The Journal IE Fact Check Upholds Aontús Claim that Sex-Selective Abortion is Legal in Ireland
The Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has responded to the Journal IE's 'fact check' of a claim he made in recent weeks regarding sex-selective abortions in Ireland.
Deputy Tóibin said:
"I very much welcome the news that, following a fact-check, The Journal IE has this week upheld my claim that sex-selective abortion is legal in Ireland. However, it is clear that they have employed linguistic gymnastics in an attempt to cast doubt over the claim. I thought it only appropriate that I respond to some of the issues raised in the article.
During the week I was contacted by Rónán Duffy, a journalist at thejournal.ie who informed me that the publication was conducting a fact check of a claim I had made in an earlier press release where I'd stated that sex-selective abortion is legal in Ireland. In his email to me, Mr Duffy asked me if what I'd meant to say was that it "is not expressly legal". I struggle to find a difference between the terms 'not illegal' and 'legal'. Sex-selective abortion is not illegal in Ireland, therefore it is legal".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "Not everyone is familiar with the abortion legislation which passed in 2018. It allows for abortion for any reason in the first three months of pregnancy (12 weeks). It also allows for abortion on unspecified health grounds any time in the first six months of pregnancy, the definition of 'health' in the legislation also includes reference to mental health. Beyond that, on other grounds, abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Given that abortion is legal in the first 12 weeks without restriction, then it stands to reason that abortion is legal here on the grounds of gender, race and disability. In 2018 I introduced an amendment at committee stage as the abortion Bill was being debated, seeking to ban abortion on the grounds of gender, race or disability. Not one person voted in favour of that amendment at the Health Committee which consisted of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour Party and Sinn Féin members".
"This 'fact check' by the Journal displays a number of weaknesses. Given the seriousness of female selection abortion its important that they are addressed. Female selection abortion ends the lives of millions of girls around the world, including in western countries with similar population profiles as Ireland. Its not something to be caviler about. Its not something that can be settled with words such as "probably", "usually" or "likely". It should be illegal, simple as".
"I made a claim about the law. If anybody wished to fact check my claim they need only open the statute books and consult the law in question. The Journal did this and concluded that my claim was 'correct', but that it contained 'elements of falsehood'. I wish to publicly challenge Rónán Duffy and The Journal IE to explain what these ''falsehoods' are, and to point out any Irish act or legislation which prohibits gender-selection abortion. A simple Google of NIPT tests in Ireland will tell you that that are available from 9 weeks of gestation and the results are available from 8 working days. In practical terms female section abortion is not just legal but also feasible in terms of time". added Tóibín.
"The Non-Invasive Pregnancy Test (NIPT) is available in Ireland from 9 weeks of pregnancy. There are many private companies advertising the test online. This test screens for a number of chromosomal conditions, and can also determine the baby's gender with a 99% accuracy. The results are returned, these advertisements say, within 8 working days. This timeframe leaves it possible for abortions to be carried out, within the first 12 weeks, based on the sex of the baby. Sex selection abortion or 'missing girls' is an international phenomenum, with even Britian's Labour Party recognising the need for legislation in this area. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/selective-abortions-gender-tests-girls-uk-labour-a8540851.html
It must be remembered that some abortion campaigners support the 'right' to abortion on the basis of the child being female. If you are really pro choice, then there can be no restrictions, even banning something as grievously discriminatory as female selection abortion is a restriction on choice. Ann Furedi is Head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). Her organization openly supports female selection abortion. They supported the extreme abortion legislation that was pushed through the Dáil in 2018 and stated at the time that Ireland's law is an example for Britain to follow.
Aontú is a pluralist party, in the tradition of Wolfe Tone and the vision of the 1916 proclamation. We believe that discrimination based on gender, race or ability is abhorrent and should have no place on our island. We believe that everyone should have the right to life. We seek to cherish all the children of the nation equally, and to this end we will be introducing a Bill to ban abortion on the grounds of sex, race or on the grounds that the baby has a disability, we hope that Fianna Fáil, Labour, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael will reconsider their vote on this matter, this time around. Abortion discriminates against unborn babies based on their gender, ability and race. There is nothing progressive about that", concluded Deputy Tóibín.