Save the 8th has issued the following statement responding to comments made by former President McAleese in relation to the 8th amendment this morning: “We agree with the former President that this is a complex issue that involves the balancing of rights. Unfortunately, the Government’s approach does not attempt to balance the rights of the mother and the unborn child – it simply deletes the unborn’s rights from the constitution altogether.

The former President’s concern around comments made by Dr. Peter Boylan, an obstetrician and abortion rights campaigner, is understandable. That is why it is so important to remember that Dr. Boylan’s comments about the impact of the 8th on the ability of doctors to practice medicine have been rejected by no less than thirteen of his fellow obstetricians and clinical specialists operating in this area. These comments represent Dr. Boylan’s personal, avowedly pro-choice, opinion. They do not represent a medical consensus in this area, and presenting them as such does a disservice to the debate.

Having a thorough discussion about such concerns, and how the Government has attempted to exploit them with this extreme, three month abortion on demand proposal, is a vital part of our campaign. The Irish people are not going to vote for abortion on demand for the first three months of pregnancy, and a UK-style “two doctors” system right up until birth. That is not what the former President, or anyone else, could describe as “a balancing of rights”.

Note to Editors
In may 2013, 13 of Doctor Boylan’s colleagues wrote to the Irish Times describing his opinions on the impact of the 8th amendment on healthcare during pregnancy as a “personal, not a professional, opinion”.