Sunday 19 May 2019

Media ignoring happy ending for abortion-order teen is fake news

The annual Rally for Life march at Merrion Square, in Dublin. Photo: Fergal Phillips
The annual Rally for Life march at Merrion Square, in Dublin. Photo: Fergal Phillips

David Quinn

Media bias is the functional equivalent of fake news. Fake news is intended to deceive and mislead the public. Media bias may not seek to deceive but it has the same effect of misleading the public by giving only one side of the story. Media bias is a huge problem in Ireland, so bad it is a problem for the healthy functioning of Irish democracy.

We got an excellent example of media bias over the last few days and unless you were reading this newspaper you would know nothing about it. On Saturday, the Irish Independent gave us more details about the case of the pregnant, suicidal teenager who was initially refused an abortion after she was referred to psychiatrists under the Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy Act of 2013.

What we now know, or rather what some of us now know, is that the girl, 16 years of age and almost 24 weeks' pregnant when she was referred to psychiatrists, had the baby and the baby is now living with her and her family.

When this story first broke in the national media last month, we heard the girl had been sectioned and was initially refused an abortion on the grounds this would not help her mental state. The country was invited to be outraged that she was not allowed to have an abortion on the spot. It seemed like another example of the 'inhuman' operation of our very restrictive abortion law. This interpretation of the story was all over the airwaves. It seemed like another argument against the Eighth Amendment.

That was one side of the story. The fact that both mother and child are alive and well is the other side of the story, an eminently newsworthy story. It is also a pro-life story in the best sense of that term. The mother's life mattered, and the baby's life mattered as well. Doctors saved both and looked after both.

Once the girl was referred to psychiatric services, the doctors had a duty to both her and to her baby. Psychiatrists deal with suicidal people all the time and they endeavour to save their lives, while doing no harm to others.

In this case it was possible to help both the mother and her child and that is what they did. It wasn't clear that she was suicidal because she was pregnant. The psychiatrists she saw disagreed on this point. This is why some of them recommended an abortion and others did not.

In the end, the former group prevailed. She was to have her abortion. In the end, however, the baby was safely delivered at seven months into the pregnancy.

The girl is almost certainly very glad of the outcome. When she looks at her baby, I think we can take it as a given that she loves and cherishes her baby and is thankful that her baby is alive.

When the Irish Independent broke this side of the story on Saturday, you would imagine the rest of the media would pick up on it, especially given the huge interest they had in the story when the first details emerged. But no. They ignored it.

They cannot plead that they ignored it because it would somehow break confidentiality. Nothing in the Irish Independent story gave away the identity of the girl, her family or her medical team.

So why didn't they report it? It is because of the positive outcome of the story, the pro-life outcome of the story? Was it ideologically inconvenient?

If this is the explanation, it is a terrible failure of journalism and it amounts to fake news because it withholds crucial facts that would enable the public to arrive at a proper understanding of the story.

Those who want abortion in this country wanted that girl to have an abortion on the spot. They hated the fact that she first needed the green light from psychiatrists who would judge that she was suicidal because of the pregnancy and that the only way to save her was by terminating the pregnancy, that is, by ending the life inside her.

But even in Britain, where there are 200,000 abortions per annum, two doctors must approve an abortion before it takes place. This law is widely abused and doctors often pre-sign forms without ever seeing the women seeking an abortion.

The Government, by the way, appears to want us to adopt a British-style abortion law. They want to fool us into thinking this is 'moderate'. They want the 'health' ground incorporated into Irish law. This, to them, is the 'moderate' position between 'extremists' like me and the hard-left TDs.

But 95pc of abortions in the UK take place on the health ground, and of those no less than 99.8pc take place on mental health grounds. In other words, the vast majority of all abortions in Britain take place for 'mental health' reasons. This is not a 'moderate' law by any stretch.

But note again that under British law women are supposed to see two doctors before any abortion can take place. It is a fig leaf, obviously, because it doesn't seem to prevent any abortions to speak of. Nonetheless, pro-choice activists both here and in Britain don't like the requirement.

Pro-abortion activists in Ireland basically want the requirement for medical approval lifted where a pregnant woman says she is suicidal. They want her to have her abortion right there and then, no questions asked.

If they had their way, the baby in this case would be dead. The mother would not now be caring for her baby, with the help of her own family.

This shows that for some on the pro-abortion lobby, only one life matters, the life of the mother. For the pro-life lobby, both lives matter, that of the mother and that of the child.

Last Saturday, a huge pro-life march, the 'Rally for Life', took place in Dublin. According to RTÉ, tens of thousands took part.

On the section of O'Connell Street near the Spire, about 200 pro-abortion activists lined up on either side of the march shouting at those taking part in it.

One of the things they shouted was "you don't care if women die", an obvious falsehood. Pro-life advocates want to protect both lives. Can the same be said of pro-choice activists? Here's a test; are they glad or not that the baby in the case described in this article is alive and well?

Irish Independent

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