Tag Archives: Abortion

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar talking to the media on his way into the Data Conference at the Convention Centre Dublin

Amid the news of a new Taoiseach in the Dáil and the announcement of his Cabinet, the news that Leo Varadkar had confirmed an abortion referendum, seemed to slip through the cracks.

Yesterday he confirmed that the referendum will take place sometime next year.

He said Health Minister Simon Harris would be responsible for bringing forward legislation to allow for the referendum on the eight amendment, which gives an equal right to life to the mother and the unborn….

Varadkar announces abortion referendum for next year (Newstalk)

Rotide writes:

I’m slightly astonished you haven’t covered this at all today..

Fight!

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Students mark the election of Leo Vardkar as Taoiseach with a protest the to repeal the Eighth Amendment ahead of a rally in central Dublin on Saturday

Meanwhile…

The UK’s highest court has rejected an appeal by a mother and daughter in their legal battle for women from Northern Ireland to receive free abortions on the NHS in England.

Abortion: NI women not entitled to NHS terminations in England

Rollingnews

Listrade

All I know is that I don’t know nothin’. And that’s fine.

There’s a certain peace and restfulness that comes from admitting that the more you learn and more you know, the more aware you are of just how much you don’t know.

Each bit of knowledge and education only opens up a whole other area of knowledge and information about which you are ignorant.

At this point you could insert one of numerous Richard Feynman quotes on learning, life and everything like, “Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

He’s right, it doesn’t matter. It is much more interesting to have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned (Feynman again). Sorry seems to be the hardest word, but it isn’t as difficult a phrase as “I don’t know.”

All politics, all ideologies and all religions are all about easy answers. You can rest easy because we’ve done the difficult thinking for you and here are our answers. All we ask is your unconditional support and belief.

Except, it turns out that they don’t have the answers either.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act (PLDA) 2013 was supposed to be an answer. But what was the question? It wasn’t how do we protect unborn life and it wasn’t how do we protect the life of women after Savita Halappanavar.

The question was how we protect doctors when making a decision that might conflict with the Constitution. Doctors shouldn’t need the enactment of legislation in 2013 to help them make a judgement on what is best for the life of the patient. And yet they insisted they did.

But the Supreme Court insisted they didn’t.

In its decision on the X Case, the Supreme Court discussed at length the conditions that would permit abortion under the Constitution. For 22 years doctors had some clarity that where there was a real and imminent risk to the life of the mother, they could perform an abortion.

The death of Savita had nothing to do with lack of legislation and was all to do with doctors not wanting to make a decision.

The PLDA was bad law enacted in haste and yesterday we saw that doctors still won’t make a decision, even when the Supreme Court and the law says they can. Suicide is a risk to the life of the mother, PLDA allows for this and for an abortion.

Except if someone is suicidal and a genuine risk to themselves, then they should be committed to a mental institution. The former requires three medical opinions, the latter just one.

Oh, but not when you jump in a river and actually try and kill yourself. Then you’re grand. No risk there.

The problem with narratives is that when you have them, they become like a hammer and everything looks like a nail. It’s easy to read a lot into what the psychologist did in committing the girl to an institution. We’ll probably never know and so shouldn’t speculate.

But to repeat an old mantra, never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

The problem with narratives is that we can’t discuss abortion as we should. Not religion, not ideology, just ethics. Unfortunately, we’ve let ethics become synonymous with religion.

We’ve allowed a situation where one specific branch of one specific religion gets to be the dictator of ethics. We need a debate free from that. Unfortunately, no politician would be brave enough to have that discussion.

If you were to do a list of who has an abortion and why they have an abortion, the results of that list might be swayed by your views on abortions. Are the women old or young? Married or single? Is the abortion due to their health or the foetus’s?

Our only basis for answering this is to look to the statistics from those countries that do have legalised abortion. Great Britain (not UK as many in the UK have realised recently due to legislation not being enacted in Northern Ireland) is probably the best comparison.

Any legislation is likely to be the same where abortions require medical approval and a similar set up. From the statistics available, we know that in 2015 185,824 (3,451 from Ireland) abortions were performed.

· Based on 2015 births, approximately 20% of pregnancies were terminated in England and Wales.*

· 80% of abortions are performed in the first 9 weeks and 98% within the first 19 weeks (69% and 97% respectively for Irish women)

· 70% of women are in a relationship (65% for Irish women)

· 77% of women are white.

· 54% had been pregnant in the past through to delivery (47% Irish)

· 38% have had previous abortions (19% Irish)

· 98% have abortions on the grounds of Category C “risk to the physical or mental or mental health of the mother” (96% Irish)

· 86% of women are over 20 (52% aged 20-29, 34% 30+) (91% Irish, with 46% 20-29 and 45% over 30)

· 3% of abortions were for serious abnormalities or disabilities to the foetus (Category E) (4% Irish)

· 3 abortions (number, not percentage) were performed in emergency situations to save the mother’s life (due to mental or physical harm).

· 629 (0.3% of abortions) were because the foetus was diagnosed with downs syndrome (1.1% Irish)

*very rough approximation

How do we interpret this? I don’t know. Looking at the statistics above: it’s complicated. It isn’t, as Leo claims, like the lads popping off to Amsterdam.

This is mature, rational women, in a relationship, many who have seen a previous pregnancy through to birth.

They are 98% of 185,824 who have weighed up the pregnancy and its consequences and a doctor has agreed an abortion is necessary. Over 180,000 individuals like the population of County Limerick.

There is no single group mind behind their decisions. The only common feature is they live in a state that allows them to make that decision in consultation with a doctor.

In Ireland, we’ve legislated for the three abortions that were medical emergencies. But someone had to die before we even did that. We haven’t addressed the issue of suicide risk, but then we haven’t addressed the issue of suicide risk in general.

Under the PLDP, it isn’t enough to be diagnosed with cancer; it needs two doctors to confirm the cancer. With mental health, we want three doctors to confirm your state of mind before anyone will make a decision.

Twenty two years after the Supreme Court said it was permissible without legislation, that suicide risk was a risk to life, that you can take the threat of suicide at face value, you do not have to wait until they are pressing a knife to their wrists.

One doctor can do that. One doctor can believe the woman and act. The constitution does not prohibit that. Doctors did not need to wait 22 years, we didn’t need legislation. Doctors didn’t need to lobby our legislators so that it required three doctor’s opinions.

You can make of the statistics above whatever you want. You can use them to support pro-life or pro-choice. But they are what they are.

All I know is that I know nothin’. It’s complicated. Life is complicated. Somehow, we’ve managed to make complicated the bits that aren’t complicated when it comes to permissible abortions under the constitution..What hope do we have with the bigger issue of abortion in general?

The only thing I can say for sure is that it’s time to listen to those who have had experience here. Not those who want to insert an ideology into other people’s decisions.

There are over 180,000 of them in Britain, over 3000 in Ireland. Maybe listen to them, not me.

Listrade can be found on Twitter @listrade  where he mainly steals jokes from Keith Chegwin.

Yesterday: Tony Groves on The Three Doctors

From this morning’s Irish Times

This morning.

In The Irish Times.

Kitty Holland reports:

A girl deemed to be at risk of suicide who wanted an abortion was sectioned under the Mental Health Act because her treating psychiatrist said terminating the pregnancy was “was not the solution”.

In the case, which was before the courts last year, an order was made to detain the girl on the evidence of a psychiatrist who said that while the child was at risk of self-harm and suicide as a result of the pregnancy, “this could be managed by treatment and that termination of pregnancy was not the solution for all the child’s problems at this stage”.

A few days later, however, a second psychiatrist said although the “young girl” presented as being depressed “there was no evidence of a psychological disorder”.

…An abortion would have been performed under the terms of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. However, it seems the Act was not invoked, despite her having been deemed suicidal as a result of the pregnancy by the first psychiatrist.

Further to this…

A petition – calling on Taoiseach-in-waiting Leo Varadkar to respond to the story – has been launched.

It can be signed here

Girl sectioned after psychiatrist ruled out abortion (Kitty Holland, The Irish Times)

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 18.08.01

RTÉ journalist David Davin Power on tonight’s Six One

Yesterday.

The Citizens’ Assembly voted by 52 votes to 29 (or 64 per cent) to allow access to the procedure with no restriction on reasons.

Of the 52 who voted for this access, 25 stated abortion should be available up to 12 weeks’ gestation, 23 voted for a 22-week limit, while four said there should be no restriction on gestational age.

Further to this.

Tonight, on RTÉ’s Six One news.

RTÉ journalist David Davin Power spoke to Sharon Ní Bheoláin about the results of yesterday’s Citizens’ Assembly.

Sharon Ní Bheoláin: “We’ve been kicking this can, this most difficult and contentious of issues down the road for decades, David. Has the time come where we’re finally going to deal with it?”

David Davin Power: “Sharon, we might be approaching the end game but, as always, the timing is critical. The first thing to say is that the very liberal package of recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly took people very much by surprise here. There was astonishment across all parties that they had recommended something that, it has to be said, is politically unsaleable.

“Only around 24% of the electorate, in the last comparable opinion poll, backed a regime that is that liberal. So, the task of this committee that will be meeting from June onwards is essentially to water down these proposals to the point that they’re not politically toxic. Because if these, if this package was put to the people, the view in Leinster House, certainly is, that it would surely fail.

“But, of course, the timing and the timescale is a problem because, with the best will in the world, this committee, if it sits in June and reports in September, if it works through the summer, there’ll be very limited legislative time. And the Dáil returns in October, we have the budget, we have the social welfare bill, so, effectively, the first time we could contemplate having any referendum on this is next year, maybe around April next year.”

“And, of course, that’s the time when you could be facing a general election, if the package between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil unravels. but one thing I have detected around Leinster House today is that there does seem to be, there does seem to be a will to crack on with this now. If only to make sure that the issue is disposed of before that general election but ultimately this will be a problem for a new Taoiseach and, potentially, a new Government.”

Abortion should be legal for all women, says Citizens’ Assembly (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Watch back here

0062 Bus 4 Repeal Photo Op and press launch_90502807 0088 Bus 4 Repeal Photo Op and press launch_90502802

This morning.

Former Central Bank HQ, Dame Street, Dublin 2

Anti Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger (top centre) and members of Rosa (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity), an initiative by women in the Socialist Party, launch this year’s Bus4Repeal.

The Bus 4 Repeal will depart from Dublin on March 6 and will travel to Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

The journey concludes on International Women’s Day on March 8 when the bus joins the #March 4 Repeal and #Strike 4 Repeal. This is the second such bus organised by Rosa.

FIGHT!

Rosa (Facebook)

Rollingnews

choice4xmas

Going back to Ireland for Xmas?

The newly formed London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, the UK-based branch of the Irish movement to make abortion free, safe and legal, is launching a mass social media ‘check-in’ for Irish expats going home for Christmas.

Aoife writes:

We want those heading back to Ireland for the festive season to show support for women travelling in the other direction, by ‘checking in’ at ferry and airports and using the hashtag #choice4xmas.

The #choice4xmas campaign will run from December 16th. We’re asking ex-pats to check-in on social media at airports and ferry ports, with the suggested text:

Travelling home to Ireland & thinking of the 11 women a day who travel to Britain for an abortion #choice4xmas #repealthe8th #Extend1967Act”.

Those who aren’t travelling can share and like our content to show their support.

London-Irish ARC’s next open meeting takes place at 18:30 on February 1 at Queen Mary’s University. Those interested in attending can book a place here.

 

90435478  90435477

This afternoon.

Central Bank, Dublin 2

Pro-life supporters, iocluding above from left: Emma Maloney, Rossa and Mary Kenny, launch the ‘Love Both’ project highlighting “all that’s positive about the Eighth Amendment“.

*deep breath*

FIGHT!

The Love Both Project (Facebook)

Meanwhile…

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Amanda Mellet and her husband James Burke

The Government has offered €30,000 in compensation to Amanda Mellet, the woman who successfully made a complaint to the United Nations about Ireland’s abortion laws.

…Ms Mellet was in her 21st week of pregnancy in November 2011 when she learned her foetus had congenital heart defects and would die in the uterus or shortly after birth…

The Rotunda Hospital, where Ms Mellet received her scan, acted in accordance with existing laws by informing her of her options, namely, to carry to term or to “travel”.

…The offer were made to Ms Mellet in a meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris Tuesday night…just one week before a deadline imposed by the UN Human Rights Committee on Ireland

Woman harmed by abortion ban offered €30,000 (Pat Leahy, Irish Times)

Previously: ‘The Ashes Were Unexpectedly Delivered To Her Three Weeks Later By Courier’

Rollingnews