'Barbaric' to force women to leave State
Four mums-to-be are told every day that their babies won't live
Three, possibly four, Irish women leave the State every day to travel to England to terminate foetuses that are incapable of surviving outside of the womb once born, according to independent TD John Halligan.
He made this startling claim amidst indications of growing anger among the group Termination for Medical Reasons over the failure of the Government to legislate to deal with the issue.
Mr Halligan told the Sunday Independent that Health Minister James Reilly "had, with tears in his eyes, made commitments to the group at a private meeting in June last year, that something would be done on the issue.
"When the group tried to contact him on the issue he has not returned their calls''.
Mr Halligan warned: "This is an issue that is simply not going to go away.''
Over 1,500 women per year learn "in heartbreaking fashion" that they were carrying a foetus that would live for just seconds or minutes outside the womb''.
"Up to 80 per cent of such mothers when faced with "a crisis of conscience – whether to continue with their doomed pregnancy only to watch their baby die in their arms after taking its first breath or whether to end the pregnancy – decide to end the pregnancy," he said.
In the Dail last week, Mr Halligan noted that one woman, having given birth to a child that lived for 25 seconds, has been traumatised for three years "after she went through with the birth having been recommended not to do so because the foetus was so badly damaged.''
Another source aligned to the group told the Sunday Independent of a case where "three weeks after the termination, the hospital couriered the remains – imagine how that felt, to have the postman arrive with your lost child''.
Mr Halligan told Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dail last week that it was "barbaric" that the State is "forcing these women to carry an unviable foetus to term in the knowledge that it will be incapable of surviving''.
In a chilly response, the Taoiseach told Mr Halligan: "While I understand the point the deputy is making, this is a different set of circumstances which are not contemplated under the Bill.''