Rhona Mahony explains why she is against the 8th Amendment

The Master of the National Maternity Hospital has defended her criticism of the 8th Amendment.

Dr Rhona Mahony has said the piece of our constitution which protects the right to life of the unborn is too 'ambiguous' and forces surgeons to wait too long before intervening.

She is also unhappy that it forces doctors to make medical decisions in the context of criminal repercussions.

A 14-year prison sentence can still be given to mothers and medics who help procure illegal abortions.

Dr Mahony has explained why she is against the 8th Amendment.

The National Maternity Hospital.

"The difficulty we have with the 8th Amendment is that it provides for rights but actually we are talking about clinical risk and eventually there will be times where risks and right actually come in to conflict," she said.

She claims the Constitution is too "ambiguous" and forces surgeons to wait too long before intervening.

Dr Mahony also thinks there needs to be more clarity around the legal situation

She said: "So let's think about substantial risk to life, what does that mean? Is it a 10% chance of dying, 20% chance of dying? If I say you've got a 20% chance of dying, but I'm okay with that as your doctor, well you might say 'Rhona, I'm really not okay with that'.

"When do you become sick and when are you dying? When is that magic point? I mean that doesn't always come with a red flag waving at us."

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