Watch the video © Paula Geraghty:
Watch the video © Paula Geraghty:
irishtimes.com, 20. August 2014, by Aine McMahon
Not the church, not the State, women must control their fate’, protesters chant.
Some 2,000 people turned out at the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell street to protest at Ireland’s abortion laws.
The demonstration was organised by a number of pro-choice groups, including Choice Ireland and the Abortion Rights campaign in the midst of the latest abortion controversy.
Protestors chanted “not the church, not the State, women must control their fate” and “abortion rights now.”
Many protestors held signs which said “repeal the eighth” while other slogans included “I’m not a vessel” and “Raped, Pregnant, Suicidal, Forced C-Section – Ireland 2014”.
Gardaí at the march estimated that 1,500 to 2,000 people attended while organisers said up to 3,000 people had attended.
Protester Niamh Hanley said “I don’t believe in our political system and I don’t think anything will change unless we stand up and use our voice.” Jennifer Brennan said “I think this young woman has been treated appallingly. I think that we can do alot better for women in this country and for women who come from overseas.” Richard Hamilton said he came out to march because “the current law does not seem to be workable.”
Read full article: www.irishtimes.com
irishtimes.com, Sat, Aug 23, 2014
Sir, – Any women who has the right to travel and sufficient funds will be able to go to England to have an abortion, if she decides to do so. Any women whose right to travel is restricted or who does not have access to that money will, however, be subject to the new legislation, having to face a panel that decides on her fate. The issue of being suicidal is not really of any consequence here.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and the new legislation only ever affect an already disadvantaged and marginalised minority. Everybody else deals with a termination the way they decide for themselves and does not have to worry about these things too much, as there is always the option of a trip to England.
At the inevitable next abortion referendum, most Irish voters will therefore again be in a position to contemplate the sanctity of life and the right of the unborn in the safe knowledge that the issue is really only an academic one for them.
And they might even feel pleased with themselves for having taken a “moral stand”. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – When will the conversation turn from women’s reproductive rights (which are many, let’s be frank, from myriad forms of contraception to the morning-after pill to the freedom, albeit fiscally defined at present, to decide to abort a pregnancy) to men’s reproductive rights, which are basically nil? When are we going to discuss a father’s rights? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I would like to thank Ruth Cullen for her considered and intelligent column on abortion (“Advocates of abortion ignoring a little truth”, Opinion, August 21st). It is by far the most level-headed and caring piece I have read on the subject.
I need to add that I am not a practising member of any religion and my thoughts on the subject centre on the care we should give young women and their babies in a crisis pregnancy. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In her trenchant defence of the pro-life campaign’s position on Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, Dr Ruth Cullen writes: “Thanks in significant part to our constitutional protection of the unborn child the Irish abortion rate is far lower than Britain’s”. If the Eighth Amendment were to be repealed, it’s fair to assume there would be a marked decrease in Britain’s abortion rate. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – We are people in or from Ireland. We are under the age of 50. We could not vote in the 1983 abortion referendum which profoundly limited women’s autonomy. No subsequent referendum has provided an opportunity to undo that damage. Many of us have lived our whole lives under an abortion regime in which we have had no say. As a generation we have grown up knowing that the State would compel us to travel if we wished to exercise substantive control over our reproductive lives. We never allowed ourselves to think, at least since Miss X, that we lived under a regime willing in principle to marshal its power against a distressed young woman to compel her to carry her pregnancy to viability.
We have never been given the democratic opportunity to expand the circumstances in which an abortion can be sought in Ireland. We have repeatedly asked for this chance, but the State failed to listen. The law punishes women in our name, but never bore our mark. We are disappointed and concerned by the latest news, but we know that disappointment and concern are not enough. It is time that this generation had its referendum. That referendum must transform the law on access to abortion care.
Read the full letter: www.irishtimes.com/letters
irishtimes.com, Tue, Aug 19, 2014
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, enacted following the death of Savita Halappanavar, was meant to bring to an end the agonising about Ireland’s abortion regime and the long failure to legislate for the existing constitutional provision. The news that a vulnerable and suicidal young rape victim was denied an abortion in a timely way and ended up having a Caesarean section to deliver her baby prematurely shows that it has signally failed to do so.
The facts of the case, as we know them, are horrific. The young woman came to Ireland following a traumatic rape in her own country, resulting in pregnancy. She immediately told certain statutory authorities (though apparently not the HSE) she wanted an abortion. She was not directed to the appropriate medical services. Her circumstances were such that she could not travel abroad for an abortion, so she was forced to continue with the pregnancy against her will, as evidenced by the fact that she went on hunger and thirst strike. When she eventually obtained medical help she was found by the panel of experts to be suicidal, but they considered it was too late for an abortion and medical intervention, also against her will, became necessary to save her life and that of the child.
Read full article: www.irishtimes.com
The Guardian, Sunday 17 August 2014
Ireland’s abortion act promised access to abortion at least in a few cases. In practice, it seems to have made no difference at all.
A vulnerable young woman in Ireland has been forced to give birth by caesarean section, even though she was so desperate for an abortion she was ready to starve to death rather than have the baby. These are almost the only known details of one of the first appeals for permission for an abortion to take place since the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act – allowing for the first time very limited abortion – came into effect at the start of the year. Scant as it is, the news appears to confirm that little has changed in the country’s profoundly anti-abortion stance since Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis in a Galway hospital after being denied an abortion two years ago.
The act, which was a response not just to the Galway tragedy but to a 20-year-old supreme court ruling, was supposed to be revolutionary. But it is so tightly drawn that only where a mother’s life is physically at risk, or where she is suicidal, could the process of approving an abortion even be launched. Victims of rape and incest are explicitly excluded. Then, earlier this month, the Guardian obtained the clinical guidelines under which it operated. They are so restrictively framed that women and girls in severe distress because of unwanted pregnancies continue to face cumbersome and distressing barriers. They could have to see as many as seven different medical professionals before a request for a termination is granted. In effect, as this weekend’s case appears to show, it makes abortion all but impossible even for a suicidal woman.
Read full article: www.theguardian.com
Ireland must without delay take steps to reform its abortion law and ensure that women have access to safe and legal abortion without discrimination in line with its human rights obligations. In this regard, the Center for Reproductive Rights urges the Irish government to:
- Decriminalize abortion for both women and health care providers.
- Allow women safe and legal access to abortion in Ireland, at aminimum, when their life or health is at risk, when the pregnancy results from rape or incest, and in case of fatal or serious fetal impairments in line with international human rights standards.
- Repeal the Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Act, 1995 and adopt positive measures to ensure that women have access to comprehensive information about legal abortion both within and outside Ireland without restrictions in line with international human rights standards.
- Adopt effective and accessible procedures for women to exercise their rights to access legal abortion services in Ireland that are non-discriminatory and sensitive to the particular circumstances and needs of different groups of women.
- Put in place an effective and time-sensitive process through which individual women can challenge refusals to provide them a legal abortion.
Download the article from Center for Reproductive Rights : www.ccprcentre.org/pdf
irishtimes.com, Tue, Jun 10, 2014 by Fintan O’Toole
Opinion: In an Irish Times article in 1964, Michael Viney referred to ‘the secret-service mother-and-baby homes’ run by religious orders in Ireland.
The Irish psychosis whose latest expression is thousands of dead babies in unmarked graves is a compound of four elements: superiority, shame, cruelty and exclusion. The Taoiseach last week called the deaths of those children “yet another element of our country’s past”. Are we so sure that these forces are not also our country’s present?
The superiority complex in Irish society came from the desperate need of an insecure middle class to have someone to look down on, an inferior Other against which to define its own respectability.
In 1943, the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers compiled a well-meaning memorandum on children in institutions. It noted of those in mother-and-baby homes that “These illegitimate children start with a handicap. Owing to the circumstances of their birth, their heredity, the state of mind of the mother before birth, their liability to hereditary disease and mental weakness, we do not get, and we should not expect to get, the large percentage of healthy vigorous babies we get in normal circumstances. This was noticeable in the institutions we visited.”
These were humane and compassionate reformers. And it seemed obvious to them that children born out of wedlock would be physically and mentally weak and that “we should not expect” them to be normally healthy.
Sense of inferiority
A Catholic priest writing in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record in 1922 under the pen-name Sagart, actually objected to the establishment of mother-and-baby homes, not on the grounds that they were horribly oppressive in principle, but that they might let unmarried mothers lose their proper sense of inferiority.
Read full article: www.irishtimes.com
Hands On is the TV programme for Ireland’s Deaf Community on RTÉ 1, Produced by Mind The Gap Films.
Caroline provides some facts about one of the most contentious issues in Irish life: abortion. A Deaf woman who chose to terminate her pregnancy shares her story.
“Terminal Ferries will carry you and your condition to a place where it can be dealt with.”
Belfast Telegraph, 08 MAY 2014
Government rules that prevent women from Northern Ireland receiving free abortions on the NHS in England have been upheld by the High Court Mortgage.
A test case was brought by a girl, referred to as “A”, unable to access services free of charge.
The law on abortion is stricter in Northern Ireland than in England and Wales, where the 1967 Abortion Act liberalised the position.
In Northern Ireland, termination of pregnancies generally remains unlawful unless carried out to preserve the life of the mother.
Mr Justice King, handing down judgment at London’s High Court, said the differences in the legal position had “not surprisingly led to a steady stream” of pregnant women from Northern Ireland to England to access abortion services not available to them at home.
But he ruled that the Health Secretary’s duty to promote a comprehensive health service in England “is a duty in relation to the physical and mental health of the people of England”, and that duty did not extend “to persons who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland”.
The judge said the latest Department of Health statistics, relating to 2011, showed over 1,000 women from Northern Ireland had abortions in England, the vast majority in fee-charging independent clinics.
Only five were provided free of charge on the NHS.
He said A was aged 15 when, in October 2012, she and her mother, who helped her bring her legal challenge, travelled to England to have a pregnancy terminated at the Marie Stopes clinic in Manchester.
The operation cost £600 plus travel costs of some £300, half of which was provided by the Abortion Network, a NI voluntary organisation.
The teenager had been denied a termination by the medical authorities in Northern Ireland.
The mother described “the whole experience and stress” of not knowing whether it was going to be possible for her daughter to have the procedure and raise the funds as “harrowing”.
She said in a statement to the court: “Had we known from the outset that we would be able to travel to the UK and that A could have the procedure free on the NHS, this would have significantly reduced the stress and trauma she experienced.”
Read full article: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk