Sunday 20 October 2019

Chambers apologises for 'hurt' over remark on abortion regret

Lisa Chambers was speaking in a Dail debate. Photo: Tom Burke
Lisa Chambers was speaking in a Dail debate. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers has apologised for any hurt caused when she said abortion regret is a "makey-uppy thing" during a heated debate in the Dail.

It came after Woman Hurt, a group of women who regret having abortions, claimed the remarks were "ignorant and offensive".

Ms Chambers's comments came as the Dail was considering an amendment to the Government's planned abortion law. The proposal would mean women seeking an abortion would have to undergo an ultrasound and be given the option to view it by their doctor.

Doctors that don't do this would face a fine or possible jail sentence under the amendment put forward by pro-life TDs. It will not have enough support to be passed. Former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin spoke in support of the proposal. He said that the ultrasound was included in the amendment as abortion regret was a "significant issue".

The official Dail transcript records Ms Chambers as saying: "Abortion regret is made up and it does not exist" though video from Thursday night shows that she said: "Abortion regret is a makey-uppy thing. It doesn't exist."

She argued that the amendment was put forward out of "faux concern for women" but is actually about "trying to judge them, embarrass them, make them feel bad in the hope that if you shame them into it, they might continue with the pregnancy".

Women Hurt spokesperson Bernadette Goulding criticised Ms Chambers's remarks that abortion regret is "makey-uppy".

She claimed Ms Chambers "might have thought twice" before making "such an ignorant statement" if she knew the "devastating impact" of her comments on women who live with the "heartbreak of their abortion".

Women Hurt say they have sought a meeting with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Ms Chambers and are seeking a "fulsome apology".

Ms Goulding also said: "I don't buy the excuse that her comments were taken out of context" and she said there is research highlighting the negative after-effects of abortion on women.

Last night, Ms Chambers told the Sunday Independent: "I apologise for any upset or hurt caused." She insisted her comments were taken out of context.

She said contributions from some TDs during debates in Leinster House suggested that abortion regret is an accepted medical condition and her intention was to highlight that it's not a medical term. Ms Chambers added: "Of course I'm not suggesting that 100pc of people are happy with their choice. That wouldn't be true of any decision."

She said she hoped her critics will "understand where I was coming from" now that she's clarified her remarks.

The Government hopes to pass the legislation on terminations in time for abortion services to become available from January next year.

Sunday Independent

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