before the Committee because they believe it is a “kangaroo court” or “deeply unbalanced.”
Dr. Martin McCaffey, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, had accepted an invitation to speak before the committee, but then discovered that the committee had already voted in favour of abortion.
In an open letter, McCaffey wrote, "On reviewing the testimony before the Committee to date, I was concerned to see that the proceedings were deeply biased in favor of repeal [of the Eighth Amendment].”
Nevertheless, McCaffey continued to discuss possible dates for his testimony, so that he could give medical evidence regarding what harm would come to Ireland if it were to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
"However,” he added, “over the past weekend I discovered that the Oireachtas Committee had, on October 18th, already taken the crucial vote to repeal the Eighth. I'm not sure many can imagine my reaction. It was clear then that the late invitation for my testimony, only issued after the vote on repeal had already been taken, was a retrospective effort to attempt to offer some illusion of balance to the Oireachtas hearings."
McCaffrey said that it was "with great regret" that he would "be respectfully declining the invitation to offer testimony to the Committee."
He said that he would "not partake in a charade" and likened the proceedings to a "kangaroo court", a criticism which was widely reported in the Irish media.
"In reviewing the proceedings, testimony and transcripts from records on the Committee website one can only conclude that the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth is a ‘kangaroo court’, McCaffey stated. “[Just] as disturbing is that it appears most Committee members did not see the need for a fair hearing for such a momentous issue as the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, but were satisfied with the prejudiced process that took place.”
"I hope that the Irish people will not be deceived by such theater," he added.
Professor Patricia Casey, a famous Irish psychiatrist, has also declined to appear before the Committee as scheduled because she, too, believes it is “deeply unbalanced.”
"It has become increasingly clear that the process of the Committee has been so arranged as to reach a pre-set decision without balanced consideration of any evidence that runs contrary to [it],” she wrote. “Ireland deserves better than that. I will not add any further credence to this deeply flawed process or to its inevitable and equally flawed conclusion that a referendum is required to repeal the 8 amendment without any meaningful Constitutional protection for the unborn child.”
Casey’s and McCaffey’s statements have added to the growing public perception that the Committee's proceedings are a farce.
According to the Life Institute, the Committee has 18 pro-repeal members and only 3 pro-life members and that almost all of the witnesses called before it are pro-abortion, including employees of abortion businesses. However, Committee member Jonathan O’Brien has challenged these figures, saying that he himself is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. He called the behaviour of pro-life members in questioning the Committee’s objectivity “disgraceful.”
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