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Can we all just take a moment for Dr Rhona Mahony?


Good morning.

Among the first to address the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, which is sitting for three days this week to hear submissions from experts and advocates regarding implementation of the X Case ruling, was Dr Rhona Mahony.

Dr Mahony, who is Master of the National Maternity Hospital, spoke with persuasive clarity and passion on an issue which has adversely affected patients and doctors in Ireland for around three decades now.

And she was fabulous. (Watch Oireachtas playback here and RTÉ Six One coverage here. Official transcript is here.)






Images: RTÉ News (screengrabs)


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  • She is awesome- I’m so glad someone that smart and eloquent got in there before the prolife crazies start their usual venomous stream of lies.

    shauna said:
  • Wow. .. guess from that statement you are not calling for a reasoned debate? She spoke very well and respectfully. That’s what will change minds and laws not labelling every opponent as liars and crazy. I am pro life but agree with this change in the law as it is unacceptable that a woman is put at risk of dying when something medical can be done…but wait since im crazy and a liar feel free to disagree with that last statement.

    Nora said:
  • Actually Nora I was referring to the Bishops and other pro life groups who are due to speak at the committee today: Youth Defense and the Iona Institute in particular.

    I am sure we all remember the outrageous ad and billboard campaigns run by Youth Defense during the summer (“Abortion is not the answer – there is always a better way” – oh really?! – try telling that to Savita Halappanavar.)

    I despise the holier than thou approach that these groups take – refusing to see that this issue is not black and white, and most despicably, their presumption that grown women cannot be trusted to make reproductive decisions for their own bodies.

    shauna said:
  • Thank you for the clarification. Perhaps I was a little touchy. I really hate the liberal view that we all have to accept change and other opinions but that people of a more conservative point of view are wackies.. I do think many groups in the pro life group push the boundaries of decent cogent arguments but so do the pro abortion lobby. If we stopped talking in such derogatory ways we might learn from each other. I myself have moved from a total anti abortion stance to abortion in certain circumstances precisely by listening to others. I dont think I will ever go to pro abortion but I can respect those that do.

    Nora said:
  • Ps having listened to the reports about todays debate I am heartened by the adult respectful debate that was held. I think a lot of people are relieved that we can finally have reasoned dialogue. Having said that there is still time for it to descend into the farce of previous discussions…hope not

    Nora said:
  • I take your use of the term “pro abortion lobby” to be insultingly pushing the terms of this debate beyond decent cogent arguments, as you put it.

    No-one on the PRO-CHOICE side is pushing for random abortions for all – they are arguing for women to be allowed to choose what happens to their own bodies, in any number of different and often very difficult circumstances. I have not met one pro-choice person who does not acknowledge that abortion is an extremely difficult decision to make, but they always insist that that decision must be left up to the women concerned.

    If you don’t want an abortion, fine – that is your decision. But why deny other women the chance to actually choose what goes on in their own bodies? That is what this debate boils down to. I would never be so arrogant as to presume I know best for pregnant women in this country, knowing nothing of their individual circumstances and health backgrounds.

    It is not a black and white issue.

    shauna said:
  • Ok am unsure where you got the idea that I thought pro abortion lobbyist were advocating abortions willy nilly. I was saying that by using derogatory statements both sides of the discussion push the boundaries of respectful engagement. I know lots of people who are pro choice but anti abortion on demand. Perhaps that is why you object to the term pro abortion and so I will duly note that when I speak of it again.i can see by labelling people as pro abortion disguises the various stances people have.
    As for women choosing what goes on in their own bodies its not black and white…well its not if you believe that the unborn have rights too..although I dont believe a the unborns right to life supercedes the mothers.
    I guess my opinion is coloured from my own miscarriage. I can appreciate that the unborn in my body could not have survived but I still grieve for its potential which is very like the grief you have when anyone dies. . Yeah you miss what was but you grieve for what you might miss.
    It’s because of this I just can’t see myself supporting abortion as in england but as I have said we do need to allow it under the circumstances now being discussed and where the pregnancy was the result of abuse.
    Again I merely have a different view..am not trying to provoke and most certainly not trying to insult.

    Nora said:
  • Just noticed I used the term pro abortion in last statement again. Sorry was re quoting your point and reused it again.

    Nora said:
  • Hi Nora,

    I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage, I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you.

    I think I take my calls for a new approach to abortion in Ireland from the reality that about 5000 women are already traveling to the UK every year for a termination. (See bpas.ie) Ireland clearly does have abortion – we just export it to our nearest neighbor. Why can’t it be available here in a safe and regulated manner, to save women the expense and trauma of having to travel, in any number of different and difficult circumstances.

    It’s hypocritical for pro life campaigners to sanctimoniously claim they want to keep Ireland “abortion free”

    Finally, I firmly believe that the rights of the woman come first, and that she should be allowed to decide what goes on in her body.

    shauna said:
  • Fair point…well made. But probably leaves us back where we started. As usual a good discussion aids understanding and I know I learned something from it. Perhaps if our lawmakers were sure about their position we wouldnt have to have our argument! Best regards nora

    Nora said:
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