Dr Boylan's Misleading Interview


Leading repeal campaigner Dr Peter Boylan has been strongly criticised for an interview in which he made a series of false claims about the effects of the 8th Amendment. He claimed that four women, three of whom he identified by name, had died as a result of the Amendment. He also claimed that the proportion of pregnancies in Britain that end in abortion is much lower than official statistics show.


Of the four women whose deaths Dr Boylan blamed on the 8th Amendment, one died before the Amendment was introduced. The most well-known case, that of Savita Halappanavar, is one that Dr Boylan has repeatedly blamed on the 8th Amendment, but three separate independent expert enquiries into her death found that she died as a result of an extremely aggressive form of sepsis, which an abortion would have done nothing to cure. The third woman, Miss P, died during pregnancy. After she was declared brain dead, doctors kept her on life support to try to save her baby. The Courts subsequently ruled that this course of action was not required by the 8th Amendment. The fourth woman, who was named by Dr Boylan in the interview, died following an abortion.


While official British statistics show that there is one abortion for every 3.9 live births, Dr Boylan claimed that only about one in ten British pregnancies end in abortion. He claimed that his figure was arrived at by taking account of miscarriages.


The Save the 8th Campaign called on Dr Boylan to resign as chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, saying that his comments in the interview were “bringing himself and his [repeal] campaign into disrepute. This is the mark of an increasingly desperate YES campaign that will stop at nothing to trash Irish medicine, and Irish doctors, in order to get its way.”

Save the 8th. April 26. Hot Press. April 25.

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