Pro-abortion Minister for Health Harris’s leadership by soundbite leads to ethical abyss

By Dave Andrusko

Irish Minister of Health Simon Harris

NRL News Today has carefully followed the long and tortuous path that brings us to the tragic reality of abortion in Ireland today. There was the lengthy runup to the initial debate whether to delete the pro-life 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, then a stacked “Citizens Assembly” which recommended gutting the Amendment, followed last May by an overwhelming vote to end the status quo which recognized the equal rights of mother and unborn child.

Now as the Parliament debates amendments to the radical pro-abortion “Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill,” we see both a full flowering of the anti-life animus and a performance by the Minister for Health that is as unseemly as it is devious.

Personally, I have learned a great deal by reading William Binchy who is an adjunct professor of law, Trinity College Dublin, and legal adviser to the Pro Life Campaign. In Monday’s Irish Times, Prof. Binchy did indeed show that the Emperor—Minister for Health Simon Harris—has no clothes.

You must read the post in its entirety. It is that good. Here are just a few of the keen insights.

* In the hands of the likes of Harris, facts are extremely malleable. “The Government’s Bill provides for the intentional taking of the life of an unborn child, for any reason up to 12 weeks and for a range of reasons extending well beyond the protection of the mother’s life right up to birth. The Minister says the Bill does not provide for late abortion. The facts are otherwise. …

“The Bill is not concerned with cases of early delivery of viable babies. Its focus is the intentional termination of the child’s life. The Minister stated unequivocally in the Dáil [lower house of Parliament] on November 7th: ‘Abortion is not allowed in Ireland where a pregnancy has reached viability.’ His own Bill directly contradicts this assertion for the future, prescribed by the legislation he has produced.”

*”Harris says abortions for disability will not take place. Yet the fact is that, under his Bill, it is likely that some abortions will take place based on a 99 per cent accuracy of testing within the 12-week period. Harris plays complex language games directed at people of good faith who do not endorse abortions where the baby has a disability. … The fact is that the Bill obliges a general practitioner who is told by the mother that this is why the abortion is being sought to ensure that the abortion is facilitated. Far from excluding the possibility of abortions being carried out because the baby has a disability, Mr. Harris’s legislation requires doctors to involve themselves actively in ending the baby’s life.”

* The Minister opposes provisions ensuring that the baby should at least not suffer pain,” Binchy writes. “The fact is that many babies do. No doctor, even the strongest enthusiast for Harris’s Bill, can deny the fact that the Bill legalises abortions of babies well capable of suffering pain. Harris prefers to leave the matter to the discretion of doctors carrying out the abortion. When asked whether he personally supported pain relief being provided to individuals in an operation that causes pain, he said he was ‘not in the opinion space.’”

One more, although there a plethora to choose from.

*With respect to rights of conscience, Binchy observes “Harris is proposing that general practitioners who are sufficiently troubled by this injustice must be implicated in the process by requiring them to take steps to ensure that the baby’s life is indeed terminated by the intervention of another general practitioner. This is a profound corruption of medical ethics and a violation of freedom of conscience. Harris’s insistence on forcing humane doctors to be tarnished by such active involvement is puzzling, as he can achieve by a range of other means the goal of making abortion available in every locality, if this is his desire.”

Prof. Binchy’s conclusion is unassailable and deeply troubling:

Up to now, Harris has proceeded by soundbite. His underlying strategy suggests a coherent and consistent philosophy, but one that, when probed, contradicts the humane principles on which our society has been founded. Intentionally taking the lives of human beings, even very small, defenceless and dependent ones, is not right. It is not necessary. It causes injustice and pain. A Minister for Health in Ireland today can do better than this.