Former Taoiseach condemns abortion of baby girls as "most extreme form of misogyny"
The former Fine Gael politician urged pro-life people to lobby for "freedom of conscience".
Former Taoiseach John Bruton has said that the pro-repeal side, after victory in the recent referendum, were “not always magnanimous, or respectful of the pluralist nature of Irish society and Irish values.”
Addressing an 800-strong crowd at the annual Pro-Life Campaign dinner in Dublin on Saturday evening, Bruton singled out Health Minister Simon Harris over recent remarks he'd made.
“The Minister for Health, speaking in the Dáil after the referendum, on 31 May, did not seem to me to display the balance, and attentiveness to other points of view, that one would like to see in someone who will be deciding on the detailed content of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill," he said.
“He spoke of the referendum result inaugurating what he called ‘a brighter Ireland’. It will not be a bright Ireland for the little babies who will have their lives ended before being allowed to see the light of a single Irish day.
“He talked of the referendum result ‘consigning a misogynistic legacy to the history books’," the former Taoiseach continued.
"He did not seem to reflect on the fact that half the babies whose lives will be ended before birth will be girls. Those little girls will face the most extreme form of misogyny."
The famously pro-life politician was Taoiseach for two-and-a-half years between 1994 to 1997.
He said that the Government’s proposal at this point in time “requires a doctor, who has a conscientious objection to doing an abortion, to ‘make arrangements to transfer the care’ of the woman to a doctor who will do it.”
This, he said, “is aiding and abetting the abortion, and there is no conscience clause here either.”
The 71-year-old said he fears “that doctors who are known to oppose abortion will be targeted under this clause by people wishing to catch them out and put them under threat of criminal prosecution because of their religious or human rights beliefs."
He said that “rather than place this burden on doctors who believe abortion is wrong, it would be more sensible to publish an affirmative list of those who have no conscientious objection to doing abortions.”
Referring to other sections of the Government’s proposed legislation, he said “it will be permissible to end the life of what is deemed a ‘non-viable’ baby, at any stage in the pregnancy, if allowing the baby to be born would pose a ‘risk’ of serious harm to the mental health of the child’s mother.
"Again this is a very loose ground for ending a life. It involves the doctors in making a prediction about the future mental health of the mother after the baby might have been born.
"Whatever about adjudicating about present mental health, deciding about future mental health is completely speculative. And on the basis of that speculation, a baby’s life is to be ended. Indeed it is arguable that having an abortion is more likely, at some stage in the future, to trigger mental problems.”
The Dunboyne native encouraged those attending Saturday evening’s dinner to lobby strongly for amendments to the Government’s legislative proposals which will be introduced to the Dáil in the coming weeks.
“We must continue to work vigilantly at legislative level, within the new constitutional dispensation," he said. "And there is much that can be achieved in the immediate future.”