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20 years of inaction on abortion access - now a tragedy
ireland / britain | gender | feature Friday November 16, 2012 23:11 by Workers Solidarity Movement - WSM
MARCH ON SATURDAY FROM PARNELL SQUARE AT 4.00 pm
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."All the ruling parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Greens and the Labour party - have prevaricated, delayed, avoided and ignored the issue. This has led to two further court cases where girls in care had to go to the courts in order to be allowed to travel to another country. It has led to court cases over ownership of eggs used in IVF. It has, no doubt, led to the forced pregnancies of immigrant women who cannot travel. It has led to women ordering abortion drugs over the Internet. It has forced women to travel under stressful conditions at great expense to other countries, including women who are carrying foetuses who will not survive birth. And now the delay in carrying out a termination has led to the death of a women. Whether it’s due to cowardice or callousness, all the ruling parties have shown little concern for the misery they inflict on women's lives.
20 years of inaction on abortion access - now a tragedy
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."
For years we were aware that the failure of successive governments to legislate could result in a tragedy but when the first reports started to circulate that this had happened we were horrified. How did we come to this point?
One of our members, Aileen O' Carroll, whose political work since she was a teenager has been dominated by the hypocrisy around abortion in Ireland talked to us about how this affected her.
"I remember when I was 13 trying to work out my view on abortion. Abortion was in the news, a pro-life referendum had just been passed. Most of my friends’ mothers had campaigned on the ‘pro-life’ side. Abortion was in the classrooms. I remember a teacher, walking between our desks, saying 'abortion, abortion', rolling the rrrs, making the word stretch. "Aborrrrrrtion - even the word is ugly". I remember sitting there, too afraid to question.Fast forward thirty years and we are in the tragic situation of today's news. A situation brought about through hypocrisy and inaction, through politicians sacrificing the rights of women on the alter of the next election. Although the X-case court judgement and three referendums allowed for abortion under restricted circumstances, no laws have been drafted which would allow hospitals to carry out those abortions. The courts and the people have already spoken and said that where there is a risk to the life of the mother, including the risk of suicide, women should be able to obtain abortions in Ireland. Every party except Sinn Fein and the ULA have been in power and every party has refused to legislate, forever putting the issue off to expert groups.
Savita died in a Galway hopital. According to a press release from Galway Pro-Choice
"Savita was first admitted to the hospital on October 21st complaining of severe back pain. Her doctor initially told her that she would be fine, but she refused to go home. It became clear that her waters had broken, and she was having a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). She was told that the foetus had no chance of survival, and it would all be over within a few hours.
Cowardice or callousness?All the ruling parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Greens and the Labour party - have prevaricated, delayed, avoided and ignored the issue. This has led to two further court cases where girls in care had to go to the courts in order to be allowed to travel to another country. It has led to court cases over ownership of eggs used in IVF. It has, no doubt, led to the forced pregnancies of immigrant women who cannot travel. It has led to women ordering abortion drugs over the Internet. It has forced women to travel under stressful conditions at great expense to other countries, including women who are carrying foetuses who will not survive birth. And now the delay in carrying out a termination has led to the death of a women. Whether it’s due to cowardice or callousness, all the ruling parties have shown little concern for the misery they inflict on women's lives.
Perhaps twenty years ago implementation of the X-case judgement would have been a step in the right direction. Not now, not anymore. The X-case judgement is not a right to choose. 13 women travel each day from Ireland for a foreign abortion in another country. Those numbers won't change very much if the X-case is written into law. Most pregnancies don't threaten the life of the mother, most women aren't suicidal when pregnant. This is why we need to be clear in saying, the X-case is not enough. It is not up to us to say who can have an abortion and who can't, who will be forced to remain pregnant and who won't, who will be forced to travel and who won't. If we believe that women faced with a crisis pregnancy are the best people to decide, then we have to support a woman's right to choose, we have to say, the X-case is not enough.
As this tragic news emerged tonight demonstrations were being called by a range of pro-choice organisations and networks. There will be a picket of the Dail tomorrow after work called by the ULA and a march on Saturday at 4pm from Parnell Square. We hope to see you there.
MARCH ON SATURDAY FROM PARNELL SQUARE AT 4pm
Wed 22 Feb, 08:34
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Somewhere in the region of 70 people attended an emergency protest yesterday outside Belfast City Hall.
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Dublin protests in solidarity with the Belfast mother charged with supplying the abortion pill to he... 18:35 Thu 23 Jul 0 comments
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Ireland - Migrant X refused an abortion and forced to have a C-section 21:31 Thu 21 Aug 0 comments
This is as complete a story about what happened to 'Migrant X' that we are aware of. Migrant X is a young migrant women who it emerged was refused an abortion by the Irish state despite apparently meeting the grounds of the X-case legislation and instead forced to carry the pregnancy and agree to a C-section. The pregnanacy itself was the result of rape, Migrant X attempted suicide after being refused the abortion and later went on a hunger and thirst strike. Once what had happened to her became known there were sizeable pro-choice solidarity demonstrations called across Ireland and at Irish embassies overseas. We have been given information that the migrant woman at the centre of the current forced pregnancy was 'committed' to a psychiatric hospital following her initial request for termination. It’s already known that the initial request was made when she was 8 weeks pregnant. It was this crucial period in which she was being held incommunicado which led directly to the Caesarian option being possible to impose as an ‘alternative’ to allowing her to access the abortion she had asked for.
Poor turnout in Ireland for Vigil for 'Life' despite massive spending 03:18 Wed 23 Jan 0 comments
Saturday in Dublin saw another desperate attempt by the anti-choice coalition to prevent legislation coming to the Dail (Irish parliament) to allow abortion where a women's life is under threat. Despite months of preparation, a spend that must have ran close to a million euro, and the parish priest at every mass in the country telling catholics they should attend, less that 15,000 turned up. Compared to the 150,000 women who have had to travel to obtain abortions in the last ecades this amounts to almost nothing, a handful of bigots bussed in from all over the country. [Italiano]
20 years on X case to finally be legislated 17:40 Wed 19 Dec 0 comments
This afternoon the government had finally confirmed that it is to legislate for abortion access under the conditions of the X-case. While we can welcome the failure of the anti-choice movement to stop this announcement, despite frantically spending a quarter of a million dollars euro in ten days, this is so little so late that it is almost meaningless.
Irish parliament blockaded by 100s after 3rd refusal in 6 months to legislate for X-case 22:59 Fri 30 Nov 0 comments
Last night saw hundreds of pro-choice activists blockade the gates of the Dáil after TD's once more refused to pass X-case legislation. Twenty years after the X-case and one month after the death of Savita Halappanavar women in Ireland were told once more that the politicians had not had enough time. The political parties, in particular the Labour Party, were once more engaged in a cynical game of playing politics - a game that leaves pregnant women at continued risk in Irish hospitals.
Countering the Irish "Pro-Life" Rally - Pro-Choice Counter Demonstration 19:50 Thu 07 Jul 0 comments
WSM and other pro-choice activists took place in a counter demonstration to the “Rally for Life” which took place in Dublin on Sunday 3 July 2011. The anti-abortion rally was organised by Youth Defence (including “The Life Institute”(previously Mother & Campaign – an outgrowth of Youth Defense) and Belfast Based "Precious Life". Approximately 2,000 people seem to have attended. The pro-choice counter demonstration, organised at short notice was still attended by around 300 people. Many attending the anti-abortion rally came from all over Ireland and even included a small group of migrants from the Philippines. There were some tense exchanges between pro-choice campaigners and anti-abortion marchers.
NI Women sold out by Labour on equal access to abortion 21:22 Tue 02 Dec 0 comments
The hopes of women living in Northen Ireland for the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act were dashed when an amendment to extend the act brought before Westminster on 22nd October was not debated because of a procedural motion put by Harriet Harman, leader of the House of Commons and the Minister for Women and supported by many New Labour ‘feminist’ MPsmore >>
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Over 1000 early medical abortion pills seized by Irish customs Sep 28 0 comments
Over 1,000 abortion pills were seized last year at customs, a figure that represents double the amount seized the two years previous. This fact is very much in contradiction with the myth of the anti-choice side that there is no demand for abortion in Ireland.
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Child-care in Ireland is so expensive because it is so undervalued. Only through care-workers’ collective withdrawal of labour will those who rely on us realise how vital our work is.
Anarchist in Ireland on todays Marriage equality referendum May 22 1 comments
Southern Ireland is voting toward on whether to allow Marriage equality, that is to extend marriage to couples of the same gender. Young migrants have flocked back to the country in the last 24 hours to help insure the referendum passes. If it does Ireland will be the first country in the work to introduce Marriage equality by popular referendum yet it was one of the last countries in Europe to decriminalise sex between men. In that sense the referendum is about much more than the issue of Marriage but it also a battle against the 'old Ireland' of clerical control and an authoritarian state that sought to control all aspects of the lives of those under its control. The articles that follow are some of the many that the Workers Solidarity Movement have published, for the most part via their Facebook page.
Despite spending in the region of a million euro and getting the backing of the catholic church its now clear that the anti-choice extremists of Youth Defence & the Pro Life Campaign were resoundingly defeated when the Dail finally voted though legislation implementing the X-Case judgment of 21 years ago. This time last year they were confident that they already had enough Fine Gael TD's on board to block the required legislation but they reckoned against the wave of public anger that followed the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was denied a potentially life saving abortion in a Galway hospital.more >>
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