‘New facts’ in abortion debate

In recent years I’ve tried to track the long slow path to easing the bans on abortion in both parts of Ireland. And while I support it, I know full well it is no magic bullet so to speak. And so in the cause of disinterested debate and acknowledging the existence of many awkward facts, I draw attention to this anti-abortion article by Ruth Cullen in the Irish Times. I suspect this is no clincher and I’d be keen to hear the pro-choice reply.  Does she fear a government initiative?



The court decided that Ireland’s pro-life amendment permitted legal abortion in circumstances where there was “a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother”.

It further ruled that these circumstances included the threat of suicide.

However, the court heard no medical evidence on the question of whether abortion protected women from suicide. And increasingly, we are seeing medical research demonstrating that far from protecting women from suicide, abortion increases the risk that women will suffer grave mental health problems.

For example, the widely publicised Finnish study, which appeared in the European Journal of Public Health, showed that there was a significantly increased risk of suicide among women who had abortions.They were six times more likely to commit suicide compared with those who had their babies.

Research carried out recently by Dr David Fergusson in New Zealand and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that, compared to other women, there was a 30 per cent greater risk of mental health complications among women who had abortions.




Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London