Cork University Philosophical Society held a debate on Monday January 17th, “That this house would not legalise abortion”. Supporting the motion Professor William Binchy of Trinity College Dublin reminded the assembly that Ireland achieves safer outcomes for mothers than in countries with greater resources and a liberal abortion regime.
Independent Senator Rónán Mullen, also speaking in support of the motion said that any satisfactory settlement of the abortion issue required a referendum and that there was a tendency in some sections of the media to bemoan the fact that Ireland has had full-scale national debates on abortion on numerous occasions.
“It remains a fact that any satisfactory settlement of this issue will require a referendum. There is a simple reason for this: democratic legitimacy.”
He added that among the new features of this discussion would be the emerging voices of Irish women who have had abortions and “regretted their decision”, the voices of younger people whose parents contemplated abortion but changed their minds.
Dr Mary Favier of Doctors for choice opposing the motion claimed that Irish Women are accessing abortion pills over the internet without the benefit of medical support or guidance because of Ireland’s failure to face up to the reality of unplanned pregnancies.
Needless to say the newspaper headline focused on the latter claim by Dr Favier with a banner headline “Women accessing abortion pills online” rather than on the fact that Ireland achieves safer outcomes for mothers than in countries with greater resources and a liberal abortion regime.