The Case of Sheila Hodgers
Sheila Hodgers died on the 19th of March, 1983 of cancer following the birth of her third child in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Allegations were made that she was refused treatment for her cancer due to a concern that the treatment might have harmed her unborn child. If that was the case, no pro-life person would support what happened to Ms Hodgers. She should have received any treatment she required and was entitled to. Her death was a tragedy. But it had absolutely nothing to do with the 8th amendment.
Ms Hodgers died before the 8th amendment came into force, no part of the 8th amendment contributed to her death, and attempts by abortion campaigners to attribute her death to the 8th amendment are dishonest.
What happened to Sheila was a tragedy, but it is not one that could happen again today. Now that the 8th is in place, doctors know they can act to save the life of a mother even if that inadvertently leads to the death of the unborn child, and we have one of the safest countries in the world in which to give birth. So we should recognise that Ireland was once a much less welcoming place for women and that doctors were once akin to God in the finality of their judgement, but we should not claim that deaths like these can only be made right by removing a constitutional amendment that saves lives, and which didn’t even exist when Sheila tragically lost her life.