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To the Irish public,
We are nurses and midwives, and we are voting no.
We came into this profession so that we could help to save lives, and bring new lives into the world. Now, we are being asked to end them.
On May 25th, we will be asked to give our approval for a law that would introduce abortion for perfectly healthy babies, and perfectly healthy mothers, for any reason. The law will also allow the abortion of a perfectly healthy baby on mental health grounds up to six months. In the UK, 97% of all abortions are on healthy babies and are carried out on mental health grounds.
We are being asked, in short, to change the culture of Ireland completely. The experience of other countries tells us that, in a few short years, abortion will become the first option rather than the last resort presented to a pregnant woman in difficulty.
Even if this proposal were not horrific, it would be completely impractical. Irish medicine is in a crisis. Waiting lists have never been longer – for the elderly, for disabled children, for pregnant mothers. Abortions cannot go on a waiting list for nine months – they must be done now before there is a risk that the baby will be born. The Government is proposing that at least 5,000, and up to 10,000 additional operations and procedures should be given priority over those people currently waiting too long for the help they need. On a very practical level, this is gravely immoral.
This is abortion on demand, and the Government expect GPs and hospitals to carry it out.
Simon Harris has not consulted the very people he wants to carry out these abortions. He has said he will not talk to us until the referendum has passed. That will be too late. He wants to wreck our health service first and ask us later. This has been the pattern of his time in office – and it is time to say NO.
As the people on the front lines of the health service, and the people who do our best for pregnant women, we know the truth: No Irish woman needs to fear being pregnant in Ireland. Our pre-natal services are amongst the best in the world. If you have a problem, we will help you, and your baby, and you will get the best care possible.
But today, we are asking you to help us.
Please do not make us, or our colleagues, take part in the abortion of healthy babies, of healthy mothers.
Please do not let Simon Harris clog up our health service with at least 5,000 and up to 10,000 unnecessary, and gruesome procedures- procedures that will take priority over our patients on waiting lists.
Please, don’t copy the mistake made in Britain, where one in four pregnancies end in abortion, and where nine out of ten babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome end in abortion.
Like many of you, we are troubled by difficult cases. When a woman is told her baby may not survive, we are there. When a woman has been raped, we are often the first to see her. We are compassionate, and we understand their pain.
But a law that would introduce abortion on this scale is not what we need, and not something we can cope with.
So please, on May 25th, vote NO to the Government’s proposals. They are unjust, they will harm mothers, they will harm our health service, and they will take the lives of perfectly healthy unborn babies.