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Love Both: Taoiseach's 'outrageous and disgraceful' remark on unregulated abortion pills 'marks a new low'

Update - 5.44pm: The Love Both campaign has described one of the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's comments during an interview on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 as "the most outrageous and disgraceful remark made by any member of the Government so far in this campaign".

They were reacting to Mr Varadkar's statement where he said: "If there is a no vote on Friday I think it's only a matter of time before somebody haemorrhages or bleeds to death."

Dr Ruth Cullen of the Love Both campaign said: "This latest statement by the Taoiseach has to be the most outrageous and disgraceful remark made by any member of the Government so far in this campaign.

"It’s clear that some members of Government are starting to panic over the fact that the ‘No’ side might win and these same members of government seem prepared to say almost anything take away the right to life from unborn babies.

“The Taoiseach is in effect saying that if people reject the Government’s abortion on demand proposals they will be responsible for someone bleeding to death.

[quote]His remarks are so vile the Taoiseach should immediately apologise and retract them. [/quote]

"This marks a new low, even for a Government that has engaged in such widespread scaremongering and misinformation.”

Dr Cullen also claimed that the Taoiseach used the interview "to tell a series of mistruths"

She said it included "the suggestion that removing the Eighth amendment is the only way to deal with difficult cases, and his claim that there are so-called “restrictions” in the section of the proposed bill which allows abortion without any reason whatsoever up to 12 weeks of pregnancy".

She said: "I think many people will be absolutely disgusted by the Taoiseach’s statements today, he has completely ignored the fact that Ireland without abortion is one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women.

[quote]Instead he is deliberately seeking to emotionally bully those opposed to abortion with the suggestion that they will have blood on their hands if they vote ‘No’ to his abortion proposal. [/quote]

"We must remember that only five years ago he was completely opposed to abortion on demand, now today he uses his position to throw exaggerated and insulting language at people who hold the same position he, until recently held.

"This shows again that politicians cannot be trusted with the rights in the Eighth amendment, it is also why people are increasingly planning to vote ‘No’ on the 25th of May.”

11.43am: Taoiseach: 'Only a matter of time' before someone dies taking unregulated abortion pill

The Taoiseach has warned it is 'only a matter of time' before someone dies after taking abortion pills which were purchased online.

Leo Varadkar told Today with Sean O'Rourke that if there is a no result next week, it is only a matter of time before someone haemorrhages or bleeds to death after taking unregulated abortion pills.

"I think it's only a matter of time before somebody loses their life as a result of taking one of those pills over the internet," he said on RTE Radio 1.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

"It has happened in other countries."

Mr Varadkar asked people to bear that in mind when they vote.

"Let's not wait for this to happen," he said.

"If there is a no vote on Friday I think it's only a matter of time before somebody haemorrhages or bleeds to death or dies as a result of using these pills unregulated."

The Taoiseach sais he often dealt with patients' crisis pregnancies when he was a practising GP.

"I worked as a GP for years and worked in obstetrics and gynaecology in Holles St. and St. James' so I did deal with crisis pregnancies.

[quote]My experience was that the person that was coming before you really had their reasons. They would seek information essentially, it isn't possible, you're not allowed to refer people in Ireland.[/quote]

He said in the early stages of pregnancy he considered the pregnant woman as his only patient and after the foetus reached viability, after 12 weeks, he treated them as two separate patients.

"I think the patient you are dealing with is the patient who's in front of you and that's the woman. But obviously, at a later stage in pregnancy certainly beyond viability, or where the pregnancy is wanted you treat it in that scenario as two patients."

He described the early stages of pregnancy as "a very different situation".

"I do think there's a difference when you reach the point of viability when a foetus or an unborn child, if you prefer that term, can survive outside the womb.

"I do think there is a difference at that point. Early pregnancy is a very different situation."

He said the referendum is not about deciding when a foetus becomes a baby, but about clarifying our laws.

[quote]This referendum is about whether we are going to continue to have a situation where we write into our constitution a requirement that it's effectively a criminal offence for anyone to end a pregnancy or assist someone.[/quote]

He said he does not believe many pregnant women would fake mental illnesses to end their pregnancies.

"I just don't buy that." He said women who want to end their pregnancies are already going to the UK or taking pills bought online.

Mr Varadkar has said that abortion in Ireland would not be unrestricted if Irish citizens vote to liberalise laws relating to the termination of pregnancy in next week's referendum.

[quote]It won't be unrestricted and it won't be on demand.[/quote]

"No woman who is experiencing crisis pregnancy will be able to go into the pharmacy and bang the table and demand abortion pills. Not that I think anyone would ever do that."

He said a number of restrictions were planned including a requirement that women have to see a doctor and wait 72 hours before making the decision.

He added that the doctor will also have to confirm that the pregnancy is less than 12 weeks.

The Taoiseach said that abortions would only be carried out at licenced institutions or hospitals, that there is no plan to open abortion clinics, and that an abortion clinic could not open up here in Ireland. He said should any apply for a licence, one will not be granted.

[quote]There is no provision in the draft legislation for the opening of abortion clinics.[/quote]

Digital Desk