Dublin declaration: abortion is not medically necessary

Dublin – A major medical symposium in Ireland this week concluded that abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a pregnant mother.

About 140 Irish medical professionals participated in the International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare. The symposium featured a panel of world-renowned experts in the fields of mental health, obstetrics and gynecology, and molecular epidemiology who presented their cutting-edge research and data gathered over years of clinical experience.

The symposium expert committee released its conclusions in the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcarewhich states:

  • “As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
  • We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
  • We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”

The symposium particularly addressed issues of maternal mortality and morbidity, care for women with high-risk pregnancies, mental health, cancer in pregnancy, and fetal anomaly. Expert presentations addressed new therapies which involve the safe delivery of chemotherapy during pregnancy and the emerging field of in-utero fetal surgery.

Because abortion is currently the subject of public debate in Ireland, abortion proponents have been quick to confuse legitimate medical treatment with abortion. Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, chairman of the Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare, believes that the Dublin Symposium clears up misinformation and provides “clarity and confirmation” to doctors and legislators.

“Irish Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have previously pointed out that treatment for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy are not considered abortion by doctors, yet misinformation in regard to this abounds in public debate. The Symposium clarifies that direct abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a woman, and that’s good news for mothers and their babies,” said Professor O’Dwyer.

International experts at the symposium applauded Ireland’s impressive track record on maternal health care. According to UNICEF, the nation consistently boasts one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world (#1 in 2005, #3 in 2008).

Dr. Seán Ó Domhnaill, medical adviser to the Life Institute, hailed the global import of the symposium’s findings: “This is a globally significant outcome, which shows abortion has no place in treating women and their unborn children.”

  • Richard

    A “major” symposium? It only had 140 people.

    “While many of the organisers have been involved in anti-abortion events in the past, a spokesman for the group, also the spokesman for anti-abortion group “Youth Defence”, Dr Eoghan de Faoite, told The Irish Times the event was not linked in any way to the Pro-Life Campaign or any other organisation.”

    I call bs.

    • Richard is clearly not a doctor. 140 medical practitioners at a Symposium is a very well attended conference especially for Ireland. And the calibre of speakers was v v high.

      • One-hundred-forty anythings is a pretty decent symposium. I can think of music symposiums that would kill to have even fifty composers on hand. Just because something isn’t as enormous and overproduced as the San Diego ComicCon doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

      • PatsyBy

        They are all pro-lifers pretending to care about women – they don’t they care about the catholic church

        • Ed

          Same old same old PatsyBy. I used to be dubious about them, but they have done more than all the other pro-life groups in Ireland put together during this critical time.

        • Laura M

          Please, stop with the “war on women” BS already.

      • emery ann harris

        Here you go. A woman denied an abortion during a toxic miscarriage has died of blood poisoning in the hospital.

        So no doctor administered an abortion at that hospital. YOU WIN, PRO-LIFERS!

    • falling

      So produce 140 doctors with proof that abortion IS medically necessary to save the life of a mother…they do not exist. The medical profession has always claimed exactly what this articles states…that some treatments needed to save the life of the mother may have the side effect of causing the death of the unborn child, aborting the child alone is not a treatment or cure for any known life threatening illness that any pregnant woman might experience. And certainly late term or partial birth abortions are never needed in order to save the life of the mother…any woman that can labor, have their child delivered feet first up to their head and then have the brains of that child sucked out before the head is delivered, could easily deliver the head intact with no additional threat to the mothers life.

      • Richard

        Attending the opera is never medically necessary to save a life, you would ban that too? That something isn’t medically necessary isn’t a reason to deny others the right to chose it.

        • Laura M

          Are you serious? last time I checked no one died during the opera

      • emery ann harris

        Here you go. A woman denied an abortion during a toxic miscarriage has died of blood poisoning in the hospital. YOU WIN.

  • do

    how backwards. every woman decides herself over her own body. ireland has to learn a lot to get into the 21st century especialy a lot has to be done for the rights of women.

    • How backwards that those that are pro-choice focus on a woman’s right to choose rather than whether that right infringes on another human life. By all scientific definitions, a fertilized egg is alive (7 characteristics of life) and the DNA is human, ergo it is a human life. Any person’s free choice ends when it infringes upon another, especially if it means another’s death. To arbitrarily decide that an unborn life is not a “person” until a certain point (and that point changes quite often, so it is arbitrary), and therefore is just tissue that can be disposed of, is both unscientific and extremely backward. You remember the days of slavery, Jewish holocaust, and ethnic cleansing? I all cases, those in power decided that the slave, Jew, or other ethnicity were less than human. Welcome to there club. You need a lesson in bioethics.

      • Richard

        It’s no more arbitrary to decide that personhood begins at birth than it is to decide that it begins at conception. No one is denying that an unborn baby is human life, just denying personhood rights to unborn babies.

        • NoRightsforRichard

          What gives you the right to deny rights?

          • Richard

            We have before us 2 rights, the right of unborn child to Life and the right of the woman to an abortion. They are mutually exclusive (until artificial uteri are invented). I am of the opinion that woman’s rights take priority.

            Who are you to deny her this right?

          • Legomyeggo

            Because abortion is the killing of a living human being. Abortion isn’t a right; it is counter to the idea of any kind of right.

          • Jhaemus

            Looks like the pro-lifers are really pro-death of the mother.

      • Savita Halappanavar just died beacause Doctors refused her abortion despite the fact she was in excruciating pain
        Anything to say about that?

        She was a Daughter, Wife and sister, she was a Dentist, a Human Being but apparently her life was not important enough for you

        You disgust me

      • Nikita

        Are you comparing an abortion with the holocaust? Do you really want to go there?

      • Miel

        But someone who is legally brain dead is also a “human life” by your definition, yet ethicists, doctors, and most people feel it is morally permissible to withdraw care. This is because to be a human person, you need more than DNA and to be currently “alive”. In case you respond that an embryo has all this AND the potential to become a full sentient human, this is true, but the only thing it has over the brain-dead person is potential. Therefore potential is the key. And a potential human being is not a human being.

        The slavery / jewish argument is a straw man. The pro-choice lobby, while I’m not denying is in part politically motivated (women’s rights over fetal rights), argues this stance based on ethics and science, and is supported by international consensus in most developed countries (which tends to coincide with those that have proper separation of church and state). Plus, fetuses hold a very different physical and moral position from “dehumanised” people such as slaves. They are completely dependent on a specific human individual for their survival, and this special state requires special considerations of priorities for rights.

      • Jake

        A fertilised egg is unable to reproduce and therefore doesnt exhibit one of your 7 characteristics of life. It only has 6, perhaps it is you who needs a lesson in bioethics? Furthermore, if i could hold you to your views for a moment, then technically a human does not become ‘alive’ until it has passed through puberty after which point it can of course reproduce. On learning this perhaps you are now in favour of the slaughter of fully formed walking talking children due to them not technically being alive?
        Also it is ‘their club’ and not ‘there club’, perhaps a lesson in grammar may also be in order?

      • Axel

        Your value as an individual is not tied to how “human” your DNA is (a concept that is both undefinable and rather ethically dangerous). DNA has nothing to do with your rights or the ethics surrounding it. If, for instance, we ever encounter a sentient lifeform without human DNA, we would still be obliged to accorrid it the same ethical cosiderations as other humans.

        As another example, a human cancerous tumor is also alive, can survive outside the body if given nutrients and has “human” DNA. Your argument is invalid unless you consider cancer treatment to be morally wrong as well.

        If you equate right to life with the human species (a concept that is becoming more meaingless by the year in biology), you will run into some rather unpleasant implications in animal ethics, and indeed play right into the hands of certain nasty ideologies that has long argued that it is who your parents are and the colour of your skin that determines your worth and rights.

  • Go Ireland! Be now what you once were, the stronghold of beauty, goodness, truth, and leprechauns!

    • Open your search engine and search for the name Savita Halappanavar – you might find that Ireland is a country awash with extremely angry “leprechauns” (and for god’s sake, are we not past these idiotic stereotypes yet – give me a break) demanding that their State come out of the theocratic dark ages on this issue. You might also find out why this report is absolute baloney. I’m sure Savita would come on here and say it herself, but she sadly assumed she would get the medical treatment she needed in my backward country and paid the price for it…

  • PatsyBy

    Dr. Eoghan De Faoite, one of those involved in this committee is the leader of the militent pro-life group the Youth Defence League. there are not interested in women’s health they are pro-lifers pretending.

    • ed

      What’s militant about Youth Defence PatsyBy?

      • SJMurph

        Youth Defence , didn’t they picket outside a young girls house holding signs saying how she was a murderer for having an abortion ……

        Seems bit militant

      • SJMurph

        Where did my post go ?

    • Dr. Eoghan De Faoite is a medical professional who also serves as the Chairman of Youth Defence (which is a peaceful pro-life organization in Ireland). He served as a member of the organizing committee for the symposium. It’s not uncommon to have a Irish, pro-life medical doctor whose expertise is in the OB/GYN field.

      As was stated in the Irish Times article, although many of the organizers had been involved in pro-life events in the past, the symposium was non-partisan and unaffiliated with the Pro-Life Campaign or any pro-life organization. All of the organizers were involved in their professional capacity and were not in attendance to represent any pro-life position.

      • booannie

        Eoghan De Faoite has no expertise in obstetrics and gynaecology, bar his undergraduate eduction.

      • Miel

        As a doctor trained in obstetrics, I can think of several instances where a pregnancy may have to be deliberately ended to save the woman’s life. This is different to treatment to save the woman’s life which may have the side-effect of ending the pregnancy (e.g. chemotherapy). I am talking about times when it is the pregnancy itself that is causing the danger. For example, severe early pre-eclampsia, where only delivery can save the life of the mother. I’ve seen this as early as the second trimester, where a foetus would have minimal chance of survival ex-utero. Or pulmonary hypertension, a cardiac condition which is massively exacerbated by pregnancy and may kill the woman if the pregnancy is not terminated. Did these doctors comment on those conditions?

  • yan

    There seems to be an element of dishonesty in this statement. They say that a direct abortion is never medically necessary. The devil is in the details. If killing a child in the course of treatment is medically necessary, then it is not ‘an abortion.’ But what is the termination of an ectopic pregnancy? Isn’t that an abortion?

    I have previously been told that an ectopic pregnancy can never come to term. But I read recently that, on rare occasions, they DO come to term. A doctor that ends an ectopic pregnancy is taking a statistical guess that the pregnancy will not come to term without killing the mother. Maybe 1/100 ectopic pregnancies would come to term successfully if the child were not aborted. Do the overwhelming odds of the pregnancy not coming successfully to term justify ending the pregnancy?

    If you say yes, then, what if the odds are 2/100? 5/100? And so on. A doctor that ends an ectopic pregnancy is playing the odds, just like a doctor that ends another pregnancy with a certain level of probability of causing harm to the mother. Calling the ending of an ectopic pregnancy medically necessary does not change what the doctor is doing: killing an unborn child.

    So, pro life friends, this issue is not as cut and dried as we would like it to be.

    • More nonsense – first you “pro-lifers” force that poor woman in Galway to suffer a 3 day toxic miscarriage and then die of septicemia unnecessarily and for want of a termination, now you want them to carry ectopic pregnancies to term?

      Is there any depths to the hatred the “pro-life” movement has for women?

  • emery ann harris

    Well, doctors in a Galway hospital refused to perform an abortion on a woman having a toxic miscarriage, resulting in her death from blood poisoning. YOU WIN! Sure the mother’s dead, but at least no abortion was performed! Congrats.

    • This death is on their hands and they should be held wholly accountable. Their scientific claim directly caused the death of Savita Halappanavar.

  • I guess Savita Halappanavar who just died because she was refused an abortion would have disagreed with that

    These people are murderers, they let women die even when their lives are in danger
    They shouldn’t be allowed to practice medicine anymore

  • Kundah

    RIP Savita Halappanavar

  • droidus

    These lying scumbags should all be struck off for a breach of medical ethics.

  • Liviu

    come on dude, no comment on the woman that died in Galway?????

  • You motherless fucks!! Cowards! MURDERERS!! I hope her family sues everyone of these FOOLS responsible!! You bring shame upon your already notable STUPID country! If this were a MAN whose life you were responsible for, you’d have treated him with the utmost of care!! You idiots could stand a good nuking……fucking MICS….:P

    • Fucking Mic

      Gina Powers (Tenacious Gbeoytch ) ( If this is all you can add to a topic just stay quite. Also if you insist on acting like this on the internet at least hide who you are better or some of the hate you spew online will come back to you in “real life”.

  • Al in Italy

    Ah, well, Josh, at least it’s fairly certain that Savita Halappanavar wasn’t your sister, mother, or any other close relative, so I’m sure you must have such a warm glow in your tiny fanatical heart knowing that yet another woman has been sacrificed on your altar of ideological purity.

  • Deirdre Marie

    Just allow women to go to the UK and those that don’t have the time to do so can die. Bravo to the Irish Government and the Irish Doctors here! Bravo!

  • Regarding Savita’s death, prolifers are saying “abortion laws had nothing to do with it”. I don’t care if after tests we find out she had some mysterious illness that would have killed her any way. The doctors at this Catholic hospital were negligent and put the life of a FETUS before hers. They forced her to suffer excruciating pain for DAYS before she finally died. They refused to perform an abortion when it was obvious she was in pain and dying.

    They refused to provide her with the care she needed and wanted.

    This is the world prolifers want women to live in.

  • bankersruleok

    “As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”

    So then is this a case of gross negligence and/or incompetence.

    What procedure(s) were not followed that would have saved the life of Savita Halappanavar?

    Was abortion of the foetus the only solution that would have saved Savita’s life?

    Do these ‘experts’ have any credibility, where it appears that abortion was the only certain remedy that would have saved Savita’s life?

    Is Catholic ideology determining outcomes that should be based on objective medical imperatives?

    Will there be an independent public investigation?

    • Ron McSheamis

      > So then is this a case of gross negligence and/or incompetence.
      Both. Gross negligence without doubt. Incompentence, yes and no – Irish medics are among the most competent on the planet – except in this circumstance when thier competence is swerved by rampant Catholicism (yes, the same religion that brought us child sexual abuse, Magdalene Laundries among many other injustices – “prophets for profits” if you will).

      > Was abortion of the foetus the only solution that would have saved Savita’s life?
      Admittedly (with hindsight), yes

      > What procedure(s) were not followed that would have saved the life of Savita Halappanavar?
      Elementary-level respest for adults, for adult decisions and for one’s right to make choices relating to one’s own wellbeing. Oh look, that sound like the tenets for the Hippocratic Oath.

      > Is Catholic ideology determining outcomes that should be based on objective medical imperatives?
      Most definitely. Savita and her husband were told “This is a Catholic country” by some (now, I struggle for the most apporpriate advectives) bigoted or ignorant or stupid or brainwashed member of her medical “care” team.

      > Will there be an independent public investigation?
      Yes, there are already two in progress.

  • PigUnderTheArm

    My congratulations to Josh Craddock for the prevention of a clearly unnecessary abortion in Galway last month. The world-renowned experts with their cutting-edge research were proven right once again. Might I suggest all of them visit to pay their respect to the family of the late Savita Halappanavar to make their point?

  • If something endangers your philosophy, simply pretend it never happens. Easy‐peasy. Unless you’re the woman who dies because someone’s refusal to see reality.

  • sask12

    Why do I have the itch to put Ireland & Mississippi on the same pedestal?

  • WorshippingForecast

    “…that’s good news for mothers and their babies.” Unless your name happened to be Savita Halappanavar…

  • Lee

    I find it disturbing that these people are allowed to call themselves experts when they ignore basic medical facts and truths, which in turn put people’s lives at risk. Someone has now died as a direct result of this “confirmation that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”
    Every single one of them should be struck off for neglecting a patient’s needs which resulted in death, and for spreading harmful, unfounded lies on a national stage.

  • Lynne

    These people should be rounded up and charged with murder. Actual murder.

    • tina marie

      I agree completely. The Irish government should be charged with murder

  • Horse

    Well these doctors sure turned out to be a bit thick, didn’t they?

  • Salome

    Interestingly no rebuttal has been made by Mr Craddock concerning the events surrounding Savita Halappanavar. You should be ashamed of your hack ‘journalism’. Reporting upon the findings of a group of pro-life medical practitioners, as if its medical fact is reprehensible.

  • shame on the 140, and shame on Josh Craddock who maybe should study medicine and actually help women rather than promote these monsters …’Advocate for life’ my arse….. what about Savita’s???? Joe Walsh and your GOP friends are proud of you

  • David Robertson

    The medical staff who made this decision not to abort are guilt of manslaughter if not murder of Ms Halappanavaat the least, and they should be held accountable.

  • Victor Lima

    The only sorrow I have for the non-existance of any God is that there is no hell. There could hardly be a more deserving bunch of utterly evil individuals for eternal pain and torture then the participants at this symposium, let alone Josh Craddock and his likeminded life-haters. The standing joke on Josh and his evil followers that for them, “life begins at conception and ends at birth” got a bitter aftertaste after the murder of Savita by the hospital doctors.

  • Jhaemus

    These 140 medical professionals have a mothers’ death on their hands. I would say this discredits them from making further public pronouncements and in fact they should be held liable. Josh, are you really an advocate for life? Reconsider the absolutist position that abortion is NEVER medically necessary. It only takes one case to prove the position is false.

  • Stev84

    Also note “Professor” O’Dwyer (an emeritus at Galway hospital by the way!) also performed barbaric and unnecessary symphysiotomies – breaking the pelvis to widen the birth canal – and thus crippled those women for life. Without their consent of course. That guy is a nothing but an evil butcher.

  • unbound55

    The truly sad part is that any competent doctor is well aware that abortions are medically necessary under certain conditions. This has been known for a long time…Savita is simply the latest victim of sheer incompetence and knowing violations of the Hippocratic oath. Everyone of the doctors that were involved in this declaration deserves nothing less than the immediate removal of their medical licenses.

  • FarmerPalmer

    Tell that to Savita Halappanavar you murdering bastards.

  • Paul

    well, this article is embarrassing. time to grow up.

  • Sam

    What a crock of semantics ‘abortion is never medically necessary’ except when it is, and then we don’t call it abortion… Savita Halappanavar WANTED to have a baby and she didn’t go to hospital looking for an abortion. She went because she was in pain. When she was told she was losing the baby, and they wouldn’t intervene with her own condition because of the legal limbo, that’s when the problem started. These PLAC people like Professor O’Dwyer can try all the semantics they liked, but her infection was left to fester because doctors refused to act.

  • Sean Harris

    Was Todd Aiken’s favorite expert there? He probably had the extra sky miles from traveling in between GOP fundraisers the past 2 years to make the trip. I bet he had his own PowerPoint called “How it shuts that whole thing down”.

  • Why is it that young men who have little or no experience of life, sex, love and despair believe that they have a [god given] right to preach on something that will NEVER directly affect them? It can only affect them as a second hand experience. Is this what drives them to pontificate on the subject of abortion and women’s reproductive rights? Is it the great white hunter in them that stops them from knowing ‘here be dragons’, so back off. @ Josh ; the symposium you write about is a collection of pro life advocates. If you intend to write professionally you need to at least mention that fact so that your readers understand the perspective. Not doing that shows the world that you lack perspective. Good luck with your path to enlightenment and professional integrity. Sincerely Lynda