From top: Pro life demonstration last Summer; Tony Groves

We need to talk about Abortion. Again and Again. Not only because a young girl, who was seeking a termination, was held in a psychiatric unit.

Not only because the Citizens Assembly (another vehicle from the Do Nothing Dáil) delivered recommendations that the Government are now referring to as a ‘guide’.

Not just because we had the Strike4Repeal, a walkout of workplaces and universities, take place on  March 8 and other methods of Repeal Activism go largely ignored in mainstream media.

Also not because I’m concerned that the new Taoiseach has drawn comparisons between women travelling for reproductive healthcare, to men travelling to Amsterdam on a Stag Party.

Nor is it because of the fact that any further delay to repeal is a violation of a woman’s rights.

No, I’m writing because of something Minister for Health Simon Harris said previously, that in the context of the latest outrage has been crystallized it in my mind.

After the UN Human Rights Committee’s found Ireland imposed “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” on Amanda Mellet, Mr Harris apologised saying:

“I am very sorry that this is how she was treated. Ireland’s history shows that it has been a cold and uncaring place for women and children. I felt the echoes of that when I read that UN view.”

I heard echoes as well. Echoes of a dark history.

When in January 2014 the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2003 was brought into force under former Health Minister and self-proclaimed conservative  (Taoiseach in Waiting) Leo Varadkar, it brought some truly terrible echoes from history ringing back.

Before you start complaining and yelling “Godwins Law” at me, I’m not about to draw an equivalence between Ireland’s failure to provide free, safe and legal reproductive options and Nazi Germany’s genocidal purges.

Whether it was the law for the prevention of hereditary diseased offspring , or the involuntary euthanasia of Aktion T4, or the Eugenic based practice of compulsory sterilisations, the Nazi State unquestionably engaged in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

But most startling, in an Irish context, is a little nugget. When an individual (with a disability, a mental disorder or a genetic flaw or was simply gay) was identified by the Nazis, a file would be prepared and sent to (and this is the chilling Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 part) three Doctors for sign off.

The three doctors, unknown to one another, would assess the individual and place a Red Mark in a box if the person was deemed unfit for life. It was a majority rule decision. If two doctors used the Red Pen, the person was done away with.

In Ireland a woman might have an abortion “where the threat to her life arises because of the risk of suicide. Three Doctors—a woman’s obstetrician and two psychiatrists—must agree that her life is at risk.”  Three Doctors must all agree.

Yes, I understand the very different circumstances. I acknowledge the aim of the States are ethically and morally very different. But when you imagine the pressure doctors were placed under back then, how the regime could punish dissent, you can’t help but imagine the pressure our doctors must be under today. They are caught between the 8th Amendment and the UN Human Rights Charter.

Ireland’s Medical Professionals need not be exposed to bad laws, the issues we are asking them to adjudicate on are too serious. Their jobs are hard enough and the physical and mental well-being of our mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends is too important for any more political games of kick the can.

Echoes from the past can be learned from. Yet here we are today, writing our own history, and failing.

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld

Rollingnews

21 thoughts on “The Three Doctors

  1. newsjustin

    Yeah. If you’re trying to promote a pro-choice argument, you really wouldn’t want to be drawing comparisons with the Nazis.

    Reply
      1. Brother Barnabas

        You’re referring to the coming of Christ thing again, aren’t you? I already apologised.

        Reply
  2. Daniel Sullivan

    “Not just because we had the Strike4Repeal, a walkout of workplaces and universities, take place on March 8 and other methods of Repeal Activism go largely ignored in mainstream media”

    This was extensively covered, it just wasn’t as big as people might have hoped and nor did it merit much further coverage beyond the day itself.

    Reply
  3. rotide

    Before you start complaining and yelling “Godwins Law” at me, I’m not about to draw an equivalence between Ireland’s failure to provide free, safe and legal reproductive options and Nazi Germany’s genocidal purges.

    yet, you do.

    Reply
  4. Daisy Chainsaw

    A child has been impregnated and is suicidal. Because she’s not being referred to as a teenager, we can only assume that she’s well under the age of consent, so the sex involved was rape. Her mother champions her cause under Irish legislation and sees her child duped and locked up as a result. It must be a terrible state of affairs not to be able to afford to travel to the UK for an Irish abortion. To be forced to jump through PLDPA hoops and be further abused and violated by the people you’ve been referred to to help you. The laundries have been replaced with the nuthouse.

    I hope this young girl got the help she needed and asked for. Brava to her mother for fighting for what her daughter wanted too.

    Reply
  5. nellyb

    Tony, it’s a bit disappointing you didn’t mention persecution bias against XX-people.
    Where is criminal responsibility for XY-people, responsible for unwanted conception, in the 08th? – That’s where you start a conversation. Or you have to admit that there is a wide spread phenomenon of immaculate conception in Ireland. It is in-and-out-wipe-and-go for XY on the legislative landscape. If you say nothing about it – you can lose argument straight away. And forget Varadkar, he is inconsequential.

    Reply
    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      nelly, not that anyone will notice – but you’re not wrong. The father is never mentioned, except for Clampers and a few others who are rabid about ‘fathers’ rights ‘. The men of my generation did their utmost to avoid such ‘rights’. I state this as a fact, I’m not saying it was a ‘good thing’. Today’s tulips are so intent on controlling the woman and so blown away that they actually ‘fathered ‘ something (so fond of themselves they are), they’ve gone mental altogether. I realise that such an opinion may be unpopular, but is the truth as I know it – for good or ill.

      Reply

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