Can You Hear Us?


Last night.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Pro choice protestors calling for free, safe, legal abortion in Ireland, while inside Leinster House…

Simon Harris said he was “delighted” to have changed his mind on abortion over the past seven years in response to accusations that he was untrustworthy on the issue.

The health minister had promised to oppose any change to Ireland’s abortion law in 2011 before his U-turn.

He was speaking as a landmark bill to legalise access to abortion last night failed to clear its last stages in the Dáil. It means that the report stage of the bill will finish in the lower house next week, at the earliest. The government is under pressure to meet a promise it made after May’s referendum to have legal abortion services in place in Ireland by January .

The bill still needs to complete its report and final stage in the Dáil and also make its way through the Seanad before the parliament breaks for Christmas.

Simon Harris defends U-turn on abortion (The Times Ireland Edition)


65 thoughts on “Can You Hear Us?

  1. Tom

    This was always going to happen. The usual crowd got so used to screeching that they will find any opportunity to jump on some minor piece of wording.

    1. ReproBertie

      Did you see the nonsense they were coming out with yesterday? Utterly laughable and completely unverifiable rubbish about women not being allowed know the gender due to other women presenting at maternity hospitals in Dublin being told they were having a girl and never appearing again.

        1. Nigel

          You can try to make a more equal society where one gender is no less desirable than any other. Once again misogyny is the problem and feminism is the answer

          1. newsjustin

            Certainly, we can all attempt to stem any demand for sex-selective abortion. There’s no question, that would lead to multiple co-benefits.

            But, are you OK with sex-selective abortions happening in the meantime? You see no reason to try to prevent sex-selective abortions from Jan 1st?

          2. newsjustin

            Banning sex-selective abortion would be a good start Nigel, as it predominantly targets girl foetuses.

          3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            But you can’t tell the sex of the foetus that early. Usually it’s at around 20+ weeks when that’s clear, which is way past the proposed legal termination at 12 weeks.

          4. newsjustin

            An amendment in the proposed Bill that explicitedly states that it is not legal to procure an abortion on the basis of the gender of the baby. It may be impossible to enforce, but at the very least it would highlight societies abhorrence of sex-selective abortion.

            I mean, we all think sex-selective abortion is wrong, don’t we?

            Andyourpointisexactly – maternal blood screening tests now readily available can determine the baby’s sex from 9 weeks.

          5. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Can it? Jaykers. I wonder if they could legislate that that information would only be provided after 12 weeks? After all, it’s not relevant medically.

          6. Dr_Chimp

            How exactly does feminism solve the problem of sex selective abortion? Feminism abandoned it’s core principle of equality a long time ago. Nowadays it’s about exacting revenge for perceived past wrongs and force feeding women and others that they are forever victims.

          7. newsjustin

            Andyourpointisexactly – yeah, those tests also screen from 9 weeks for likelihood of certain genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.

            That’s part of the reason why the 12 week limit is so….eh…..handy.

          8. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Ok, I see what you’re getting at, but I’m saying let the screening happen for genetic abnormalities but don’t provide gender info.

          9. Nigel

            If it’s unenforceable then don’t bother, it’s a wedge issue to control and criminalise women’s decisions.

          10. newsjustin

            “Ok, I see what you’re getting at, but I’m saying let the screening happen for genetic abnormalities but don’t provide gender info.”

            So you’re not OK with sex-selective abortion. But OK with aborting a boy or a girl because they’re likely to have Down Syndrome? Do I have that right?

        2. Tom

          This bothered me as well. People were acting like it was the most ludicrous story they ever heard. It absolutely will happen as it does in other countries. It wouldn’t make me change my view but it can’t be dismissed.

          1. ReproBertie

            It was raised in an attempt to have an amendment inserted in the bill, an amendment the government have already said is not needed as the bill does not allow for abortion on gender grounds.

          2. newsjustin

            Repro, the Bill allows for abortion up to 12 weeks for any reason.

            So how can you say that the Bill “does not allow for abortion on gender grounds”?

          3. newsjustin

            You are badly misinformed ReproBertie. Gender can be determined with certainty from 9 weeks with maternal blood screening tests like the Harmony test.

            I’m surprised you’re entirely unaware of that.

          4. millie st murderlark

            Newsjustin, the Harmony test can be done from 10 weeks in the pregnancy and takes at least 10 working days, which would put it past the legal limit for abortion for any reason, including gender.

            Furthermore, they cost around €400, which is not something everyone is willing or able to shell out, and is a lot of money to pay to just discover the gender of the child.

            The only reason to seek a Harmony test is for something like DS or Edwards syndrome. The gender is hardly the most important aspect of that particular test, all things considered.

          5. newsjustin

            Millie, maternal blood screening tests can technically be done from 9 weeks and only take 10 days to return a result because samples are typically sent to the US. It is not difficult to imagine that 10 day period being drastically shortened once screening is carried out in Ireland.

            The gender may not be important (other than a nice surprise) to you or me or the vast majority who would never chose to abort a pregnancy because of the sex of the baby. But to those who would, and they exist around the world, including in the UK so there’s no reason to think people here won’t do it, €400 is not necessarily any kind of barrier.

            Remember too that tests such as Harmony will only become more available, less expensive and more accurate at earlier stages in pregnancies.

        3. ReproBertie

          Nice deflection. The point being made was the nonsense the losers are tossing out to delay the bill, or do you have evidence to back up the claims that were made in the Dáil yesterday?

        4. millie st murderlark

          There will ALWAYS be people who abuse it. But is that sufficient grounds to deny it to women who do need it for valid reasons, or to deny the democratic will of the population? It’s not. We’ve seen what happens when it’s denied to Irish women. Let’s trust that the majority of them will not abuse it and see how it goes. The beauty of legislation is that if legal abortion is unsuccessful in Ireland, laws can always be brought in to change that

          As we have already seen, no?

          1. newsjustin

            “…..deny the democratic will of the population?”

            The democratic will of the people is to allow these elected politicians, and future elected politicians to debate and legislate for abortion. The current debates and processes in the Oireachtas are direct manifestations of the will of the people. This is what 66.4% of people voted for.

            If an amendment to ban sex-selective abortion gains the support of sufficient members of the Oireachtas then that too will be the will of the people.

            People forget, so quickly, what they actually voted for.

          1. newsjustin

            As I said above, it may be extremely difficult or impossible to enforce a prohibition on sex-selective abortion. The proposed Bill implicitly allows for it given abortion up to 12 weeks will be allowed for any reason – no reason will be asked for.

            This doesn’t mean that a prohibition shouldn’t be inserted in the Bill. The fact that it is prohibited may dissuade some people from choosing sex-selective abortion. Clearly not all.

            Obviously, a very similar discussion could be had re pregnancies where a strong likelihood that the baby has e.g. Down Syndrome has been identified before 12 weeks.

            These are all issues that I and many others pointed out prior to the referendum.

  2. newsjustin

    “Remember who you represent 66.4%”

    Simple point. But, as proponents of the constitutional change told us during the campaign, the only result of the referendum is to change the constitution to allow the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion. It didn’t, so we were told, commit Government to any particular legislation. Neither did it guarantee any legislation a free ride through the Oireachtas without suggested amendments.

    People had their say. The 66.4% won. Now they must live with what they explicitedly voted for – to have the Oireachtas debate and legislate on abortion.

  3. Is A ____

    You should pay for your own abortions, even if they are to be made ‘legal’.

    None of the rest of us want to be associated with your acts of murder.

    Before you all go but “democracy” let me remind you that democracy is the rule of the mob.

    Before you go but “women’s right to chose” let me remind you that choice exists before she opens her legs.

    Before you go “but healthcare” let me remind you abortion as healthcare is already provided for in legislation and any act that destroys one of two perfectly healthy human lives cannot really be considered “healthcare”.

    Remember all the lies you were selling on Broadsheet during the referendum campaign? Now you find out just how much you deceived yourselves. And for what? So you could share your ‘abortion-friendly-virtue’ on social media?

    Abortion is murder – An engineered referendum doesn’t change that fact.

    1. ReproBertie

      When you say “none of the rest of us” you do not speak for the 66.4% that voted to repeal the 8th.

      If you know of murders being committed you should contact the gardaí.

    2. Holden MaGroin

      “Before you go but “women’s right to chose” let me remind you that choice exists before she opens her legs.”

      A very judgmental statement. Actually, it’s gross and your lack of compassion or understanding is pitiable.

      1. Is A ____

        Wait, what…?

        You can’t handle the idea of a woman choosing to have sex?

        If that’s true you should probably go back to pre-school and stay off the internet..

        1. Holden MaGroin

          Well, Hector projector, I think you might be the one who is having issues with women having sex.

          My problem was that you used the phrase “before she opens her legs” which has traditionally been used to shame women for wanting to fulfill a normal biological need.

          But to follow your logic, what if she was raped or abused? She didn’t choose to open her legs then. Or maybe we should just tell them to not to wear thongs and ask for it?

  4. Nullzero

    I think free abortion should be on a means tested type basis, ie medical card holders etc.
    If you’re having an abortion by choice (ie no fetal abnormalities etc) and you are employed you really should be paying for the procedure yourself.

  5. newsjustin

    What the comments on this article show is the remarkable misinformation and lack of facts amongst some people who were in favour of this constitutional change. Misinformation which, naturally, impacts one view of abortion in general and this proposed legislation in particular.

    The following article is quite a good, balanced, review of just these kinds of issues:

    Worth a read.

    1. Cian

      What the comments on this article show is the remarkable misinformation and lack of facts amongst some people who were in favour of this constitutional change. Misinformation which, naturally, impacts one view of abortion in general and this proposed legislation in particular.

      FTFY – to be fair there is misinformation on both sides.

      1. newsjustin

        Yeah. I was referring, in particular, to 2 commenters on this thread who weren’t aware that the sex of a foetus can be easily determined with certainty from 9 weeks.

        In fairness, if you weren’t aware of that fact, I could see why sex-selective abortion as a result of this Bill wouldn’t be any concern.

        1. millie st murderlark

          10 weeks, you mean.

          Or did you miss my comment above addressing the misinformation in your own comments?

          1. Cian

            * Your result is available 10 to 12 working days later

            The NY times one (about 7 weeks seems) is 7-weeks gestation – which is 7 weeks after conception. Weeks are usually counted from LMP (which adds 2 weeks to this) – so it alights with the 9 weeks of the others.

          2. millie st murderlark

            Oh! I need to update my information then. Mea cupla, newsjustin :)

            i do think my point still stands about the need for a Harmony test being only something that is a lot of money and effort over the gender of a foetus. However, as you say above, they may well become more frequent and affordable. The same argument coudl be made as regards 3D ultrasounds, which are more frequent now, but still prohibitively expensive enough to be a deterrent to all but those who truly want/need it. If they do become so commonplace that they are a factor in making the decision whether or not to have an abortion, then I think it should be discussed then.

        2. ReproBertie

          10 weeks + 10 days but this excludes the fact that I voted to allow women make a choice, not to scramble for fearmongering excuses to control their choice.

          1. ReproBertie

            Yes, by ultrasound which is how most people find out. I wasn’t aware that the harmony test was quite as mainstream as you seem to believe, but then nor was the Love Boats politician who brought it up.

            It’s still irrelevant. The sort of people who would abort on gender are the same people who will happily lie about their reason if the timewasting unnecessary amendment was added.

        3. Cian

          I was referring to different commenters (not you) on this thread rehashing old lies.

          We voted to remove the 8th and the proposed legislation was to allow abortion up to 12 weeks without restriction. And that would include any of:
          – I was raped
          – I was drunk
          – the baby would have FFE
          – I’m not ready for a family
          – my family is too large already
          – I can’t afford a baby
          – I’m too old for a baby
          – I don’t want a girl
          – I’m invited to a wedding in 3 months, I already have a dress and want to wear it and not look fat, and to drink
          – having the baby will endanger my health
          – I already have 3 boys and I want a girl, not another boy
          – 10,000 other, personal, reasons

          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            That’s true. I still feel weird about the gender thing, though, as that’s not medical.

          2. newsjustin

            Thanks Cian. I agree that the country voted to remove the 8th and the proposed Bill was clear, before 8 weeks without restriction. So, yes, all the reasons you gave.

            But the actual amendment, as you know, gave the Oireachtas the power to make the legislation. So any amendments, suggestions, new legislation from now on can and will be debated. The proposed Bill did suggest that it would be below 12 weeks without given reason. But nothing is fixed anymore, it is a political matter now.

Comments are closed.