Irish abortion story begins to unravel

While the Irish Government – an unhappy coalition of a socialist pro-abortion party and a traditionally conservative party – staggers under the onslaught of international media-driven opprobrium for its prolife constitution and laws, the story which generated this frenzy is now beginning to unravel.

Kitty Holland, the Irish Times journalist who broke the story of Savita Halappananvar’s tragic death, now says that the story may be ‘muddled’ and that it may be found that there was ‘no request for a termination’.

In an interview with the Irish journalist Marc Coleman on an independent radio station, Newstalk 106, Holland was asked why she said, in a story in the London Observer  newspaper four days after her Irish Times story, that “the fact that Savita had been refused a termination was a factor in her death has yet to be established”, when she omitted that caution from the Irish Times story that provoked the world reaction to Savita’s death.

Coleman then quizzed her on crucial discrepancies in her and other Irish Times reporting as to when Savita was started on antibiotics in Galway University Hospital where she died on October 24th last.

She then said: “All one can surmise is that his (Savita’s husband Praveen) recollection of events — the actual timeline and days — may be a little muddled… we only have Praveen and his solicitor’s take on what was in or not in the notes ….we’re relying all the time on their take on what happened… ”

Of course, the solicitor is a red herring. His recollection can only be of what Praveen told him after the event. This is single-source journalism of the most critical kind.

“Oh, I’m not satisfied of anything. I’m satisfied of what he told me, but I await as much as anyone else the inquiry and the findings. I can’t tell for certain — who knows what will come out in that inquiry? They may come back and say she came in with a disease she caught from something outside the hospital before she even arrived in, and there was no request for termination.., ” Holland told Coleman.

Meanwhile the political bandwagon of the pro-abortion activists in Ireland is rolling on and the Government-in-conflict is preparing to pass judgement on a biased report presented to it by an expert group, consisting of people who proved to be essentially pro-abortion in their views, with possibly one exception.  The group was set up to study the demands made on Ireland by the European Court of Human Rights to clarify the legal position of any woman in Ireland who might request an abortion in that jurisdiction. This was not a demand to legislate for abortion but every option presented to the Government by the group has ended up providing for just that.

The death of Savita and the exploitation of its treatment by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times has fed into this scenario creating something of a “perfect storm” threatening Ireland’s existing pro-life legislation. Against the background of the hysteria created by the alleged circumstances of Savita’s death the Government is now planning to publish its legislative proposals by December 20.

The media in Ireland has played a very ambiguous – at best – role in this with both the Irish Times and the national broadcaster, Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), outraging pro-life readers and listeners and adding one more element to the creation of this storm. This weekend a national opinion poll was published by one of the newspapers, the Sunday Business Post.

This was reported on RTE over the weekend as indicating that 85 percent of the sample of 1000 wished to see legislation passed on a basis of the notorious ‘X Case’, an Irish Supreme Court judgement  20 years ago which, if legislated for, would essentially give Ireland abortion on demand. The poll was completely misread by the broadcaster.

Following the publication of the poll, Ireland’s Pro-Life Campaign pointed out its flawed and confusing nature, arguing that a distinction needs to be made between medical treatment for the mother, which may result in the death of an unborn child, and abortion in circumstances where there is no threat to the mother’s life.

Up to 85% said they would favour abortion laws in line with the ‘X-Case’ ruling where the life of the woman is at risk, including suicide, while 63% favour excluding threat of suicide as grounds for abortion, the PLC pointed out.

Cora Sherlock, Deputy Chairperson of the Pro-Life Campaign, said the poll results are not reliable.

Ms Sherlock said: “I think it’s very clear that there is no basis for using this poll to claim that there is any sort of majority of people who want abortion legislation in Ireland, because the contradictions that are coming through in the poll are just too evident.

“It is too unreliable, there is a clear contradiction there, some people want legislation for X and some people want a referendum to amend X.”

Tomorrow the pro-life activists throughout Ireland are planning to converge on Dublin to demand that the Irish government resists the pressure, both national and international, to introduce what would be, in effect, abortion on demand within the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic. The abortion Act of 1967, which brought abortion on demand in Great Britain, does not apply in Northern Ireland which is also part of the UK.

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