Republic of Ireland news

Government exploiting my pain in abortion referendum, says mother who lost baby at nine days

A poster calling for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Eleanor Barlow, Press Association

A mother whose baby was diagnosed with a genetic disorder in the womb has said the Dublin government is exploiting her pain ahead of the abortion referendum.

Speaking at a press conference for the Save the 8th campaign, Sandra Caulfield, whose daughter Hope Rose died at nine days old after she was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome when Ms Caulfield was 14 weeks pregnant, said she supported a No vote.

She said: "I want people to understand that the government and the Yes campaign is using my pain and the pain of families like ours to legislate for abortion on demand, and I think that they are exploiting our pain to mislead the Irish people."

She added: "How the Yes campaign can put compassion and abortion in the same sentence is beyond me.

"Every life, no matter how short, deserves our protection."

Ms Caulfield said Hope Rose was given comfort care after being born at Mayo University Hospital in September last year, and spent the last three days of her life at home.

She said: "Hope came and graced us with her presence for nine days, she taught us all so many lessons about true love and acceptance. I will be eternally grateful for Hope's life."

Niamh Ui Bhriain, from the campaign, said the case of rape victim Miss C, who had an abortion at the age of 13, was also being used by pro-choice campaigners.

She said in a video produced by Miss C for Save the 8th she said she had been made to travel to England for the abortion by the government and was "heartbroken and suicidal" afterwards.

Ms Ui Bhriain said: "The Yes campaign is exploiting difficult cases to legalise abortion on demand."

She added: "The fact is that the government could have brought in measures to help women in difficult cases, but they didn't.

"They have instead sought to legalise abortion to give what two former referendum commissioners have described as a "wide-ranging" right to abortion until six months.

"This goes too far, it is a failed, ill-thought out and extreme proposal and the people should send it back on May 25 and demand better."

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