The medical evidence is clear: abortion does not help women who are suicidal – and in fact it can hurt them.

In a special 2013 hearing, all the medical experts agreed that abortion is NOT a treatment where a pregnant mother is in distress and is contemplating suicide.

They pointed out that the medical evidence shows that abortion is NOT a solution to suicidality, and some research shows that women are at greater risk of dying by suicide following abortion.

Instead, doctors showed, the correct response to suicidality is to provide proper psychological treatment and medication to women in crisis. Modern medicine can, and should, care for both mother and baby.


See the Evidence in this two-minute video


6 key points that the medical experts made:

That evidence demolished the case for legalising abortion on suicide grounds.

  1. All of the medical experts agreed that abortion is never a treatment for suicidality
  2. None knew of a case where an abortion was the only treatment for a woman who was suicidal.
  3. None knew of a case where a woman had died by suicide because abortion was not available.
  4. Senior psychiatrists testified that abortion would be “completely obsolete” in respect of a person who is extremely suicidal.
  5. Evidence was given that abortion can actually increase the risk of suicide.
  6. Experts confirmed that suicide in pregnancy is very rare – and that treatment for suicidality included providing safety, nursing, psychological treatment and medication.


What the Medical Experts Said

“There is no evidence either in literature or from the work of St Patrick’s University Hospital that indicates that termination of pregnancy is an effective treatment for any mental health disorder or difficulty”.

Prof James Lucey, St Patrick’s University Hospital


“All appropriate mental health supports need to be made available for women who are at risk of suicide, have threatened to commit suicide, or have suicidal ideation. The committee can ask the psychiatrists, but most people would agree that the termination of pregnancy is not a treatment in this regard.”

Dr Sam Coulter Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital


“..there is no evidence that abortion reduces suicide risk in pregnant women, and there is some evidence that it may have a negative effect in some instances.”

Professor Patricia Casey, Mater Hospital and UCD


“However, we have not had the experience of seeing any women who were suicidal where the appropriate treatment for their suicidal feelings would have been a termination of pregnancy.”

Dr Anthony McCarthy, College of Psychiatry


“I was asked if we have ever had to perform a termination of pregnancy because of risk of suicide; not in my experience.”

Dr Sam Coulter Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital


“I refer to Deputy Terence Flanagan’s question on whether we, as perinatal psychiatrists, have ever seen a situation in which termination of pregnancy has been the treatment for a suicidal woman. To reiterate our statement, with more than 40 years of clinical experience between us, we have not seen one clinical situation in which this is the case.”

Dr. John Sheehan, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, the Rotunda Hospital


“However, one must remember that it is absolutely individual and for us, with our 40 years of experience, we have never assessed a woman for whom our management would be to advise a termination and for the legislators, this must be taken into consideration.”

Dr Joanne Fenton, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, the Coombe Women’s Hospital


“In my work as a psychiatrist, I run the attempted suicide service in the Mater Hospital in which we see and assess more than 400 attempted suicides in women per year. I have never seen a pregnant woman who was suicidal for whom an abortion was the only answer.”

Prof Patricia Casey, Mater Hospital and UCD


“Although we have discussed this among the group [of 12 Obstetricians and Gynaecologists}, I personally have no knowledge of ever having cared for a woman who wanted to end her life specifically because of a pregnancy, and in my pursuit of information over the past week or so, I have been unable to identify any other consultant who did know of such a woman, which backs up the information we already have – i.e., that this is an extremely rare situation.

That was their opinion having practised abroad. In all of their clinical experience and practise they had not met a woman citing suicidal intent or ideation purely because she was pregnant. That was the view of the 12 consultants involved.”

Dr. Mary McCaffrey, OB/GYN, Kerry General Hospital


All women deserve better than abortion and women who are dealing with serious psychological illness most especially deserve proper care and treatment. Abortion is an inappropriate and inhumane treatment for women who are suicidal.