Tag Archives: Abortion

Sarah Ewart outside Belfast High Court this morning

This morning.

Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Via Amnesty International UK:

Sarah Ewart and Amnesty International have won a landmark case in Belfast’s High Court today, as judges found Northern Ireland’s strict abortion law to be in breach of the UK’s human rights commitments.

[This case was launched following a UK Supreme Court judgment in June 2018, in which five of the seven judges ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion law breaches the UK’s human rights obligations.]

The court has stated that in cases of fatal foetal abnormality Northern Ireland’s abortion law is incompatible with the UK’s human rights obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

In July, Parliament passed the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act, which will see abortion in Northern Ireland decriminalised and made lawful including in cases of risk to health, sexual crime and where there is a serious and fatal foetal abnormality, unless the Stormont executive is restored by 21 October.

In light of this law change, the Court will now seek further advice about whether a formal declaration of incompatibility will need to be made

Abortion: NI law ‘breaches human rights’ (BBC)

Pic: Sky

UPDATE:

In a statement, Ms Ewart said:

“Today’s ruling is a turning point for women in their campaign against the outdated laws prohibiting against abortion in Northern Ireland.

“It should never have had to come to this.

“Today’s ruling is a vindication of all those women who have fought tirelessly to ensure that we never again have to go through what I did in 2013.”

Ms Ewart’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said:

“This has been a long and difficult journey for our client. The Court has now formally ruled that the current law breaches our client’s human rights.

“This is a hugely significant ruling in our clients’ campaign against the discriminatory and archaic laws that have denied the rights of many.

“We now look forward to an early hearing on the question of relief, so that this matter can be finalised once and for all.”

Above from left (back row): Linda Kavanagh, Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC spokesperson, Steph Hanlon, Choice and Equality Network, Bulelani Mfaco, of the  Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI) and front row, from left: Mara Clarke, Abortion Support Network (ASN) and Danielle Roberts, Alliance for Choice Belfast

This afternoon.

Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin 2.

Pro-choice activists held a media conference to release details of this Saturday’s 8th Annual March for Choice, including this year’s theme: No One Left Behind.

March For Choice (Abortion Rights Campaign)

Earlier: Meanwhile, Opposite Holles Street

This afternoon.

Dublin City Centre.

The organisers of the Rally for Life march in Dublin estimate that around 10,000 people are taking part in the event.

Pro-life campaigners have marched from the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square to the Customs House, where a rally is being held this afternoon.

Many of those taking part in today’s rally are calling for another referendum on abortion.

Thousands turn out at Rally for Life march in Dublin (RTÉ)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews


Leaked documents show how YouTube created a blacklist for search terms related to last year’s abortion referendum.

[US-based] Project Veritas has obtained a youtube-blacklist-large-upload from an insider at YouTube which appears to show the manipulation of political content in an Irish election.

The document entitled, “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” seems to show a series of blacklisted terms by YouTube.

These terms include phrases that are directly related to the referendum that occurred in May of 2018 to repeal the 8th Amendment in Ireland.

In the run-up to the vote, Google publicly announced that it had suspended all advertising connected to the referendum as part of an effort to protect “election integrity.”

Said Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe:

“On Monday Project Veritas released a viral investigation that raised questions of Google’s interference in American elections.  This new document shows their subsidiary, YouTube, appeared to have attempted to influence elections in Ireland.”

A YouTube spokesperson said:

“… In the midst of the Irish referendum on abortion, our systems brought authoritative content to the top of our search results for abortion-related queries. This happened for both pro-choice and pro-life queries, there was no distinction.”

Leaked You Tube Doc Appears To Show Election Interference (Project Veritas)

Meanwhile…

Capt Evan Cullen, president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association

Yesterday.

Capt Evan Cullen, president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection to discuss bogus self employment.

Further to this…

Tim O’Brien, in The Irish Times, reports:

Some women pilots [working as self-employed contractors] in Irish-registered airlines are being told they have a choice: terminate their pregnancy or terminate their employment, the president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) has claimed.

…Capt Cullen told the Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection that many pilots were afraid to speak up.

He said women pilots were being told not to get pregnant, and that women pilots who present as pregnant were told: “you have a choice, you terminate your employment or you terminate your pregnancy”.

Women pilots told ‘terminate your pregnancy or employment’ (Tim O’Brien, The Irish Times)

Watch back the Oireachtas committee meeting here

Previously: Couriers: The Untold Story Of The Biggest Heist In Irish Tax History (Martin McMahon, Broadsheet, February 23, 2018)

Couriers Part 2 (Martin McMahon, Broadsheet, February 26, 2018)

 

From top: Belfast, London, Glasgow and the Project Arts Centre, Dublin

A year on from Repeal.

Shining a light on the UK Government’s “inaction on reforming Northern Ireland’s abortion law”.

Via Amnesty International Ireland

A giant heart – part of an Amnesty collaboration with Irish artist Maser, who re-worked his ‘Repeal the 8th’ artwork to say ‘Now for Northern Ireland’ – was projected onto the Northern Ireland Office in Westminster, The Mac building in Belfast, the Mary Barbour statue in Glasgow, and the Project Art Centre in Dublin – where the original repeal mural was painted…

Maser sez:

“By consciously making the Repeal artwork copyright free, the public were empowered to take ownership of it, I was a messenger watching from the side lines. With the people’s fierce collective energy, the artwork built huge momentum and spread across the state

Our friends in the north are now on their journey to revoke their outdated abortion laws. I am here to show my alliance, I am your defender.”

Amnesty Ireland International

Last night: Together Again

‘Now for Northern Ireland’ projections across UK and Ireland put spotlight on strict abortion ban, one year since Ireland’s vote to repeal (Amnesty)

The lopsided vote suggests a veto could be easily overcome. Ivey spokeswoman Lori Jhons said in a statement after the vote that “the governor intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill that passed.”

Alabama Senate passes ban on abortion, with few exceptions (AP)

Meanwhile….

Crowds celebrating the result of the abortion referendum in Dublin Castle last year

It’s almost a year since the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

It is clear that some of those who opposed the introduction of legal abortion services believe this decision can be reversed, and have brought their battle to the board of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).

Breda O’Brien believes the board of the ICGP is “afraid of democracy” because it has not listened to the concerns of a small number of members who are vehemently opposed to the principle of abortion services being provided within general practice (“GPs are ignoring democracy on abortion issues”, Opinion & Analysis, March 30th).

It is important these views are listened to and the ICGP has done so extensively.

These members – some 500 – believe general practice is not the place to provide terminations. Your columnist notes the UK model of standalone clinics.

Let us look at the facts.

The Irish College of General Practitioners has over 3,600 members, of which some 500 have said they wish the IGCP to debate and vote on the provision of terminations being provided in general practice.

Over 300 GPs are now providing abortion services and have signed State contracts to do so. Over 500 have completed training in the provision of termination of pregnancy services. No GP who does not wish to provide such a service has been asked to do so.

The Government’s approach is that the contract is provided on an “opt in” basis and there is no change to existing General Medical Service arrangements.

The ICGP board, on legal advice, cannot hold an EGM on motions which it cannot adopt as ICGP policy. However, the ICGP is facilitating the debate of this issue at its AGM in May, via an extended deadline for motions through the normal route, ie its faculties.

There is no fee to attend the AGM of the ICGP. It is free for registered members.

On December 2nd, 2018, the ICGP facilitated a debate on termination of pregnancy at a general meeting which was characterised by a walkout and personalised attacks on the board members. The meeting in Malahide was in addition to an extensive online consultation process, six regional meetings and a full debate at a specially convened ICGP meeting last October which included faculty representatives.

The board of the ICGP acts according to the constitution of the organisation and company law. These rules do not contain any remit on conscientious objection. However, representations in this regard were made to the Medical Council on behalf of members. In light of the ministerial commitment to provide service and give effect to the referendum result, the ICGP engaged with the Department of Health.

The provision of a 24-hour helpline and an opt-in clause was secured to ensure those wishing to provide could, and those who did not wish to were not required to do so. The actions of the ICGP have been solely responsive to events outside the organisation.

All decisions of the board of the ICGP were unanimous and have been based on solid ethical principles, ie the safety and care of the patient, which lies at the heart of general practice. This was the rationale for producing robust evidence-based clinical guidance, which is one of the core responsibilities of a specialist body.

We wish that those who oppose the provision of abortion services to women who need them would recognise the outcome of last year’s referendum, and accept that this is outside the ICGP’s control and or responsibility.

The ICGP is not a political organisation. It is the academic body for general practice whose remit is training, education, research and standards.

The board has acted in good faith, reflected the wishes of the electorate, put the needs of patients to the fore, designed excellent clinical guidance, were respectful to our members’ different views and demonstrated leadership.

The ICGP is not the instigator, promotor or provider of abortions in Ireland, nor is it the means of subverting the wishes of the population as expressed in the referendum.

Those who oppose the introduction of abortion in Ireland have a perfectly valid ethical position.

However, they do not have the right to dictate to others how they should act, be they either colleagues or patients.

No amount of repetition – and there has been a great deal – will alter the fact that the board of the ICGP has acted in an honourable and balanced manner. As a board, we take full responsibility for what we have done and stand behind our actions.

The board of the ICGP will continue to represent the needs of general practice which is under very serious threat from deficiencies in funding and manpower with resulting overload.

The democratic decisions of the Irish people will also be respected.

Dr John O’Brien,
President,

Dr John Gillman,
Chairman,

Mr Fintan Foy,
Chief Executive Officer,

Irish College of General Practitioners,
Lincoln Place,
Dublin 2.

Irish College of General Practitioners and democracy (The Irish Times letters page)

Rollingnews

From top: John Connors; Tweet from ‘Doctors for Choice’

Terry McMahon writes:

I Had the honour of hosting an extraordinary post-show Q&A with actor and writer John Connors in Clontarf last night.

The passionately articulate audience discussed class, ethnicity, gender, and mental and physical disability. It was remarkable to have uninhibited conversations about such taboo subjects.

They also touched on a subject that nobody is allowed to question anymore. Abortion.

There are many reasons why a woman or couple might feel the need for an abortion but this is also a subject that caused such rage-fueled hatred in so many egalitarian activists that they wanted John wiped off the face of the earth. Or, at the very least, stripped of his thoughts, his voice and his livelihood.

Later we talked about the avalanche of celebrities who fell over each other to be front row centre on the abortion train. They couldn’t get enough of it. Horrific stories of young girls impregnated by their scumbag fathers and rape victims left in crisis by their scumbag rapists were the only conversations allowed to be had.

Anyone who questioned if ethnicity, gender or mental or physical disability would be grounds for termination were labelled right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.

No doubt some will insist that it’s done. Get over it. Move on.

Then Doctors For Choice post this remarkable tweet (above). And the questions came back.

Proudly using the word “guesstimate,” they describe 900 terminations in two months. Men and women who have sworn to protect life consider 900 terminations a “privelege” (sic).

And Government leaders who let women die of cervical cancer consider themselves feminist icons. And 450 lives per month are considered products for pharmaceutical companies.

At the time, John Connors spoke up. His questions have been answered. Ethnicity, gender and physical or mental health are perfectly normal grounds for abortion. As is anything else.

We even refuse to administer pain relief to late-term aborted babies on the grounds that it may, “shame the mother.”

Where are the celebrities who brayed so loudly and so proudly back then? The ones who labelled anybody who spoke up as right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.

Where are these wailing accusors? These heart-on-the-sleeve liberals. These egalitarian activists. These suddenly silent hypocrites.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet