Claims by Prof. Eamon O’Dwyer not Grounded in Medical Fact.

This is a letter from GPC in response to a letter in last week’s Galway Independent which can be read here. The signatories of this letter included several high profile long-standing members of the catholic anti-choice campaign. The Galway Independent did not publish our response this week, however they did publish another anti-choice letter.

Galway Pro-Choice believes that the letter from Prof. Eamon O’Dwyer published in last week’s Galway Independent may have misled some readers in several significant respects.

The headline used, ‘Abortion not necessary to save a woman’s life’ is not a medical fact, it is merely the opinion of a tiny percentage of obstetricians and gynaecologists. This minority opinion is contrary to that of the World Health Organisation’s Millennium Development Goal Number 5. The WHO believes that access to safe and legal abortion for women is an important factor in reducing the number of deaths during pregnancy. In fact, unsafe illegal abortion is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide. Galway Pro-Choice sees no rational reason why women in Ireland should be denied access to a necessary medical procedure.

The letter was also accompanied by 22 signatories of a document called the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare, September 2012. This declaration is the only medical document in history to ever express the opinion that abortion is never necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. Most of these signatories are also members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, one of the world’s leading professional bodies in this fieldThe Royal College has over 12,500 registered members; 22 is a very tiny percentage of 12,500. Evidently, over 99% of Prof. O’Dwyer’s colleagues do not agree with the declaration. We will leave it to the reader to judge whether it is significant that only three of these 22 signatories are women.

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Protest at Colm Keaveney’s Office in Tuam

Galway Pro-Choice would like to clarify that we did not arrange a formal meeting with Colm Keaveney for today Saturday July 6th. This was in part because the last time we were in direct contact with him he was rude and hung up on one of our member.

We decided that a sit down and conversation was going to achieve very little; Keaveney has already voted against the legislation and has made his views on this issue clear. We have sent him several postcards and letters outlining our position on this legislation; he has had every opportunity to take it into consideration. We hoped that going to his office as a group and staging a protest would perhaps highlight the issue of his vote against life-saving legislation for women.

On his Facebook page he wrote:

“I will be seeking the agreement of one of the organisations that I am meeting with to see if I can reschedule their meeting or to leave early in order to accommodate Galway Pro-Choice and to meet with them to discuss their views.”

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Communication with Colm Keaveney

Yesterday, Colm Keaveney TD posted the following comments on his Facebook page:

“I understand that there is a protest occurring outside my office on Saturday concerning the legislation currently before the Dáil – the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. I have only recently learnt of the protest through the local media.

People have a right to protest, a right that I have exercised myself in the past, and they most certainly have a right to engage with their public representatives on this or any other matter. However, I will note that the group concerned, Galway Pro-Choice, have never made any effort to meet with me nor have they contacted my office to make their views known.”

He was talking about the Galway Pro Choice protest that we have scheduled for 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon outside his constituency office in Tuam.

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Colm Keaveney: Putting Votes over Women’s Lives

Due to his known opposition to accessible X-Case legislation, Galway Pro-Choice will be holding a protest outside the office of Galway East TD Colm Keaveney in Tuam on Saturday 6 July at 2:30pm.

The protest will be followed by a pro-choice public meeting in the town’s Corralea Court Hotel at 3.30pm.While there are certainly many flaws with the legislation in its current form, Mr Keaveney opposes it for all the wrong reasons. He objects to the “suicide clause” in the Bill. Yet two referendums and countless opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of Irish people support its inclusion. This position shows a callous disregard for those few women who become suicidal when denied access to abortion; such as the 14 year old rape victim Miss X.

Ciara Dalstra of Galway Pro-Choice said:

“As a Tuam town councillor, Deputy Keaveney told anti-abortion colleague Martin Ward that abortion was ‘the last resort for women and every aspect of a woman’s decision should be looked at and taken into consideration’. He also stated that extreme anti-abortion literature was ‘sickening and offensive’. Yet now he is the darling of extremists in Youth Defence due to his opposition to even this inadequate legislation. He has claimed that his objection is due to a lack of term limits, but has consistently refused to state after what point in a pregnancy a woman’s life should not be saved. If his about-turn on abortion is an attempt to make his life easier in a rural constituency at his next election, I can assure him that I and many of his other constituents will not forget his shameful disregard for the health of women if he continues to oppose meaningful X-Case legislation.”

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