Repeat after me: “No medical evidence was offered”

This, in The Irish Times, September 24, helps put the record straight in “the paper of record”:

Sir, – Claire Brophy (September 19th) has got her facts wrong regarding the A, B, C v Ireland case.
C did not have cancer when she became pregnant and she most certainly did not have to travel to England for an abortion “so that her cancer could be treated”. C had completed chemotherapy for “a rare form of cancer” when she came pregnant and had sought information from her GP, “as well as several medical consultants” on what treatment options would be available her should her cancer happen to relapse during pregnancy. No medical evidence on the supposed life-threatening nature of a condition she might develop was offered to the court and no information regarding which medical specialties she had allegedly consulted was offered.

There exist specialists within medicine for a reason: it is a subject too extensive for every doctor to know everything. If a patient’s healthcare needs are beyond your capabilities you refer to your specialised colleague for expert input, such as in the case of cancer complicating pregnancy. Did this happen in the case of C? We simply don’t know. Perhaps the IFPA could enlighten us before people criticise Irish healthcare.

What we do know is that we have already heard from specialists who are far more qualified in the area of gynaecological oncology than I or Claire Brophy. Speaking at the International Symposium on Maternal Health in Dublin, Dr Frédéric Amant, who for his groundbreaking research into the safe delivery of chemotherapy during pregnancy was described by Lancet Oncology as “leading the agenda on cancer in pregnancy” concluded that, “in the case of cancer complicating pregnancy, termination of pregnancy does not improve maternal prognosis”. This mirrors the comments of our own home-grown expert in oncology, Dr John Crown, who tweeted earlier this year, “I don’t think I ever had a case where abortion was necessary to save mom”. The experts have spoken.

Finally, there’s no room in this debate for the unsubstantiated claims made by Ms Brophy and by Patricia Lohr (September 13th) that women are travelling to England for “life-saving abortions”. I would invite them to reveal the British department of health statistics, which are available under FOI, any case whereby an Irish woman accessed a “life-saving abortion” in England on account of being refused life-saving treatment in Ireland. – Is mise,

Dr EOGHAN de FAOITE,
O’Connell Avenue, Dublin 7.

Why do they not listen? The amount of misinformation being circulated by those campaigning for abortion and the dishonesty underlying it is truly appalling.

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