Too often abortion is presented as a solution where a baby is diagnosed in the womb with a terminal illness.
The balance in the debate
must change, said the spokesperson for a group of families campaigning
for improved perinatal care and the establishment of a dedicated
One Day More is a group of families whose babies were diagnosed with
severe disabilities in the womb and acts as a support network for
families with terminally ill babies.
At a meeting with members of the Oireachtas yesterday, the group
announced their plans for better perinatal care in Ireland, and launched
a new website.
“It is really sad that some people think abortion is the obvious
answer when a life shortening condition is diagnosed. I believe
attitudes would change considerably if more attention was given to the
real life stories of women who opted against abortion and chose to keep
their babies in these situations,” said Cliona Johnson, from One Day
The new website, www.onedaymore.ie, features positive stories of
families who had babies with terminal illnesses. Describing these
testimonies as “stories of hope and beautiful memories despite the
initial heartbreak,” Cliona Johnson said the group were there to help
anyone who “finds themselves in this situation”.
The group also launched a new video featuring interviews with parents
who opted against abortion following a poor pre-natal diagnosis.
Many members of the Oireachtas were present at the briefing in
Leinster House yesterday.
Welcoming the group Senator Mary Ann O’Brien
said she thought that it was a positive development that One Day More
were raising awareness about peri-natal hospice care. “It is long
overdue and is something that deserves priority attention,” she said.
Perinatal hospice care supports parents of children expected to die
soon after birth. It offers nurses, chaplains, neonatologists, social
workers, bereavement counsellors and even a photographer to capture
brief moments. Currently there is no dedicated perinatal hospice in
Speaking to the press afterwards, Cliona Johnson said the group was
committed to delivering “much improved peri-natal hospice care services”
in Ireland. They had been fundraising but the project required “some
public funding as well to ensure adequate services are put in place. We
discussed all this at length today with members of the Oireachtas and we
are hopeful that progress can be made.”
The group also said that to date the focus on abortion in the case of
a baby diagnosed with a terminal illness was disproportionate and they
called for more balance in the debate.
“To date there has been a disproportionate focus on abortion in
situations where unborn babies are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
That’s just a simple fact. It is time however that some balance was
introduced into the debate. One Day More intends to play a big part in
making this happen.