Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category
The English Solution to an Irish Problem; Martyn Turner, the Irish Times Cartoonist, Tells it As It Is
“CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS in the UK have released statistics this morning on the number of terminations that were carried out in England and Wales last year, highlighting the incidence of women travelling from Ireland to avail of abortion services.
A total of 3,982 women gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland when attending clinics and hospitals during 2012. That made up the 68 per cent of the 5,850 abortions provided to women resident outside both countries. Women from Northern Ireland made up another 15 per cent of the figure.” The new restrictive X Case Law, which the Labour Party and Fine Gael ensured was carried by the Dáil last night, will not change this situation. Pro-Choice TD’s put down several amendments which were rejected; the defeated pro-choice amendments included a provision to allow women with fatal foetal abnormalities access to an abortion in Ireland. Another Savita Halappanavar type case is inevitable, sooner or later. http://www.thejournal.ie/at-least-21-women-from-every-county-in-ireland-had-an-abortion-in-the-uk-last-year-988359-Jul2013/
National Women’s Council of Ireland Director Orla O’Connor makes the current situation clear :
“Over 17,000 men and women wrote 77,428 emails to their TDs and Senators over the last few months to call for legislation to give full effect to the X case as part of NWCI’s campaign. This is evidence of the high level of public support throughout Ireland for access to safe and legal abortion in life threatening cases, including risk of suicide.”
“Yet what people were calling for has not been delivered in this Bill. Abortion remains a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison and onerous and inaccessible procedures for women dominate the Bill. We urge the Government, as the Bill goes through its final stages, to take on board our proposed amendments so we have legislation that is fair, just and workable for women in Ireland.”
“It is also critically important for us to acknowledge that with the passing of this legislation Ireland will continue to have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes globally. It will provide no solution to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities or where there is a risk to the health of the woman. Women in crisis pregnancies, over 4,000 every year, will still be forced to travel abroad for abortions. Women in Ireland must be in a position to make personal decisions about their own bodies and health care free from coercion, discrimination and the threat of incarceration. http://www.nwci.ie/news/2013/07/10/vote-on-abortion-legislation-a-historic-moment-for/
Here is Deirdre Conroy’s Account of the shameful Dáil Debate on foetal abnormality :
Minister’s contribution to debate on foetal abnormality was disrespectful to women
87 % are in favour of medical intervention for this condition http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/minister-s-contribution-to-debate-on-foetal-abnormality-was-disrespectful-to-women-1.1460755?page=1
The leader of backward Irish Vatiban (Fine Gael) defends women-hating laws; pregnant women beware!
Deputy Kenny is out of step with popular opinion :
What is in the new government bill on abortion? Will it make the current position better or worse?
In 2012 Clare Daly proposed a bill in Dáil Éireann to implement the Supreme Court X Case Judgment of 1992 – later endorsed in two referendums held in 1992 and 2002 – which would have legalised Abortion in Ireland in very limited circumstances.
Now the government has come forward with a new bill – following mass outrage at the death in a Galway hospital of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion which would probably have saved her life.
The government is also under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights after the A, B, and C cases; the court instructed the Dublin government to legislate on abortion.
It is necessary, at this early stage, to carefully look at the contents of the government bill, and propose alternatives which will take forward the pro-choice cause in Ireland.
The statement below, issued by pro-choice TD’s Clare Daly and Joan Collins, is a contribution to this effort.
Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD
Statement – May1, 2013 – immediate release
Needs of despairing women ignored – lives will be put at risk
Expert Group recommendations ignored
Commenting on the government’s draft bill on abortion, Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD called for changes to deal with shortcomings in the Bill:
Clare Daly said:
“Today, May Day, when women have fought for their rights as workers, we are still fighting for our rights as women. I welcome the publication of the government’s proposals for minimal legislation on abortion, but it contains restrictions that will continue to put women’s lives at risk.
There are neither medical nor social grounds for requiring the approval of three consultants to agree to abortion for a despairing woman, driven towards suicide because of unwanted pregnancy. A psychiatric emergency is no different to a medical emergency and is treated as such by clinicians. If one of the government’s panel of three says ‘no’, it is up to the woman to push for an appeal to another three. Most women would give up at the possibility of a second refusal and be driven further into despair, or forced overseas – if they can afford it. This must change: no more than two medical practitioners should be required to approve abortion for suicidal women.
Women who cannot face these obstacles, and induce abortion themselves, are threatened with 14 years in prison. They would be branded as criminals if they obtain abortions in Ireland – yet the government is happy to see it done in Liverpool. The ‘chilling factor’ of criminalisation referred to by the European Court of Human Rights has been transferred from doctors to women. This hypocrisy must end: abortion must be decriminalised.”
Joan Collins said:
“The government has ignored Art 6.4.1 of its own Expert Group Report, which said that two doctors was enough to make a clinical decision on the risks to a woman’s life because of physical or mental health condition. They have also ignored the views of the majority, who support legislation for the X case, and organisations including SIPTU, Unite the Union, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland – representing hundreds of thousands of people. They have called for no more than two medical practitioners as sufficient to approve abortion.
This Bill is a political compromise with Fine Gael backbenchers and the anti-abortion minority, which will compromise women’s lives rather than meet women’s needs. It also reinforces the distinction between a woman’s life and her health and welfare – where a woman who could be permanently incapacitated by pregnancy cannot get an abortion. The 8th Amendment must be repealed and women’s health needs and choices provided for.
We will be examining this draft Bill in the coming days and will table amendments to remove the unnecessary restrictions contained in it.”
Trade Union Flags mingle with “Never Again” images of Savita Halappanavar on a bitterly cold evening at Dublin City Hall.
Paula Geraghty’s Short Video Report of the Event :
Brendan Young reports on the demonstration, and makes proposals for more useful activities.
Today, March 5, is the 21st anniversary of the X Case ruling. Yesterday evening we had a great rally of 500 – 600 calling for legislation. Yesterday and last Friday, we had a historic first when major trade unions and other mass organisations – SIPTU, UNITE, the Women’s Committee of ICTU, the NWCI and USI joined together in calling for legislation that is not so restrictive as to make abortion inaccessible in practice. Both events were organised by Action on X.
Yet despite all the discussion about legislation at the January meetings of the Health & Children Committee on the Expert Group Report on abortion, we are still no clearer on when legislation will appear. There were press reports in early Feb about a memo to cabinet from health minister Reilly with proposals for a bill. The reports suggested that this memo contained proposals which were very restrictive: up to five consultants might be required to sign off approval for an abortion in the case of a woman being suicidal due to unwanted pregnancy. Previous comments suggested there would be very few locations where abortions could be carried out. These proposals provoked a row and the memo was withdrawn. So there is now no timeline for any proposals on X legislation; nor any indication of what the legislation might contain.
When Reilly announced before xmas that there would be legislation on X, people may have thought that it was a done deal. But Kenny was saying that the legislation would be as restrictive as possible. Labour are opposing the most restrictive aspects – but details are scanty and the outcome is undecided.
We cannot assume therefore, that legislation will be forthcoming before the summer. When legislation is published the anti-abortion minority will go into overdrive. So we should be clear on what we are doing over the coming months: there must be legislation for X, in the least restrictive form possible; it must include risk to life by suicide as grounds for abortion. It would be a setback for the pro-choice movement if legislation is passed that requires three, four or five consultants to sign off on an abortion; or if services are restricted to one or two hospitals, such as the Mater where Prof Patricia Casey – long-time anti-abortion campaigner – runs the suicide clinic. Such restrictions would simply deter a woman from even trying to use the services – with all of the risks that would entail.
Legislation on X will, by definition, be restricted by Art. 40.3.3 – the 8th Amendment to the Constitution. But restrictive legislation on X would be a setback. It would make a campaign for repeal of the 8th Amendment more difficult.
So we should not deflect the focus of the current debate by arguing for abortion on grounds of health (or other non-risk-to-life grounds – apart from fatal foetal abnormality) to be included in this legislation. These arguments are easily dismissed because they are excluded under 40.3.3 – the removal of which requires a referendum to change the constitution. Until X legislation is passed, without unnecessary restrictions, we should focus on that. We then move on to the launch of a campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment.
A useful activity for keeping pressure on the government (and other parties) would be for teams of people to visit TDs and councillors in their clinics. The visits would be to ask them what they are doing about implementation of the X ruling and the ABC ruling; and about when legislation will be published. They can be asked about their own position on the details of legislation – restrictions, etc; about the position of the party locally; and about what information they have regarding government proposals. If the TDs / Cllrs don’t know, they can be asked to find out.
A picket on the Dáil before the easter break on March 28 would also be useful.
Joan Collins TD, Clare Daly TD Statement –13 Feb 2013 –
Legislate for X –Now No restrictions that make abortion unavailable
Today’s leaked report of the draft HSE investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar contains shocking confirmation of what was reported at the time of her death –and more. Commenting on the leaks in the press Joan Collins said
“The first person to see this report should have been Praveen Halappanavar. We hope this has happened and that he has not read about it in the papers. It is unacceptable that a report which was apparently concluded six weeks ago should be delayed for another ten days before being published. The leaks from this report confirm that a dying fetus was given priority over an increasing risk to Savita’s life. It says that even before her request for an abortion, ‘the clinical situation indicated a significant and increasing risk to the mother'; and that ‘… septic shock could have been avoided by an earlier termination knowing that –without a termination –the prognosis for the fetus and potentially for the patient was poor”
Yet a consultant is quoted as saying “our hands were tied” by the current legal situation as long as there was a fetal heartbeat and no immediate risk to the woman’s life.” Clare Daly said: “Whatever the interpretation of current guidelines by the doctors concerned, this must never happen again. There must be legislation so that doctors can perform abortions when pregnancy puts a woman’s life at risk. And as the Chief Justice said in the X Case ruling, that risk should not have to be ‘immediate or inevitable’ in order for abortion to be approved. The forthcoming legislation must not have restrictions so that abortion is unavailable in practice. The opinion of no more than two medical practitioners should be sufficient to unds of physical risk to life ocal practitioners should be sufficient to approve abortion –either on grounds of physical risk to life or risk of suicide. Abortion should be available throughout the country –as near as possible to women’s homes –and not restricted to just a few hospitals. And abortion should be available if a fetus has an abnormality that means it cannot survive.
Legislation for X might have saved Savita’s life. But what her death shows is that abortion must be available if a pregnancy puts a woman’s health at risk. There is overwhelming popular support for abortion in such situations, as well as for rape and incest, or fatal fetal abnormality. The most recent poll shows 60% support for ‘a woman’s right to choose’. Abortion in these circumstances, which we support, requires the repeal of Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution.
Savita’s unnecessary death must not be the fate of other women. There must be no more delays in legislating to the X case. Once that’s in place we will be campaigning for the repeal of Art 40.3.3 and the introduction of
free, safe, legal abortion in Ireland.