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It’s time we addressed perinatal deaths issue 

Published 17/05/2016

Sabina Higgins’s remarks regarding the availability of abortion to mothers who receive devastating news while pregnant regarding the life-expectancy of their unborn babies have been well covered in the media (Comment/Write Back, May 16).

Any woman who hears that her baby will not live, or will not live for long, is entitled to feel outraged — and to feel that outrage keenly.

So, I find myself asking: how does a modern, caring, inclusive society help and support these mothers? Does a society that espouses equality see the unborn as less equal in value?

Should we provide grief counselling for the mother and family? We all know someone who has lost a baby, often early on in pregnancy, and people need to grieve.

Should we be funding perinatal hospices? We all know stories of families who have spent precious minutes, hours or days with their children before their short lives ended.

Should we precipitate the inevitable death of a sick child by abortion? Should we shorten their lives because they are going to die anyway? Should we acknowledge the negative effects abortion can have on the mother’s mental health? Should the decision be left to the mother alone? Should we have an honest conversation about all these issues?

Outrage is easy — far harder to grapple with the painful realities. The irony is that speaking up for a weaker person’s right to life is now seen as outrageous by some.

MARY O’BYRNE

By email

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