Monday 16 September 2019

Psychiatrist Patricia Casey pulls out of appearing at 'deeply imbalanced' Oireachtas abortion committee

Dr Patricia Casey
Dr Patricia Casey
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Leading psychiatrist Dr Patricia Casey announced today she will not be appearing before the Oireachtas committee on abortion next week, saying the process has become “deeply imbalanced.”

Dr Casey, of the Mater Hospital in Dublin said she is “unwilling to participate in a process that is so deeply imbalanced in respect of those invited to present evidence.”

She was scheduled to present before the Oireachtas Committee on abortion on October 25 but made it clear today she is withdrawing from the process.

She said  “I have carefully followed the sessions of the 8 Committee in preparation for, and in anticipation of, appearing before it.  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 this pre-determined outcome.

“There are 25 on the pro-choice side and four with a pro-life or neutral perspective. Ireland deserves better than that.

“I believe the Committee is failing Ireland’s unique European position in providing protection for the rights of an unborn child and is failing in its duty to Ireland to fairly consider evidence that runs contrary to its fixed and inevitable conclusion that the Constitutional protections for the unborn child should be abandoned.”

Dr Casey added: “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.

Professor Casey said she also had “concerns about the tenor and veracity of some of the remarks made by some Committee members at committee hearings.

“ For example, I was forcibly struck by the comment of one member that ‘lies’ were being told about botched abortions and gestational periods. An example of a botched abortion was offered by one of the speakers who claimed that a woman had died travelling between Britain and Ireland for an abortion, although the example was used to justify performing abortions in Ireland.

“The incident was subsequently erroneously reported as taking place on the flight back to Ireland. In fact, this woman tragically died in a taxi after an abortion in London and this information has been in the public domain for a long time.

“The member of the committee who spoke of ‘lies’ had clearly never heard of this case while the person who made the comment used it to castigate our laws when this tragedy was due to the procedure itself obtained in the UK, something that could as easily have happened here, if we had abortion clinics.”

She added:“I have never demurred from informing the public of the evidenced based information in respect of women’s mental health and abortion and I did so in 2013 before a similar Oireachtas Committee when the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill was being considered.

“Had I felt that the current committee was truly open and objective I would have presented the research evidence showing that abortion does not protect women’s mental health, information on the debate on whether abortion harms women’s mental health and the data limitations concerning refused abortion.

“In my opinion this committee has adopted as its primary purpose a determination to repeal the 8 Amendment and to that end is intent on advocates of that position being favoured over independent experts.   It was, I suggest, supposed to conduct a balanced hearing and, in that purpose, has failed.   The great tragedy is that this failure is designed to reduce the Constitutional protection of Irish unborn children.  The public are being manipulated and in conscience, I cannot be used by it to legitimatise its pre-determined outcome.”

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