'Rape victims should be helped keep their babies' - says midwife
Campaigners for a No vote have argued the "only thing worse than rape" is death.
Midwife Paula Barry told a Save the Eighth event in Dublin that rape victims should be helped if they want to give up their child for adoption.
She believes women should be encouraged by the State to keep their babies in the first instance.
The comments came as a group of doctors, midwives and nurses hit out at the legislation being proposed by the Government if the referendum passes.
Ms Barry said what Health Minister Simon Harris is proposing "is not healthcare".
"Why not make it easier for them to love their little baby even if he or she will not live for long? Support in the good and the bad times, that's what healthcare is," she said.
Addressing the question of abortion in cases of rape, Ms Barry said: "Apparently the only thing worse than rape for the women is death. So by encouraging a women to abort her unborn baby, you are introducing the concept of death.
"I say love her, make her feel cherished, make her feel 'yes, I can do this'. Should she consider adoption, support her.”
At the same event, Dr Neil Maguire, a GP based in Navan, Co Meath, said it would be "unreasonable and impossible" to expect doctors "to add ending lives to the list of their duties".
He said the health system couldn't cope with the numbers of abortions and the proposals had "all the hallmarks of another botched job by the Department of Health".
The No side upped the ante on Mr Harris yesterday, with nurse Marie Donnelly calling on him to "come out of hiding".
She claimed the minister just "pops up" at launches to say "things like 'the current situation is untenable'".
"The lies about the abortion pill in this debate can no longer be ignored. It is not a magic tablet that makes pregnancies go away," Ms Donnelly said, adding that the public was being "fed a diet of rubbish" by the minister.
Mr Harris, who is scheduled to take part in an RTÉ 'Prime Time' debate next week, attended a Together For Yes launch hosted by the National Women's Council of Ireland yesterday.
He said he was looking forward to getting more involved in the debate as it nears voting day, adding: "There is a need for change.
"The status quo is not working for women and it's not working for doctors. We can take nothing for granted."
He said that if one vote had changed in every ballot box in the country during the divorce referendum it would have been a different outcome.
Asked about complaints from GPs that they haven't been consulted on the proposal to legalise abortion up to 12 weeks, Mr Harris said such a conversation was "entirely hypothetical" unless the Eighth Amendment was repealed.
"There is genuinely a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no Plan B because there can't be," he said.
"If you vote No, I'm not sure what kind of message that will send out to the women leaving our country today."