The church “did not interfere in the last three years, when 21,000 abortions were registered,” says the minister

In the last three years since abortion became legal there have been around 21,000 abortions in Ireland – and the Catholic Church has not interfered in any of them.

hat was Junior Health Secretary Mary Butler’s impassioned argument to the Dáil in statements about the planned establishment of a new national maternity hospital on the St Vincent’s site in Dublin.

“The religious orders have left the scene,” stressed Ms Butler as she joined Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly in defending the paused decision to proceed with construction on land that will technically remain owned by St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the Sisters of Charity include , under a 299-year lease.

“The figures show that since the law was changed, 21,000 abortions have taken place,” Ms Butler said, an average of about 7,000 a year.

“The facts speak for themselves. Abortions take place every day of the week. They happen every week of the month, and they happen every month of the year.”

She asked why there was concern that not all legally permitted services would be provided in the new National Maternity Hospital.

This was because they were already taking place at the existing Holles Street hospital and other hospitals in Ireland, Ms Butler said.

“The religious orders have left the scene. They no longer provide health care.

“They have not interfered in the last three years, when 21,000 abortions have been recorded. That’s fact and that’s reality,” she added.

It would muddy the waters to argue otherwise, Minister Butler argued.

“All procedures currently offered at the Irish Law National Maternity Hospital will be performed at Elm Park (the name of the existing St Vincent’s site in Donnybrook, Dublin).

“This includes abortion, provision of contraceptive services, tubal ligation, fertility services and sex reassignment procedures.

“It couldn’t be clearer – clinical services are not provided according to religious principles, but according to the best national and international clinical practice.”

In recent days, the very clinicians who provide such care in Ireland have supported the project, she said.

While Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, a doctor, has worked in Holles Street, she doesn’t think any other politician in the Dáil has done so, she added.

“So we have to believe the clinicians, particularly the clinicians at the National Maternity Hospital, who have spoken passionately about the project and urged us to move forward,” Ms Butler told TDs.

They have clearly recognized that there are now a number of legal provisions in place to guarantee that all legal proceedings take place in the new facility.

“These are the clinicians who annually bring several hundred pregnant women to St Vincent’s Hospital (off Holles Street) for inpatient or outpatient treatment.

“These are the clinicians who each year see a number of critically ill women being transferred to intensive care units that are not available locally.”

Physically transferring such high-risk clinical cases between two different sites, as is currently the case, is not in line with best practice, she said.

“But don’t take my word for it. Please read the correspondence and listen to Dr. Rhona Mahony, Professor Mary Higgins and many others,” the Minister said. “They, along with many doctors from all maternity facilities, have expressed their confidence in the agreements negotiated between the relevant parties.

“And I am convinced that their confidence is well founded.” The church “did not interfere in the last three years, when 21,000 abortions were registered,” says the minister

Fry Electronics Team

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