Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he will be calling on all members of the Oireachtas to support an initiative being launched at the United Nations to discontinue the use of the phrase ‘incompatible with life’ when referencing unborn children with severe life limiting disabilities. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a press conference he is attending this morning organised by the advocacy group Every Life Counts. Deputy McGrath will be travelling with the group to Geneva this Wednesday to formally launch the Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care:
“The Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care will seek to discontinue the use of the phrase ‘incompatible with life’ because it is medically meaningless, offensive and dehumanises unborn children with a disability.
For my part I am introducing a Private Members Bill in the Dáil before the end of this month to amend and broaden existing legislation here and which is aimed at regulating for the prohibition of the term, specifically in a medical context.
The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that a child “needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’.
My PMB is certainly in that tradition as well as in the tradition of the campaign spearheaded by then Senator Mary Robinson who worked tirelessly to have such offensive terms as ‘illegitimate child’ discontinued in the 1970’s.
I hope at the very least that the Geneva Declaration will encourage all of us to look more closely at perinatal care options that exist here and in other countries and which would be well worth advocating as an alternative to a policy which proposes abortion as the only option,” concluded Deputy McGrath.