Cham­bers apol­o­gises for ‘hurt’ over re­mark on abor­tion re­gret

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Cor­mac McQuinn

FIANNA Fail TD Lisa Cham­bers has apol­o­gised for any hurt caused when she said abor­tion re­gret is a “makey-uppy thing” dur­ing a heated de­bate in the Dail.

It came af­ter Woman Hurt, a group of women who re­gret hav­ing abor­tions, claimed the re­marks were “ig­no­rant and of­fen­sive”.

Ms Cham­bers’s com­ments came as the Dail was con- sider­ing an amend­ment to the Govern­ment’s planned abor­tion law. The pro­posal would mean women seek­ing an abor­tion would have to un­dergo an ul­tra­sound and be given the op­tion to view it by their doc­tor.

Doc­tors that don’t do this would face a fine or pos­si­ble jail sen­tence un­der the amend­ment put for­ward by pro-life TDs. It will not have enough sup­port to be passed. For­mer Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin spoke in sup­port of the pro­posal. He said that the ul­tra­sound was in­cluded in the amend­ment as abor­tion re­gret was a “sig­nif­i­cant is­sue”.

The of­fi­cial Dail tran­script records Ms Cham­bers as say­ing: “Abor­tion re­gret is made up and it does not ex­ist” though video from Thurs­day night shows that she said: “Abor­tion re­gret is a makey-uppy thing. It doesn’t ex­ist.”

She ar­gued that the amend- ment was put for­ward out of “faux con­cern for women” but is ac­tu­ally about “try­ing to judge them, em­bar­rass them, make them feel bad in the hope that if you shame them into it, they might con­tinue with the preg­nancy”.

Women Hurt spokesper­son Ber­nadette Gould­ing crit­i­cised Ms Cham­bers’s re­marks that abor­tion re­gret is “makey-uppy”.

She claimed Ms Cham­bers “might have thought twice” be­fore mak­ing “such an ig­no­rant state­ment” if she knew the “dev­as­tat­ing im­pact” of her com­ments on women who live with the “heart­break of their abor­tion”.

Women Hurt say they have sought a meet­ing with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Ms Cham­bers and are seek­ing a “ful­some apol­ogy”.

Ms Gould­ing also said: “I don’t buy the ex­cuse that her com­ments were taken out of con­text” and she said there is re­search high­light­ing the neg­a­tive af­ter-ef­fects of abor­tion on women.

Last night, Ms Cham­bers told the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent: “I apol­o­gise for any upset or hurt caused.” She in­sisted her com­ments were taken out of con­text.

She said con­tri­bu­tions from some TDs dur­ing de­bates in Le­in­ster House sug­gested that abor­tion re­gret is an ac­cepted med­i­cal con­di­tion and her in­ten­tion was to high­light that it’s not a med­i­cal term. Ms Cham­bers added: “Of course I’m not suggest­ing that 100pc of peo­ple are happy with their choice. That wouldn’t be true of any de­ci­sion.”

She said she hoped her crit­ics will “un­der­stand where I was com­ing from” now that she’s clar­i­fied her re­marks.

The Govern­ment hopes to pass the leg­is­la­tion on ter­mi­na­tions in time for abor­tion ser­vices to be­come avail­able from Jan­uary next year.

COM­MENTS: Lisa Cham­bers was speak­ing in a Dail de­bate

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