Tag Archives: Abortion

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

Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth

The Liberal is reporting a protest is set to take place outside Our Lady Of Lourdes hospital today “in efforts to stop two abortions that are believed to be taking place”.

Meanwhile…

This morning in The Times Ireland edition.

Ellen Coyne reports:

Anti-abortion activists who tried to coax a woman into a fake scan appointment also tried to report a separate termination to gardaí last week, The Times can reveal.

Activists working for the Good Counsel Network, which runs a rogue crisis pregnancy agency in Dublin, turned up at Drogheda garda station claiming to have knowledge about an abortion performed at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital. They called for the doctors involved to be investigated and possibly prosecuted.

…Eamonn Murphy, an anti-abortion activist who works for the Woman’s Centre and the Good Counsel Network, was at Drogheda garda station last week trying to report a crime after “an innocent person was killed”.

He tried to tell a garda that the doctor involved should face a 14-year prison sentence for being involved in an “unlawful killing”.

Anti-abortion activists ‘getting details’ of cases (The Times Ireland)

Yesterday: ‘The Guy Started Screaming Down The Phone At Her’

9, Berkeley Street, Inns Quay, Dublin 7

In September 2016.

Ellen Coyne and Catherine Sanz, of The Times Ireland edition, went undercover at an ‘abortion advice’ centre on Berkeley Street, Inns Quay, Dublin 7.

The journalists secretly recorded a counsellor at the clinic advising that abortions cause breast cancer and can turn women into child abusers.

Further to this…

Previously: Behind The Blue Door

 The Coombe Woman and Infants University Hospital in Dublin

This morning.

Further to claims in the Dáil that a woman was refused a termination in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin…

“The board have said that they have no role in the ruling of the case – I do think we need to have the full facts.

But I do also know that we must acknowledge it is a new service, there are new challenges of course around a service such as this.

But the service is significantly better than what was there on the 31st of December, when women had to leave the country, leave the jurisdiction to travel abroad for a termination of pregnancy – or they had to purchase medication illegally online.

Nineteen maternity hospital have signed up to provide this service, so obviously there are challenges at the beginning of this service – but as I said I’m not going to rush to any judgement.”

Junior minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor on Newstalk this morning

Update: Minister calls for ‘full facts’ to be known after woman is denied abortion at Dublin hospital (Irish Examiner)

Last night: “Her Words To Me Were: ‘This Is Not What I Voted For’”

Rollingnews

Ah.

Meanwhile

Close to one thousand people marched through Drogheda [yesterday] to protest at proposals to change the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

The hospital, which is one of the busiest acute hospitals in the country, was bought by the HSE from the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 1997.

It is understood that staff were asked which of three other names it should be called: Drogheda University Hospital, Drogheda Regional Hospital or Drogheda General Hospital.

Hundreds march to protest name change of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital (Independent.ie)

Tonight.

Following a vote in the Seanad, The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bil will now go to President Higgins to sign into law having passed all stages of the Oireachtas.

Deirdre Duffy, Campaign Manager for Together for Yes, said:

“This is a truly momentous day for women in Ireland. Today, the final hurdle for Together for Yes has been crossed.

For the first time ever since the establishment of the state, women who become pregnant in Ireland are now safe and protected by compassionate legislation.

The harm and suffering the Eighth has caused for women is now only a memory and as a nation we will ensure that women are never treated this way again in Ireland.

2018 will be recognised as a turning point in how this country respects and treats women.

This year has unleashed a new women’s movement across the generations who are now determined to overcome all remaining challenges to achieve real and lasting gender equality.”

Abortion legislation passes all stages of Oireachtas (RTÉ)

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)

Rollingnews

From top: Minister for Health Simon Harris flanked by Master of Holles Street Rhona Mahoney (left) and Master of the Rotunda Fergal Malone during the Eight Amendment referendum campaign last May; Terry McMahon

Have to ask this question. Not trying to offend anyone, though precedent suggests this will likely inspire that strange rage that seems to be our national language these days. Or that other reaction. Silence. Followed by censorship. But, in good conscience, it has to be asked.

Abortion, for a woman, or a couple, is a profoundly private decision. In advance of the ‘Repeal’ referendum, many people were asked to put their personal morality aside and use democracy to give those women or couples the right to make that profound decision in their own country, rather than be shamed into travelling overseas to terminate.

Repeal proved to be a divisive campaign. As both sides carved out their positions decades of inarticulate rage also spewed out. New names were given to old words and language lost all meaning. Anything that didn’t fit into the new narrative was cut out like a gangrene memory.

Yet, when it came to the ballot box, people believed their final decision was done for noble reasons. Both sides believed they were doing the right thing.

And the democratic outcome decided that the right to life of the unborn was no longer constitutionally equal to the right to life of the mother.

At least it was now clear. Easy to comprehend. Regardless of which way you voted. Regardless of the moral complexities.

But now we have politicians defining the consequence of that outcome. We are trusting them with the most profound issue of our time, even if many of them have a verifiable history of implementing policies that have destroyed people’s lives.

We are allowing them to define the reality of abortion, even if many of these men and women have already proven themselves to be psychopaths.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if our nation’s remarkable hospital staff, many of whom are legitimate conscientious objectors, should be forced to participate in abortions. Or face being struck off.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if race, gender, and physical or mental disability are valid reasons for late-term abortion. Including the termination of someone with Downs Syndrome.

These trusted politicians are now questioning if we should refuse to administer pain relief to the soon-to-be-terminated foetus on the grounds that it is just another attempt to shame the mother. Yes, you read that correctly.

Have we really gone from legitimately attempting to address the stigma of shaming a woman seeking an abortion by repealing the 8th, to insisting that a late-term foetus, who feels everything with every nerve ending in its body, should be granted no pain relief in case we cause that mother some shame?

No matter which side you were on, is there anyone out there – literally anyone – who supports the assertion that granting pain relief to an unborn child in advance of its painful death is somehow wrong?

Amid all the noise of Repeal, is this really what we voted ‘Yes’ for? If it’s not, then why in hell are we all so suddenly silent?

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

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Rollingnews

 

Nine TDs want to amend the bill to make it a criminal offence for a woman not to have a burial or a cremation after an abortion, including in cases where they had taken abortion pills prescribed by a GP at home.

The TDs who backed the proposal are: Mattie McGrath, Michael Lowry, Michael Healy-Rae, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Collins, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish and Carol Nolan.

TDs want women to have aborted foetuses buried (TEllen Coyne, The Times Ireland Edition)

Rollingnews