Would You Believe?

Would You Believe? Special - Life In The Balance

RTÉ One, Monday 8th April, 9.35pm

How this country deals with the difficult issue of abortion will be an indication of the kind of society Irish people want in the future.

Many people believe that human life is sacred, and that life in the womb is so vulnerable it needs protection under the law. But striking a balance between the life of the mother and the unborn in situations where both may be at risk is proving difficult for medical practitioners who want to do the right thing. What are the principles guiding medical ethics in Ireland when it comes to dealing with abnormal pregnancies? Do they ever compromise the safety of women or the unborn?

Even the main religions in Ireland differ on this question of abortion. Jews, Muslims and most of the Christian churches believe that abortion should be permissible, in certain restricted circumstances. Only the Roman Catholic Church holds the view that direct abortion is always morally wrong and wants Irish law to support this with a blanket ban on direct abortion. But is this really what all Irish people want today - even all Irish Catholics?

The European Court has insisted that the Irish Government moves beyond the mixture of fudge and ferries that currently constitutes "an Irish solution to an Irish problem". As politicians attempt to put in place a legal framework that provides clarity to mothers and medical personnel in situations where a woman's life is at risk, without introducing abortion on demand, Mick Peelo grapples with the passions and beliefs, the lawyers and the medics, to see if it is possible to strike a safe and moral balance between the right to life of a woman and the equal right to life of an unborn child.

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