DIT, Aungier Street, Dublin
A mock 8th Amendment Referendum…
From top: Members from ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) activists ahead of a ‘Handmaids’ lobby at the Dail today to mark the first public meeting of the Oireachtas committee on the recommendations of the Citizen’s Assembly;’ Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of the committee arriving at Leinster House this afternoon
Leinster House, Dublin 2
A meeting of the Dáil Committee on the 8th Amendment to consider the recommendations of the Citizen’s Assembly is taking place.
Liggy, who once ‘took the boat’ writes:
The Oireachtas Committee on the 8th amendment is in session today. 21 men and women meeting in private to debate the findings of the Citizens’ Assembly on abortion rights.
The results of that paper is summerised here:
The conclusion of the assembly’s findings was:
“….there is a strong desire for change and … a belief that all people in pregnancy should be given choice and full rights over what happens to their bodies.”
There is a concern among pro-choice groups that the committee will focus on the most narrow circumstances of the findings of the assembly and try to dilute the clear directive the assembly’s findings have given them.
Hence the protest of the Handmaidens outside Dáil Éireann today:
A choice. That is all that is being asked for. Men can elect to have any cells they want removed from their body. Women should have that same right too. It’s actually not that much to ask for and really belittling to have to ask for it.
Here is the weird thing about choice. You can choose to do something or you can choose to not do it. You can choose to have cells removed from your body or you can choose to see a pregnancy to term and give birth.
The people who do not want to give women that choice are weirdly and ghoulishly obsessed with the contents of the deepest, darkest part of a woman’s body.
As if it is something we cannot be trusted to have autonomy over ourselves. They don’s seem to be as concerned with the cells once they have grown to the point of being born.
There seems to be something about all the crying, puking, shitting, snotting and expense that puts them off.
Amazingly, anti-choice organisations like Iona seem loathe to give any time or trouble themselves about Irish children in poverty, in danger, in need of physical or mental help or the parents who try their best to support them.
Imagine not having to tie down people who have been raped and forcing them to give birth.
Imagine bring able to quickly prioratise the life of a living person in a medically perilous position over a foetus.
Imagine being able to abide by a family’s wishes to turn off a life-support machine rather than using a person’s cadaver as some sort of morbid incubator for a dying foetus.
Imagine 100 people not having to travel to the UK for abortions every week.
Imagine our newspapers and media screens not being filled with the debate about whether to give women a simple choice or not.
What WOULD we do with all that free time?
Previously: ‘I Took The Boat’
Leinster House, Dublin 2
Pro Life activists Caoimhe White and Sean Blackwell mark the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the passage of the Eighth Amendment which introduced a constitutional ban on abortion in ireland.
The amendment recognised the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child and a referendum on the amendment passed by 67% voting in favour to 33% voting against.
Essex Street,, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Artists join forces to shred the Eighth Amendment outside Project Arts Centre ahead of A Day of Testimonies at the theatre tomorrow.
A Day of Testimonies will bring together Ireland’s leading performers and creators to “reflect both the complexity of the issue and the simple truth that women’s health is put at risk because of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”
Artists include Bassam Alsabah, Aideen Barry, Sebastian Barry, Cecily Brennan, Mary Coughlan, Sarah Cullen, Raymond Deane, Theo Dorgan, Racheal Fallon, Kim Gleeson, Eithne Jordan, Joey Kavanagh, Alice Maher, Paula Meehan, Amy Walsh and more.
Pic: Ruth Medjbar
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….
I’m slightly astonished you haven’t covered this at all today..
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
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.
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“.
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
A full transcript of AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger’s exchange in the Dáil concerning the holding of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment [banning abortion in Ireland] with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
A small tay.
Deputy Ruth Coppinger: “On Saturday the Taoiseach was 50 metres away from an historic demonstration – the 25,000 strong, predominantly youthful March for Choice which took place in Dublin and called for the holding of a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment abortion ban, something he has continually tried to avoid, despite all the polls which show a huge demand for it.
At the end of the protest the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs posited the idea that we might need something to replace the eighth amendment in the Constitution. Does the Taoiseach agree with her and, if so, why?
Why, following the tragedies and the folly of putting something in the Constitution equating a woman with a foetus, would he seriously contemplate putting something else in to police women’s bodies? There is nothing normal about putting anything about abortion or women’s health in a constitution. I am aware of only one other country that has done it. It was done in Chile under the murderous military dictator General Pinochet.
On behalf of women and young people in this country, I ask the Taoiseach not to go there. He has been a Member of the House for 41 years, since 1975.
During that time he has taken part in important decisions affecting women. A total of 165,000 women have had to travel outside the State for an abortion while he has been a Member of the Dáil. Did he give those women a second thought when he was debating these crucial decisions?
In what could be one of his final acts as Taoiseach, I ask him to break a pattern of more than four decades of him being on the more backward, conservative side of all these vital decisions in the Dáil.
He was in the House to vote in favour of the eighth amendment in 1983. Did he have any qualm at all having heard the reservations of the Attorney General at the time and many others? He was here to vote in favour of the “off you go” clauses in 1992 on travel and information and, crucially, was leader of the country when a pivotal event happened when a women needlessly died in a Galway hospital, having asked for and been refused an abortion.
He could have ensured that would never happen again in this country, but that is not the case now. He ignored the pleas of Savita’s parents, for example, to introduce a law to protect women’s health, but rather than repeal the eighth amendment, he chose to criminalise women for having abortions.
Will he, for the first time, listen to and trust women to make these decisions for themselves? Will he agree that it has been proved that the Constitution is not the place in which to decide on these issues and that, ultimately, the church and the State have to stay out of personal decisions?
We all know that there will be a referendum. Will he make sure that it will be to repeal, not amend, the eighth amendment?”
Enda Kenny: “I thank the Deputy. She described the insertion of the amendment in the Constitution as a “tragedy”. Unfortunately, the Constitution belongs to the people. I happened to be in the House to legislate for the first time in 30 years for what the Constitution meant, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. I have listened to the many tragic stories of women in recent times.
That is why it is entirely appropriate that 99 citizens, men and women of different age groups, are coming together from locations around the country to tease out the questions surrounding the eighth amendment, under the chairmanship of the Supreme Court judge, Ms Justice Laffoy, who I am sure will do a first-class job. It is in everybody’s interest that there be a sensitive, rational and comprehensive discussion about this and that is the purpose of the citizens’ assembly.
I am glad its first meeting will take place on 15 October and that everybody, on all sides of an argument that has divided Irish society very bitterly for 30 years or more, can make their contributions and have their say.
When the assembly provides its recommendations the issue will come back here to this House. Depending on the outcome of the recommendations, Members of the Oireachtas will vote according to their conscience on where we proceed from here.
We are having a citizens’ assembly to address the many sensitive issues that have arisen from the stories people are confronted with on a regular basis.
I spoke to some of the people on the march on Saturday and they made their views very clear but there are many divided opinions on this subject and I expect to hear them all over the coming months while the assembly goes about its business. In Ireland in 2016, it is very reasonable to allow people on all sides to make their contribution on an issue that is and always has been divisive.”
Ms Coppinger: “The Taoiseach said he set up the citizens’ assembly to hear stories but we have ample stories and he commented on none of the questions I put about his own role in this House over four decades on these issues. We heard the stories of two women who were travelling and I know they tweeted the Taoiseach, although I do not think he tweeted anything back.”
The Minister for Health offered them tea and sympathy while sending them out of the country and I know the Taoiseach has been tweeted on many issues related to women’s reproductive rights, on which he has refused to comment.
We can win a repeal of the eighth amendment without any further restriction, which is what I fear is being cooked up in the form of restrictive legislation being put into the Constitution or an amendment to the eighth amendment. The Taoiseach keeps denying the results of opinion polls but he has set up a 99-person opinion poll in the form of the citizens’ assembly. All the opinion polls show that 73% of people want a referendum held and 80% believe health is a key issue.
When people talk about “repeal” and wear T-shirts bearing the word, as they did on Saturday, they don’t mean “revoke” or “make null and void”. They do mean “replace” or “amend”. I say this lest there be any confusion on the part of the Taoiseach or among his Ministers. That is what people marched for and that is what they will get.”
Mr Kenny: “I fully respect the view of the Deputy but it is not a black and white situation. The T-shirts may be black and have white writing on them but this is about people and people have different views.
Some 20,000 or 30,000 may have marched at the weekend but we have the citizens’ assembly to allow people to have their say and all people are entitled to have their say. Everybody has a personal opinion about this but it was a Government decision, endorsed here by the Oireachtas, to set up the citizens’ assembly.
I admire the courage of the 99 who have stepped forward to participate in the discussion. It is not an easy thing for many of them to do, given the nature of the divisive response that can come from participating in something like this.
The hearings will be streamed live and I hope that everybody, at home and abroad, can listen to the conversations and have their views heard. I hope that, under the direction of Ms Justice Laffoy, the recommendations will come back here to the Oireachtas and we can move on from there.”
Transcript via Oireachtas.ie
Earlier: Where’s me Jumper?
Bray, County Wicklow.
Post-March washing line….
Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
Pro-Life supporters party like it’s 1983 to celebrate the Eighth Amendment of the constitution, the principle barrier to reform of Ireland’s abortion laws.