Tag Archives: Abortion

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Clare Daly TD at a ProChoice protest in 2013

In advance of today’s Dáil vote on Clare Daly’s bill to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities….

That’s why, if I were a member of the Dáil, and irrespective of what a party whip might say, I’d vote for Clare Daly’s bill to allow a mother to choose a termination in the case of a fatal-foetal abnormality. I don’t buy the argument that it’s necessarily unconstitutional — any reading of the amendment itself, not to mention judgements such as the X case, show that to be highly questionable.
But we’re a humane people, when all is said and done. Humane people don’t turn a blind eye to human tragedy.
It has placed generations of women in jeopardy. And it hasn’t addressed the issue of abortion

Two disastrous policy decisions, both of them born of ignorance (Fergus Finlay, IrishExaminer.ie)

There will never be a good time to address Ireland’s abortion quagmire, but Labour TDs have the opportunity today to support legislation that could at least ameliorate some of the trauma faced by women and their families when they are told their unborn children are incompatible with life.

The Labour Party has in the past been an important voice when it comes to supporting women and their right to access abortion services. It will be a sad day if it decides to prioritise petty political concerns over this proud history.

Labour TDs need to vote with their conscience on Daly’s abortion bill (Collette Browne, Independent.ie)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall ireland)

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Independent TD Clare Daly’s bill providing for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality is being debated in the Dáil.

From the debate…

Previously: ‘The Role Of The State Is To Ease The Burden Of People, Not To Add To It’

Watch live here UPDATE:

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BBC Reporter Alys Harte

Abortion: Ireland’s Dirty Secret.

On BBC3.

Ireland Stand Up writes:

This programme follows 24 year-old Tara as she travels to England for an abortion as well hearing from Sarah, who turned from being pro-life to a campaigner for change, after her first child was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.

[Reporter] Alys Harte believes these voices are a sign that the stigma surrounding abortion is lifting. But she is also struck by the determination of a new generation of pro-life activists, who want to retain the status quo. Gemma, 16, believes some people think it’s fine to have casual sex as they can just have an abortion, an attitude she doesn’t want in Ireland.

Alys hears from a consultant obstetrician working in Belfast who says that her advice to patients is clouded by fear. In Northern Ireland, doctors can be jailed for life for performing illegal abortions. The government even issued draft guidelines that threatened NHS staff with ten years in prison if they didn’t report suspicions of unlawful abortions to the police.

With unprecedented access to both pro-life and pro-choice campaigners as they take to the streets in both Belfast and Dublin, Alys Harte reveals the extreme lengths that young people are prepared to go to in order that their voices are heard in the debate.

Abortion: Ireland’s Dirty Secret  on BBC 3 at 9pm.

Meanwhile…

Northern Ireland abortion laws case granted judicial review (BBC)

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Emer O’Toole, in The Guardian, writes:

“This year, a suicidal teenage victim of rape and torture (Miss Y) was forced to carry her pregnancy to viability and deliver by C-section. And now we have a clinically dead woman being ventilated and fed for the sake of an insentient foetus, while her heartbroken family takes legal action in order to mourn her.”

“But we mustn’t get emotional. There’s no political appetite for another abortion debate. Kenny has already dealt with this issue. The passing of the protection of life during pregnancy bill last year was very difficult for him and his party. He deserves a pat on the back for legislating at all.”

“If you must discuss this case, do so cooly: in terms, perhaps, of its potential effects on the career prospects of male politicians? Is the ambitious Leo Varadkar, the health minister, using this case opportunistically? What might it mean for the future leadership of Fine Gael? That’s what matters here. Women’s bodies, women’s lives, women’s rights: those are messy, incendiary topics, best avoided.”

“However, you can’t just say “no comment” if you’re the taoiseach. It might look cold. “And so, Kenny, while carefully strapping his knees to the legs of a chair lest they betray some kind of humanity, recommends a careful measure of empathy: “Let anybody put themselves in the position of this family,” he says. And I can’t help but wonder if he can countenance this kind of empathy because it allows him a male subject position.”

“Let anybody put themselves in the position of this family. Then let anybody put themselves in the position of Savita Halappanavar, in pain, miscarrying, at increased risk of septicaemia, denied an abortion. Or of Miss Y, raped, seeking asylum in a country that bureaucratically continues her torture. Or of a woman told her foetus has a fatal abnormality but that she must continue to carry it. Or of a terrified teenage girl waiting for the abortifacient pills she ordered from some dodgy website. Or of a mother-of-two, going through a marriage breakup, who finds she is pregnant. Or of any of the women who contact Mara Clarke’s Abortion Support Network, asking for help to cross the Irish channel, each with their stories, each with their reasons.”

“Women’s experiences are routinely erased from Irish discourse on abortion. Our government and media won’t engage with the reality of living in a body that gets pregnant. When others do, they are dismissed as irrational, emotive: feminine.”

“Objectivity, historian Helen Graham once said, is not an equidistant position between any two points. It is right to be angry and upset in the face of injustice. 2014 has shown us the truth about the contempt for women underlying Kenny’s new legislation.”

“Be angry that a dead woman’s body is being used as an incubator. Be upset that Miss Y was forced to carry her rapist’s child to 24 weeks. These are women’s bodies. These are women’s lives. And that is what matters here.”

A brain-dead Irish woman’s body is being used as an incubator. Be angry (Emer O’Toole, The Guardian)

Previously: How Soon Is Now

‘The Role Of The State Is To Ease The Burden Of People, Not To Add To It’

Pic: Amplifyyourvoice.org

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“The people that I want to see around the bed are the doctors, not the lawyers. In my view the eighth amendment does not actually serve women well when issues of their life, their safety, their health, are in question.”

“The thing that I find extraordinarily difficult about this kind of a case is that as a consequence of the eighth amendment, and I’m somebody who was opposed to the eighth amendment, the Labour Party was opposed to the eighth amendment, we said it was wrong to put it into the constitution, but the people of Ireland in their wisdom decided differently – and that’s their prerogative in any referendum to make a decision as they see fit.

“But what we have now, and will have, without a doubt, is over a period of time cases which will throw up the most agonising and difficult dilemmas and at the centre of that will inevitably be young women and the babies that they’re carrying.

Tánaiste Joan Burton speaking to political correspondents earlier today.

Joan Burton says abortion laws do not serve women well (Irish Times)

Previously: How Soon Is Now

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

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The woman who is in her late 20s has been transferred from Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.
It is understood that some family members have asked for her life support machine to be switched off. Doctors are seeking legal advice regarding the Constitutional position in relation to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

Legal advice sought over pregnant woman with brain trauma (RTE)

A pregnant  woman who is clinically brain dead is being kept on a life support machine against the wishes of her parents.

Clinically dead pregnant woman being kept alive by hospital (Independent.ie)

Stephanie writes:

It’s official. We’re just incubators. Walking wombs and nothing more.

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An anti-abortion protester has been convicted of harassing a Marie Stopes clinic director at her Belfast city centre offices.

Bernadette Smyth, who leads the anti-abortion group Precious Life, was warned she could face a jail sentence for her campaign against Dawn Purvis.

The judge said: “This case was run, no-holds barred, in a vicious and malicious fashion.”

He said an investigating police officer had been deliberately slandered.

Ms Purvis had been the victim of an unwarranted attack, the judge said.

Mrs Smyth was also told she will be ordered to pay compensation and would be restrained from the area around the clinic.

The 51-year-old had denied harassing Ms Purvis – a former Progressive Unionist Party assembly member – on two dates earlier this year.

With sentencing put back until next month, Mrs Smyth was told her potential punishment could be community service or prison.

The judge said anti-abortion campaigners stationed outside the clinic had been forcing any women of child-bearing age to identify their reasons for entering.

Because of that conduct, he said the range of possible sentencing may go from community service to imprisonment.

Mrs Smyth was told she will certainly have some form of restraining order imposed on her.

Although she left court without making comment, her solicitor described the verdict as “a disappointment for Christians worldwide“.

Anti-abortion protester Bernadette Smyth guilty of harassing Dawn Purvis (BBC News NI)

Previously: Bernie Smyth on Broadsheet