Parents of babies with terminal illness have said their babies did not suffer or feel pain while they were in the womb. If they do feel pain it can be treated and they can be made more comfortable. Pain is very rare once the baby has been born. Palliative care is a positive option that manages any discomfort or pain the baby may feel after birth.
The argument for aborting babies with these conditions to reduce their pain and suffering has to be questioned, as we know that abortion isn’t a pain-free procedure for the baby.
We need to petition for perinatal hospice services in Ireland rather than abortion in situations where the baby has a terminal illness. Perinatal hospice services provide care for the parents and baby as soon a poor pre-natal prognosis is given. It aims to make the best of the time available to parents and baby in a supportive and practical way.
Anyone can have a disability or terminal illness and it can come in old age, middle age, in childhood or even before we are born. In each of these challenging situations we must care for one another in a way that respects the dignity of every human life.
When politicians or doctors propose abortion for these babies they are making a negative judgement on the value of their lives. No one would dream of saying the law should not protect the right to life of, say, a three-year-old with a disability or terminal illness.