Tag Archives: reproduction
We know that our maternity services are dangerously under staffed, we know there are no national polices for screening and there are other national policies which are also lacking. It is not just a case of doctors differ and patients die, it is that depending on where you are in the country, the level of ‘Care’ and the consistency of ‘Care’ varies greatly, even in the same units but from week day to weekend.
But it varies even more so if you are woman who is from a minority in Ireland, this has been born out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011
“This is a link to the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011. Page 10 points out that maternal morbidity (severe maternal medical complications occurring during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period) occurred disproportionately among Traveller women and women of colour.
These women also die during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period in disproportionate amounts to their representation in the Irish population.
There appears to be no work in progress or completed (or suggested, that I’m aware of) to investigate the causes of this (institutional racism is of course an obvious one, as was apparent in the ‘care’ given to Bimbo Onanuga), and thus no attempts underway to tackle this. ”
All of these women died in a 3 year period, while in the ‘Care’ of our ‘world class’ Maternity services. Their deaths have caused by medical mis adventure, or failure in basic care. I do not think they are the only ones, but these are 4 which we have heard about due to their loved ones insisting on an inquest and investigation.
Ireland is more diverse then it was 15 years ago, but it seems that institutional racism is happening in our health services. I had hoped that we would do better when it came to dealing with people of a range of backgrounds who are here to be part of our society and to raise to have their families.
Aims Ireland has been doing it’s best to point out where our maternity services falls short but it seems that again this is a story which the media is not interested in covering.
Yesterday I attended the Irish Council for Civil Liberties media green room for the appearance of Ireland in front of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
In the room were a number of groups which had sent in submissions to the Human Rights committees and who had people over in Geneva. Atheist Ireland, Pavee point, Irish Traveler Movement, Irish Family Planning Association I was there to support the spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign and to live tweet from the room.
And what a room it was I found myself talking to several ladies who were there with the Sourvivors for Symphysiotomy. They were easy to spot, ladies of a certain age, turn out smartly for the day, all walking with that slow waddling gait which denotes what the barbaric procedure of symphysiotomy did to their bodies and which they live with every day. They were polite, cheery, hopeful and most of all determined.
Over the course of the day, given where I was sitting several of the ladies asked were the toilets were, one of the issues they have to live with is that they have to make many trips to the loo, due to the damage done to their bodies. Given the room we were in the nearest toilets were either down stairs or a walk to the other side of the hotel. Both of which were a less then a 3 min stroll for me but for the survivors for symphysiotomy it is a much long trip. Also many of the survivors for symphysiotomy also can’t sit for very long due to the pain and constant discomfort they are in, most of them were not up to stay for the second half of the session.
As I was there to represent the Abortion Rights Campaign I was wearing my badge and when people were introducing themselves they said with org they were with. While I didn’t flinch I found myself worrying that some of the ladies would take it badly that I was there with ARC. But none of them turned a hair and a few of them were very supportive. It was lovely to chat with them, to have them say they are not giving up and we should not give up and to keep fighting; that for too long the Irish state and successive government have done wrong to generations of women in Ireland via the health services and lack there of.
I hope that these brave, brave women get the reparations and justice they are entitled to soon, before we loose more of them.
This is very hard to do it seems. Each county Council is meant to have a list online of candidates who are running and how to contact them. But from talking to friends, it’s spotty at best.
However as I have stated in my other blog it is easier for us to try and communicate with them and to pool resources with each other to ask the questions we think are important and that for me is who is ProChoice. If two candidates are weighing up for me equally this will be the decider, or may rule out someone who other wise I would vote for.
So here is a link to a list of all the candidates I could find who are running in the local elections and how to contact them.
Also that really well funded lobby group had the time and resources to get a bunch of local election candidates to sign thier pledge, so here’s the list of who not to vote for https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B954SdlrGC2lc1dQVkN0cmtLN2s/edit?usp=sharing
I will be doing a round up of the EU Candidates tomorrow.
I have mentioned before that I read this book around the same time I became a teenager.
It is the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in the USA. It made me aware of the countless hours women of many generations worked so hard for to get the right to vote some suffered horribly in vile prisons and some even died.
Women in Ireland did not have the Vote until 1928.
Yep 1928 which means we have not had the right to Vote yet for a 100 years.
Suffragettes including our most famous ones Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington seemed to think once women had the Vote the world would be radically changed as we would be then equal with men and able to change laws and make the world and the country a fairer place.
While I think if those brave ladies were to travel forward in time there are many things they would be pleased with but I do not think that the level social change and ‘equality’ would be something they would be happy with.
Women having the Vote did give us a certain amount of power but as we all know well now it was not the Pancea for all ills the suffragette had hoped it would be. But that does not mean it won’t be as we move forward and with the internet making it easier for us to communicate and collate information, making an informed choice and being informed on whom to vote for has gotten easier.
Every time I get a polling card with my name on it I think of the women who dedicated themselves in the fight to get women the right to Vote and didn’t live to get to Vote themselves. 86 years of having the Vote, I don’t think women have done enough with it. The old boy’s club is still very much the way things are in our houses of parliament. We deserve better.
I am refusing personally to vote for any candidate who is not pro choice to some extent. I will never give a preference to any candidate who considered women like me to have committed murder. I will never give a preference to a any candidate who does not see the need for a separation of church and state esp in our schools and health care system. I will never give a preference to any candidate who does not see the need for a comprehensive universal sex and sexuality education program in our schools.
I have had people ask me why bother, well that just means things stay the way they are. Often less then 55% of the people who are on the electoral roll turn out to vote and we have people who are eligible to vote who are not even registered to do so. If there is a low turn out in an area, which politicians can tell, due to the numbers being low then they don’t feel the need to work so hard on the issues being raised in those areas. You want to make a difference, get active, get informed and vote.
It is a lot easier to do so now, then it was when women first got the vote in 1928, it’s easier now then it was 50 years go even 20 years ago.
I Vote because I believe I have an honour and a duty to do so. I have never failed to do so in the last 21 years and I hope I never do.
May is the month of Mental health awareness and Masturbation*.
The fact that both these causes are being celebrated in May makes me happy as I do believe that they are very much intertwined. Our brains are the biggest sex organs we have, it is not surprising then, that our mental health impacts on our sexual health and our sexual well being impacts on our mental and emotional well being.
I do believe that you the best way to learn to be a good lover is to start with yourself. That masturbation should be mentioned as part of sex and sexuality education. Often people’s sexual hang ups can start with themselves and how masturbation is spoken about or more often not spoken about.
The right to sex and sexuality eduction, contraception, information about safer sex and to not be stigmatized for our sexuality, are important and when we don’t have access to these or when our choices are not respected it has a negative impact.
Today also sees the a launch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation campaign to have such rights placed in part of the goals for 2020.
“We want a world where all women, men and young people have access to the sexual and reproductive health information and services they need; a world in which sexuality is recognised both as a natural and precious aspect of life and as a fundamental right; a world in which choices are fully respected, and where stigma and discrimination have no place. This vision must be realised within a context of sustainable development that seeks to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” said the IPPF, a global network of 152 member associations working in more than 170 countries.
This is also a big issue for those of us who are Queer, LGBT and those who are asexual. When people expect others to live in a certain way or conform and the mainstream narrative and services do not include us it causes stress. Finding counselors, drs, therapists who are alt/queer friendly with whom you can go see and not have to educate them is difficult.
Loving yourself means accepting yourself and finding joy in who you are, be it in self pleasure or sexual expression. I honestly do think that if more people were having daily orgasms they and the world would be in better shape.
Knowledge is power, and we dis empower people when we deny who they are and deny them information, education and access to the services they need.
The Slogan the IPPF are using the slogan “I Decide” which is all about empowerment, to call for sexual and reproductive health and rights to be adopted by the UN and are asking for us all to sign their petition to make it happen. http://www.ippf.org/vision2020 I have signed it I hope you will too.
Wether you do it before or after some stress relieving self loving is up to yourself.
*Yes the title of the blog post was totally intentional, how many of ye ended up with that hymn in your head? “May is the month of Mary, month we all love so well….” how to spot those of a a certain generation who had an irish catholic education. You may confess in the comments :)
The legal situation should be addressed “urgently” to ensure that not only the life but the health of the mother can be protected in pregnancy, the chairman of the review team said.
Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran was asked whether, to ensure another woman did not die in circumstances similar to those in which Savita Halappanavar had died, the law should permit termination of pregnancy where there was a threat to the health and not just to the life of the mother.
He replied: “Yes.”
More women could die in Irish hospitals in a manner similar to Savita Halappanavar unless legal clarity is provided for doctors on when they can intervene to terminate a pregnancy, the HSE report into her death has warned.Savita Halappanavar report: Tragic. Devastating.
Savita Halappanavar (left of photo) with children at Galway’s St Patrick’s day parade.The girl with the diamond smile
Dr Katherine Astbury advised Savita Halappanavar and her husband that a termination might have to be considered after a diagnosis of sepsis was confirmed. Photograph: Eric LukeTermination was denied at first because clinicians believed their ‘hands were tied’
Sabaratnam Arulkatumaran (left), Chairperson, and Dr Philip Crowler, National Director for Quality and Patient Safety, at the publication of the HSE clinical review report into the death of Savita Halappanavar on Thursday. Photograph: Eric LukeSerious gaps remain in what we know about operations in the hospital
“Failing to devise and follow a plan of care for this patient” is a fairly damning indictment of the healthcare professionals who looked after Ms Halappanavar. Photograph: Eric LukeMedical view: Focus on basics of care likely to help save lives
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“There are certain conditions a pregnant mother might have which can suddenly escalate – for example in this particular situation from an infection that is very localised but which spreads to the whole body and is sepsis.
“With severe sepsis the mortality rate is about 40 per cent, and if she goes into septic shock the mortality rate can be as much as 60 per cent. This can be in a very short period of time which means that [if] intervening is at a later stage it is difficult to bring the patient back to normality and to control.
“So what we are saying is the medical community have to discuss with the legal profession if you really want to say the chances of making sure someone survives; this needs discussion.
“We don’t want another death happening because there is some ambiguity about how they interpret the law.”
He also said there were situations where a mother’s health only was threatened but which could escalate rapidly into a situation where her health would be permanently damaged.
“If you have infection, by the time it comes to sepsis and severe sepsis the fallopian tubes might be injured, she can become sub-fertile, she might have [later] an ectopic pregnancy. Life-long she might have pelvic inflammatory disease. I mean, how much are you prepared to take before considering termination of pregnancy?
“At what point is this going to give permanent injury to the woman, or what point might it escalate to death.”
He said too much responsibility was on individual doctors to interpret when it was legal to intervene, leading some to wait until the foetal heart stopped to be sure they were acting within the law.
“Even until the last minute they are waiting for the foetal heart to disappear before the termination would be considered. Some might have done it much earlier … so it seems to be a little bit individual, even within Ireland. So we must have some definitive meanings as to when you think this should be done.”
If Savita had been his patient in the UK she would have been offered a termination on Sunday, October 21st, the day she went into hospital. “If it was my case I would have terminated the pregnancy,” he said.
We need to get the 8th amendment repealed to safe guard women’s health.
IMO branded ‘out of step’ on abortion
April 19, 2013 By Lloyd Mudiwa Leave a Comment
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Photo by Voisin/Phanie / Rex Features
By Lloyd Mudiwa.
The IMO is ‘out of step’ with the majority in Ireland on abortion rights, a campaign group has claimed.
The Abortion Rights Campaign said it was dismayed at the rejection by the Organisation of general motions at its recent AGM in Killarney supporting the regulation of abortion in line with the X Case, or in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.
Citing a Paddy Power/Red C opinion poll in January 2013, Sarah Malone of the Abortion Rights Campaign said: “In rejecting motions 38, 39 and 40, the IMO illustrates how far out of step it is with the majority of Irish people, who believe pregnant people should have the right to an abortion in Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities or in cases of rape or incest.”
Motion 38 called on the IMO to support regulation in relation to the provision of abortion services where there was a “real and substantial risk” to the life of the mother, while motions 39 and 40 sought for the union to call on the Government to legislate for women who become pregnant as a result of a criminal act, that they would be allowed access to legal termination within Ireland.
These motions also called for the provision of abortion services for women who were pregnant with non-viable foetal anomalies who chose to proceed with an abortion.
Janet O’Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Campaign, added: “We commend the work Dr Mary Favier and Dr Mark Murphy of Doctors for Choice are courageously doing, and are disappointed that women living in Ireland who have travelled for an abortion, or who are currently planning to travel, may now feel they cannot be open with their doctors and other healthcare professionals about their reproductive health choices.”
While the IMO declined to respond to the group’s claims, its President Dr Matt Sadlier told RTÉ’s This Week programme after the AGM that the motions passed were just a continuation of the Organisation’s policies passed a number of years ago.
When asked what practical implications passing the motions would have, Dr Sadlier replied: “If we are asked by Government to advise on legislation, then that will inform our position.”
Back in October I linked to the Statement from Galways Prochoice as the news about Savita broke and a statement explaining how they had been approached initially by Savita#s friends now they have a follow up.
For Immediate Release:
Savita inquest proves urgent need for legislative change.
The media reports from Savita’s inquest this week have shocked and saddened many across the country. Hearing the different accounts of how and why Savita died brings home more than ever the urgent need for legal clarity and compassion in cases where a pregnant woman’s health is at risk.
The strength and bravery of Praveen Halapannavar throughout the investigative process have been remarkable. Despite aggressive cross-examination, Praveen’s account of Savita’s final days has been largely vindicated. Savita was denied a termination when she requested one, and this was at least partly because of the legal ban on abortion in Ireland. System failures have been acknowledged, and a midwife in the inquest was brave to admit the truth: that Savita was indeed told that ‘Ireland is a Catholic country’ in an attempt to explain this decision to withhold treatment.
It has been clearly revealed this week that Ireland’s ban on abortion was a leading factor in Savita not receiving the care that she required. Dr. Astbury, the consultant managing Savita’s case, confirmed that termination of pregnancy would have been the intended treatment for Savita’s condition. However, she was forced to deal with a ‘balance of probabilities’ – delaying treatment against her patient’s wishes as Savita got progressively more unwell. It was only after consulting with other senior colleagues after Savita’s health rapidly declined did she feel in a position to provide a termination. However by then it was too late and Savita was moved to ICU with severe sepsis.
This case highlights that a ‘real and substantial risk to the life’ of a woman can develop within a matter of hours. In cases such as these, how can doctors efficiently interpret this law and what constitutes a substantial risk? 40%? 60%? How long must doctors really be expected to wait and consult before providing life saving terminations? The law here in Ireland simply does not protect doctors, or the women living here.
The inquest this week has also revealed some of the system failures at UCHG in Savita’s care. Medical staff failed to follow up the results of a blood test taken on her admission to the hospital, and her vital signs were not monitored closely enough. It was also revealed that there was a delay in sending the blood cultures to the lab for testing and one test for lactate was refused as it was in the wrong bottle. This refusal was not communicated to the ward. Nonetheless, the ban on abortion in Ireland was a crucial cause for delay in what has been revealed this week would have actually been the intended treatment for her condition.
Legislative change is urgently needed to prevent more unnecessary deaths.
Rachel Donnelly of Galway Pro Choice said:
“Dr. Katherine Astbury, Savita’s obstetrician, made clear at the inquest this week that she felt constrained by Irish law from acting to protect Savita’s health. This situation can no longer continue. We must have X Case legislation by the summer, and then we must have a referendum to remove Article 40.3.3 from the Irish Constitution as soon as possible.”
Orlaith Reidy of Galway Pro Choice stated:
“Savita’s case proves beyond any doubt that the lives and the health of women in Ireland are being endangered by the constitutional ban on abortion. This is not about scapegoating individual medical personnel. No doctor should feel that for legal reasons they have to wait until their patient is at death’s door before administering treatment. We need a referendum now to remove the 8th Amendment from our constitution and ensure that no woman ever again has to go through what Savita did.”
For more information please contact Galway Pro Choice:
Tel.: 087 706 0715