The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has refused to clarify if he has met with a single pro-life organisation or spokesperson during the preparatory stages of the mandated three-year review of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
Minister Donnelly was responding to a number of Parliamentary Questions submitted by Deputies Éamon Ó Cuív, Carol Nolan and Peadar Toibin.
The pro-life TD’s had asked the Minister to provide the names of the stakeholder groups that he had met with as part of the consultation in relation to the review of the abortion legislation; the method by which they were selected and if he was satisfied that these groups represent the broad spectrum of Irish opinion on this sensitive issue.
Minister Donnelly, responding to all three TD’s simultaneously, would only confirm that he has held online meetings in early June with the pro-abortion All-Party Oireachtas Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and a group of Civil Society organisations brought together by the abortion promoting NGO, the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
This has heightened concerns among pro-life advocates that the Minister is entirely uninterested in engaging with or seeking out the perspective of pro-life organisations.
Speaking to Gript, Deputy Carol Nolan said “it is increasingly obvious that the consultation phase of the abortion review is now in real danger of amounting to little more than political choreography as it appears that the only people the Minister is really interested in hearing from are those who want to expand abortion access and erode existing protections such as the three-day waiting period.
Deputy Nolan had also asked Minister Donnelly to provide details of the recruitment process and selection criteria through which the independent expert chosen to lead the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was made; if the independent expert has been selected; if so, the name of this person and the remuneration being provided to the Independent expert.
Minister Donnelly did not provide any information whatsoever in response to these queries.
Deputy Nolan described this total failure of the Minister to respond as yet another instance of political contempt directed at pro-life supporters and their public representatives.
However, Deputy Nolan insisted that pro-life advocates should meet this kind of arrogance with increased courage and a determination not to be dismissed by pro-abortion NGO’s who would like nothing better than to dominate the consultation phase of the three-year review.