On Sunday, November 18, more than 1,500 attended
the annual Stand Up For Life Dinner sponsored by the Pro-Life Union of Greater
Philadelphia. The guest speaker
was Eoghan de Faoite, M.D. (pronounced “Owen de Fweeteh”), a 28-year-old physician
and influential Irish pro-life leader.
Since 2002 he has been the chairman of Youth Defence, which galvanizes
and motivates the youth of Ireland to speak out against abortion.
his speech, Dr. de Faoite noted that Ireland is the only country in the Western
world that has not legalized abortion, despite persistent lobbying by a small
but vocal pro-abortion minority.
Among other current events he addressed the tragic deaths of 31-year-old
Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia, a blood infection, and of her
17-week-old preborn child. Even
before the release of complete, official medical reports, pro-abortion forces
seized on this incident, claiming that the woman died because Irish doctors “refused
to perform an abortion to save the life of the mother”.
de Faoite had already left Ireland on a speaking tour when the story broke, so
he admitted that he was unable to comment on the specifics of that particular
case. He has led nationwide
pro-life information tours and directed anti-abortion political lobbying
campaigns, however, and so he is thoroughly informed about maternal care
policies in Ireland.
explained that impartial international studies show that for many years Ireland
has had the lowest maternal mortality rate of any country in the world. When a pregnant woman in Ireland
develops a life-threatening disease or condition, terminating the pregnancy is
not an option; physicians treat
and try to save both mother and child.
Taken together, these two facts are impressive evidence that elective
abortion is neither necessary nor helpful in improving maternal care. Dr. de Faoite cited statistics from the
same international study showing that the maternal mortality rate in
neighboring Britain is five times higher than in Ireland.
try to argue that “the Irish women who need life-saving abortions go to
Britain; that’s why their maternal
mortality rate is so low”. Dr. de
Faoite investigated this claim scientifically. Under the British version of the Freedom of Information Act,
he examined British abortion records for the most recent twenty years and noted
those cases in which the patient gave an address in Ireland. Each file notes the indications
(reasons) for the abortion. There
are six categories, A through F, and category D is “to save the life of the
mother”. The speaker asked the
audience to guess how many of the abortions performed on Irish women in those
twenty years were “class-D abortions”.
The answer: Zero. There is absolutely no basis in fact
for the argument that Irish woman who went abroad for “necessary life-saving
abortions” helped to lower the maternal mortality rate in Ireland.
Faoite’s review of these simple facts highlights the illogic and
of those who have tried to score political points following the death of
Halappanavar. Irish standards for
maternal care are not inherently unjust to women. There is no “need” to
legalize abortion in Ireland. On the contrary, the Irish example of
the world’s best maternal carein the absence of legal abortionshould
beacon to the benighted world of pro-abortion ideologues.