IT was bound to happen at some stage. The calm, realistic debate had to give way to the familiar name-calling, rolled eyes, exasperated sighs and general tetchiness that always lurk at the edges of the abortion debate, waiting to erupt into something nastier.
You could even question why the various churches and lobby groups were invited before the Oireachtas Health Committee, since we know their positions all too well.
But in fairness to the committee, yesterday's skirmishes were a small blot on what has otherwise been very worthwhile work this week.
Chairman Jerry Buttimer kept a tight rein on proceedings, although he did get involved himself at one stage yesterday.
He told Youth Defence, known for their graphic anti-abortion campaigning: "I would make the point respectfully that, in my humble opinion, your campaigning methodology needs to be reviewed."
He later said he meant to include all groups in his statement, both pro-choice and pro-life, but it still drew an angry response from Dr Sean O Domhnaill of Youth Defence, telling Mr Buttimer he had "impugned" the dignity of his own hearings.
Dr O Domhnaill said: "Most groups will lobby depending on the seriousness of the issue they are dealing with. We are dealing with one of the most serious issues there is. After the Second World War, when people looked at what was seen in the death camps, pictures were shown, and continued to be shown all over the world, of corpses piled upon corpses piled upon corpses, because they said we must make sure this never happens again." It was draining stuff.
"Today is about emotion," sighed one TD during a break. And it rumbled on, like an old song you wished you had forgotten.
Labour's Ivana Bacik accused the Catholic Church of being motivated by a hatred of women in their opposition to abortion.
"No woman has ever called me a misogynist," replied Fr Timothy Bartlett.
Fine Gael senators Paul Bradford, Fidelma Healy-Eames and Michael Mullins took exception to the Choice Ireland website, which labelled those opposed to abortion as "anti-choice".
Mr Bradford said the organisation linked its "anti-choice" opponents with anti-contraception, anti-sex education and homophobic causes.
"I am not anti-contraception, I am not anti-sex education, I am not homophobic," he said, calling the website "pathetic" and " juvenile".
Abigail Rooney from Choice Ireland accused Mr Bradford of being "juvenile" for even bringing the website up. Enough already.