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.”
Tag Archives: reproduction
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
The PSNI said it is examining the open letter, signed by more than 100 people, which was published by Alliance for Choice.
The signatories provided their name and location for the document – which lists people who have taken the abortion pill or helped women here to procure it.
The 1861 Offences against the Person Act, which carries a life sentence, makes it illegal to procure drugs to cause an abortion.
Abortion is currently illegal in Northern Ireland unless a woman’s life is at risk or there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to her health.
A PSNI spokeswoman on Sunday confirmed that police are “assessing” the contents of the letter.
‘How will I find a thousand euro in two weeks?” The mother of three looked at me with a mixture of panic and despair. “We have Communion coming up and absolutely no money as it is . . .”
This woman’s face stays with me. It is the face of many Irish women as they learn the cost of an abortion in England. It is a face injured by the silent bite of austerity, while already coping with a job loss or mortgage default and now an unwanted pregnancy.
Affluent Irish women have always had abortions. They continue to exercise their right to travel. However, for many Irish women the right to travel now counts for very little. It is the feasibility of travel that is important and this is substantially determined by the availability of money.
Desperation, always a feature of Irish abortion, is now the dominant emotion felt by many women. Ask yourself how would you access €1,000 in less than two weeks without telling anyone the reason you needed the money?
The complete absence of any of the voices of the more than 150,000 Irish women who have had abortions was a striking feature of the Oireachtas hearings last month into proposed abortion legislation as a result of the European Court of Human Rights A, B and C ruling. The lack of a public voice obscures the fact that abortion is not a rare experience for Irish women.
I often wonder how many GPs actually do referrals for abortion,
legally they can, but how many actually do, or do they push women towards positive options or the IFPA, but is it know that over 1/3 of women who travel to the UK contact BPAS themselves with out going through services here first.
Last month a poll was released via the Sunday times which showed that 74% of those who took part stated that if a person is pregant from rape they should the right to an abortion, that is an abortion here in Ireland.
And then we had the interview of Micheál Martin leader of Fine Fáil by http://www.thejournal.ie/ in which he states;
He also said that he would not favour widening legislation or changing the Constitution to include cases where a woman has become pregnant as a result of rape.
“Rape is a particularly difficult one. We do have options today that we didn’t have before in terms of the morning after pill and so forth,” he said.
Which says to me just how disconnected he and his party are on the reality of this issue.
With X Case legislation still not even a published bill after 21 years,
and with all the scaremongering about ‘floodgates’ and women lying about being suicidal to obtain an abortion, I would fear as to what would be said if we were currently trying to legislate for the right to an abortion if a person has been raped.
Would women be told well prove you were raped and to wait for their rapist to be prosecuted, when currently from when a person is charged with rape it could be 18months before the first day in court. I worry that there is a vested interest in trying to make any abortion legislation to be a series of hoops to hard to navigate and so well will continue to have 12 women a day traveling to the U.K.
The comments also show up the ignorance about the ‘morning after pill’ which I really wish we could stop calling it that as the new ones can be taken up to 120 hours later, time to start calling it emergency contraceptive, but even then it is not 100%.
Even if a person reports the rape and sees a dr with in 72 hours or even 120 hours emergency contraceptives are not 100% effective and they can still end up pregnant from that rape.
Which assumes they can get to see a medical professional who will prescribe it, that they can take it as there are women from whom it won’t be prescribed due to medical conditions and there is a barrier due to cost or having to travel or child care, or they could be in an abusive relationship were it’s just not possible for them to get away.
And that is with out going into those who go into shock and denial after they have been raped.
So the existence of emergency contraceptives does not solve the issue of people becoming pregnant after they have been raped.
I guess after all this time I am still staggered by the lack of knowledge out there about Emergency Contraceptives & contraceptives in general. I honestly think that our TDs should know better then the lack of knowledge Micheál Martin has displayed.
6 February 1992: X and her parents traveled to England and arrangements were made for an abortion to take place in London. On the same date, the Attorney General obtained an interim injunction stopping the teenager and her parents from leaving the country or arranging the termination of the pregnancy. Once they were informed of the injunction the family returned to Ireland.
The AG’s order was based on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, more specifically on the 1983 amendment that puts the right of the unborn child’s right to life on an equal footing of the mother’s right to life.
Whelen has since said that he had no choice but to seek the injunction as he had a duty to uphold the Constitution. He told an RTÉ documentary that his problem was “stark” after being contacted by the DPP.
This weeks has been filled so far with the abuses of women and children by the state and the church, be it children in industrial schools, children abused by priests, children put up for adoption who can not never find out their parent’s names, women put into laundries and used as slave labour or women driven abroad to have children and to have them adopted.
We have had 90 year of being our own country and honestly it seems to be little more then a litany of abusing and ignoring those who need compassion and care.
We still have people who are being mistreated in asylum holding places, old people’s homes, children’s care homes, and those in care due to disabilities.
In all my born days, despite the struggles watching the Dáil proceedings today, for the first time I find myself wanting to live in a different country.
I was reading this, this morning and those 3 words jumped out at me. I am pretty certain I have never seen those 3 words in that configuration before. Here is where they came from and the context.
When, this week, you read a headline saying, Ireland to legalise abortion; or see a statement from the Catholic church saying “Irish abortion reform is a ‘licence to kill innocent babies’”, you should treat it with great scepticism. For a start, nobody has suggested changing the law, nobody’s legalising anything, and innocent babies have more to fear, as ever, from the Catholic church, than from any Irish abortion providers.
Nobody has suggested, even out of respect for the recently killed Savita Halappanavar, the slightest modification in the law, so that an abortion might be permitted in a case where the mother would probably die without it, and the foetus would probably die regardless. There are no new ideas, and no concessions to anybody – all that’s been mooted is the codification of a supreme court ruling, so that the abortion provision they do have is no longer just precedent, it’s actually enshrined in law.
The rest of the the piece written by https://twitter.com/zoesqwilliams explains the legal and historical back drop to the legal situation on abortion. If you like the writers of Jezebel need to brush up on the facts, please do take the time to read the rest of it.
So this morning with my coffee I find myself wondering what Irish abortion providers would look like, ok so say with a wave of a magic wand we have legislation, even the most conservative legislation along the lines with which the majority of people agree. That is abortion to protect the life and health of women including cases of rape/incest and terminations for fatal fetal complication. What happens next?
Well medical policies and procedures would have to be introduced along with guidelines and best practices and insurance policies amended as well, which is a massive amount of paper work.
Currently even with all the Drs we train in this country none of them are trained to carry the procedures needed.
This point gets made time and time again by Drs for choice and Medical Students for Choice. So even when such legislation is passed there will be a long waiting time before a woman would get the timely treatment she needed and most likely will end up with the HSE paying for her to travel and have the procedure in the UK. Like they had to do in the case of Miss D.
So would we see private clinics being set up as Irish abortion providers?
This may cause a whole new get of issues. Part of the Ruling by the EU court of Human Rights in the ABC cases was that MS C right to privacy was breached and with Ireland being such a small place I would worry that such places would be heavily picketed as the anti choice lobbists have been known to picket family planning clinics here and take pictures of people going into them. It will still be that those who can afford to go privately will have more choice and privacy and may still choose to leave the country.
Irish abortion providers, I would prefer if they were just part of the general OB/GYM services in this country, but even these services suffer from the policies and practices which have them as an add on service and not part of holistic health care for women.
Even when we have less restriction on abortion in this country there will be still so much work to be done on ensuring women and transmen have the health care they need.
“‘Pro-life’ change had little impact
In this section »
PAUL CULLEN Health Correspondent
UK route: At least 143,000 women have travelled from Ireland to have abortions in the UK since the Constitution was amended in 1983 to recognise the right to life of the unborn.
The British authorities maintain a comprehensive set of figures on abortion, which includes a classification by country of residence. In a typical year, women who give their address as the Republic of Ireland account for two-thirds of non-resident women having an abortion.
The figures show that the 1983 “pro-life” amendment had no visible impact on the rising trend of Irish women travelling to Britain for an abortion.
Their numbers had begun increasing significantly in the 1970s and this trend continued through almost three succeeding decades.
The figure for Irish abortions in England and Wales peaked in 2001 at 6,625 before beginning a slow but steady decline right up to 2011, when 4,149 abortions were carried out on Irish-resident women.
The Irish Times has compiled the figures from data provided by the British department of health and office of statistics, and from archived articles of this newspaper.
Figures could not be obtained for four years in the 1980s and 1990s, but an average was used to calculate the overall estimate.
The British figures are subject to a number of caveats. They do not include Irish women who travelled for an abortion but gave a UK address. They could include women of other nationalities who gave an Irish address. They do not include abortions carried out on Irish women in Scotland, which does not compile statistics for non-residents.
In addition, more Irish women have begun travelling to other European countries for an abortion, though their number is likely to be small compared to the UK figures.
Of the abortions carried out on Irish-resident women last year, 37 involved girls aged under 16, and 111 related to 16-17-year-olds. Some 1,404 related to women in their 20s and 1,801 to women in their 30s. Some 257 were performed on women in their 40s.
Studies show that Irish women who travel to the UK tend to have abortions later in their pregnancies than British women availing of local services.
In 1970, just 261 Irish women were reported to have travelled to Britain for an abortion, but the following year this more than doubled to 577. By 1973, the number had reached 1,200 and, by the end of the decade, 3,000.
We’ve been exporting abortion for far too long.