— Dan O’ Neill (@activedan) February 27, 2015
Oh go on.
— Dan O’ Neill (@activedan) February 27, 2015
Oh go on.
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
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.
(Laura Hutton/Photocall ireland)
Independent TD Clare Daly’s bill providing for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality is being debated in the Dáil.
From the debate…
Leo Varadkar tells #Dail he cannot allow it to pass legislation which is unconstitutional, which the Attorney General says it is
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 6, 2015
Only one Labour TD in the chamber – junior minister Kevin Humphreys – who is notably choosing not to sit in the ministerial seats… #dail
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 6, 2015
Watch live here UPDATE:
Joanna Tuffy is the first Labour contributor, of 12 so far. Says Daly’s bill is unconstitutional #dail
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) February 6, 2015
BBC Reporter Alys Harte
Abortion: Ireland’s Dirty Secret.
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.
SDLP compromise on abortion. http://t.co/C6mzYvoYWX
— Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) February 2, 2015
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.”
Previously: How Soon Is Now
“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.
Previously: How Soon Is Now
Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
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.
A pregnant woman who is clinically brain dead is being kept on a life support machine against the wishes of her parents.
It’s official. We’re just incubators. Walking wombs and nothing more.
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“.
Previously: Bernie Smyth on Broadsheet
I don’t know if this goes against the politics of Broadsheets or if it would be of any interest. I wrote my journey around abortion, or for that matter the lack of abortion facilities in Ireland and the need to travel. I would appreciate it being shared.
I am tired of there being stigma, judgement and misunderstanding surrounding something that is happening in our country, EVERYDAY. The majority turn a blind eye because it isn’t happening to them, so yeah lets just let England deal with our “little problems” instead of offering support and safety to those who need it .
It was something I had never really thought much about, abortion. I assumed a lot about the people who had them but I never knew the statistics, I never really understood why it was illegal in Ireland and I certainly never thought I would be having one.
I thought I was immune from pregnancy, that it would never ever happen to me and well it did and my world crumbled. I used to hear my friends say from around 17 onwards ” oh if I get pregnant I will just hop over to England and get the abortion tablet, sorted”. Part of me always thought it would be a simple solution almost like a safety net, a back up plan. I was wrong.
I sat in the doctor’s office and made her do five tests, all dipping in clear and coming out positive. I always laughed at those scenes in movies, you know the ones where the main character gets bad news and everything goes muffled and slows down and fades away and its like a spinning camera sensation, well that is honestly what I felt in that moment staring at those 5 tests.
I think it was clear from my face that it was not planned, so my amazing doctor gave me some advice and talked through all my options, have the baby, give it up for adoption, or travel to England and have an abortion. I knew the first two would be impossible for me to do. I was innocent to the world and I was not set up in life to have a child. I did not want to fall into the system and be trapped in life. So I made the best decision I could with the options I had.
I didn’t tell anyone at first, just my boyfriend at the time. He was supportive and rallied around me and travelled with me to England. The clinic I went to was small and discreet and the people who worked in there were some of the sweetest, most understanding people I could have hoped to meet in this situation. Coming from Ireland where you feel like you are carrying a dirty secret, to this clinic where everyone else was in your shoes or knew the feeling, it calmed me.
I was under 8 weeks pregnant and so was given a simple procedure of a tablet orally, followed 6 hours later by suppositories in my cervix as the final dose of the drugs required. Going to England was a struggle as we had to scrape the money together and borrow from a friend of mine to help us and we just managed to gather enough to stay one night. Now in normal scenarios from the abortion procedure under 8 weeks the oral tablet is taken on the first day and you are to come back the following day and receive the suppositories. I was leaving the following morning so the clinic were kind enough to accommodate my travel arrangements and a nurse stayed late to administer the second dose.
I have heard from other women that the pain level is different for everyone, for me it was excruciating. But in that budget hotel room, right by the airport my abortion was complete. I was exhausted and travelling back took a toll on me. I slept for about three days in and out of pain, bleeding for about two weeks after. Coming back to Ireland was heartbreaking and one thing that stung me the most was the morning we arrived back my boyfriend went off to work, leaving me lying in bed, crying alone. Realising that as much as he was a part of what my body went through, he could never know the pain, the sadness. He got to step out of the apartment and go off to his life, leaving all the worry and sadness with me in that room. I was so jealous of him for that, for being able to leave me and join the world again, no one the wiser. For me, I felt like I had blood trailing after me when I went out in public, like everyone knew what I had done.
This stigma, this stain on my conscious followed me for a very long time after the abortion. My boyfriend got over it outwardly and quickly went back to his life before the pregnancy. I on the other hand was stuck, unable to feel what I needed to feel for fear of judgement and scrutiny in this country. I slowly opened up to close friends and I can now say three years on that I am no longer ashamed of my decision. Quite the contrary, I am proud, proud of every single woman who has travelled the same journey I have. Proud of their decision , their courage, their resilience. I am a part of a secret club in Ireland, a club hidden in the shadow of a over bearing government and a “ignorance is bliss” mentality, with a religion that has women grasped firmly by the ovaries.
This secret club, these women warriors, they took a stand on the 27th of September. We walked out of the shadows and into the sun, quite literally that day. I felt such pride marching with 5,000 other people, men and women, young and old, who care about women’s health, not just physically but mentally too. They marched and waved banner and made noise for all the days I stayed silent, for the days all of us travelled in silence and came home to silence.
I don’t want to be silent anymore. I am standing up to repeal the 8th amendment in Ireland.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope it has broadened your view on what all these women go through, silently and by themselves.
In the first three months of last year there were 1,667 abortions performed in Britain on Irish women. During the same period, there were 13,894 births in Ireland. By that ratio, one in nine Irish pregnancies end in a British abortion. (IrishHealth.com).
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) November 6, 2014
If you want to know how flimsy we hold women’s humanity, start by looking at the laws governing pregnancy. The 1967 Abortion Act is often claimed to have legalised “abortion on demand”. It didn’t. In practice, the 1967 Act modifies the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act sufficiently to allow most women who seek a termination to obtain one within the law under most circumstances – but to do so, a woman must convince two doctors that continuing the pregnancy would cause “grave permanent injury to [her] physical or mental health”. It’s not enough for her to simply say, “No, I do not want to have this baby”. Ever so subtly, our law starts from the position that the default outcome for all pregnant women should be motherhood: it’s left to each individual to persuade the medical authorities she is an exceptional case who should be allowed to determine the use of her own body.
Perhaps this doesn’t sound so terrible to you. Maybe you consider abortion a grave matter, one of such moral consequence that no woman alone should be able to make it for herself. After all, it is the end of human life – a foetus that would become a baby, then a child and then an adult before dying in its turn – and surely any decision that ends a human life is to be taken seriously. Except, all of us make decisions every day about whether or not to support other human lives with our own flesh, and most of us choose not to. For example: 96 per cent of us choose not to give blood even though we’re eligible to, and 68 per cent of us choose not to join the organ donor register. People die on waiting lists. And this is sad, but it’s also acceptable: no one is entitled to your blood or your organs unless you are generous enough to share them.