Respected OB-GYN: 8th Amendment Does not Stop Doctors from Treating seriously ill Pregnant Women

Editor’s note. This comes from the “Save the 8th” committee, a reference to the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution whose fate will be decided next month in a referendum. The 8th guarantees equal rights to mother and unborn child. In an attempt to scuttle the amendment and authorize Parliament to legalize abortion for at least the first 12 weeks and likely throughout much of pregnancy, opponents of the 8th amendment have circulated many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies.

Dr. Mary Holohan, a deeply respected consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, has written to the Irish Times to tell them that the 8th amendment does not stop doctors treating seriously ill women, and that the pro-choice lie that women are dying due to the 8th is causing unnecessary fear in women.

The letter in full is reproduced below.

Sir,

I am concerned that recent statements are causing unnecessary fears for women. They suggest that obstetricians are curtailed in their ability to care for pregnant patients who are seriously ill.

Across the world only a tiny proportion of terminations of pregnancy are related to obstetrical care. Ireland’s law fully provides for the small number of cases relating to necessary obstetric interventions.

Where it arises, the duty to intervene to save the woman’s life is clear. Under the present law, we have full freedom and support for the requirements of ethical and safe practice.

The threat to the woman’s life does not need to be imminent. We have the scope of practice needed to guarantee best international standards of care to women in pregnancy. Indeed, Ireland has an excellent record by any measure of performance, with very low numbers of women who tragically die in pregnancy. – Yours, etc,

Dr. Mary Holohan,
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dublin