Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Leo Varadkar announces abortion referendum

Options
135678

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    volchitsa wrote: »
    So how many of the general population who aren't necessarily aware of this history of duplicity will be able to see through it?

    The Citizen's Assembly seemed to get it.

    I had always thought that simply deleting the 8th would be the thing to do, but the Assembly's plan to actively replace it with a clause stating that the Oireachteas can legislate is even better.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,679 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach


    The disassociate between the effects of abortion and its idealisation of touchstone rights was encapsulated by the cheering which occurred when this was announced by a group of liberal grads at a conference I attended. Given the number of these fresh idealists who might not have been around if the pros had their way a generation before demonstrates the irony of the situation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    Manach wrote: »
    Given the number of these fresh idealists who might not have been around if the pros had their way a generation before demonstrates the irony of the situation.

    What percentage of university graduates do you imagine their mothers would have aborted if they didn't have to travel to England to do it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    volchitsa wrote: »
    Hmm. TBF there are some huge assumptions in your version of events too, Peregrinus - eg based on a single term in a possibly inaccurate newspaper report you assume that she had previous history of serious mental health issues. From the reporting I have read of incidents where I have had direct knowledge of what happened (unrelated to abortion) I'd be very dubious about that. It's perfectly possible that the "treating psychiatrist" was simply the one her GP sent her to, when she first requested an abortion.
    I'm not relying on a newspaper account; I'm looking at the report published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which (SFAIK) is what all the newspaper reports and subsequent comment is based on. It's not complete, but it's probably the best source we have.

    But I take your point that in some respects I may be adding two and two together to get five. I'm not asserting that the girl had "previous history of serious mental health issues"; just that she was already receiving mental health care when she discovered she was pregnant. Your suggest that the "treating adolescent psychiatrist" may have been one to whom she was referred by her GP when she first sought an abortion. I don't think so; he's described as a her treating psychiatrist, which I think means she was seeing him for treatment and not merely for assessment. But I could be wrong. And, I stress, even if she was receiving psychiatric treatment we don't know what condition she had been diagnosed with and we certainly don't know that her condition would have been described as "serious".
    volchitsa wrote: »
    You've also missed out that we've been told that the mother brought her to Dublin, believing the process for an abortion was underway. I haven't heard any plausible explanation for why the parents weren't asked for their consent to admit her in the first place, since forced admission is only allowed as a last resort. Clearly there's a lot we don't know, I agree, but IMO the queries over how she ended up sectioned are so major that it seems to me that my short cut is closer to what we know than your assumption of previous mental illness.
    I'm not missing that point; it's because of that point that we know the sectioning application was made, and an interim order was given, without any notice to the girl or her family. Like you, I haven't heard any plausible explanation for this, but we can't assume there was none. The psychiatrist must have persuaded the HSE, and both of them must have persuaded the court, that there was a critical urgency that required things to be done this way.

    But, despite these points, I think you and I are broadly in agreement. Right-to-choose aside, making abortion conditional on a risk of suicide is a bad policy precisely because the possibility of mental disorder, and therefore sectioning, always raises its head. The legislation requires that the risk of suicide be identified by three(!) medical practitioners and, while suicide is by no means always an outcome of mental illness, that possibility is always going to occur to mental practitioners asked to assess a suicide risk. They're doctors; of course they're going to consider the possibility of mental illness.

    The point was made in the X case that the girl wasn't mentally ill, but the point was also made that, as regards the constitutional provisions concerning abortion, it doesn't matter whether a risk of suicide is or is not the outcome of a mental illness; all that matters is whether it is "real and substantial". So it's entirely possible that an application for an abortion under the POLDP Act will also result in sectioning under the MH Act. And, in fact, if sectioning is going to happen, its likely to happen first - i.e. you'll be sectioned before you know whether you qualify for an abortion.

    In other words, we can't write off this sectioning as a stuff-up by a stupid psychiatrist and/or a stupid district judge. This is a systemic failure.

    And another thought; we all know that if this woman had been 24 instead of 14 she would simply have gone to Britain and had her abortion there, and we need never have known about it. She didn't because she's 14, and in the UK doctors will not administer an abortion on demand to a 14-year old, cash-in-hand, no questions asked. Had she gone to the UK, they would still have wanted to talk to her parents (or at least know why they couldn't), they would still have wanted to talk to her medical advisers, if I'm right in thinking that she was already receiving treatment for a mental health condition they'd have wanted to look into that, etc, etc. 14-year olds just don't have the agency that adults do in this matter.

    Which makes the point that the POLDP process is in theory available to all, but in practice it's only going to be availed of by those who can't easily go to the UK - teenagers, prisoners, the already very sick, etc. It's not a coincidence that both the X case and this recent incidence both involved teenagers, and future cases (if the POLDP remains in force) will also involve people who are in some way disadvantaged, vulnerable, not independent agents. These are the people upon whom this train-wreck of a system is being foisted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    In other words, we can't write off this sectioning as a stuff-up by a stupid psychiatrist and/or a stupid district judge.

    Oh, I don't think psychiatrist #1 was stupid or made a mistake, I think they knew exactly what they were doing - defending the right to life of an "unborn".

    And the fact that psychiatrist #2 and judge #2 released the girl with no hesitation tells me that THEY knew exactly what psychiatrist #1 was doing, too.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Oh, I don't think psychiatrist #1 was stupid or made a mistake, I think they knew exactly what they were doing - defending the right to life of an "unborn".

    And the fact that psychiatrist #2 and judge #2 released the girl with no hesitation tells me that THEY knew exactly what psychiatrist #1 was doing, too.
    I see no reason to think either of those things.

    And I also suggest that thinking them seeks to focus the blame on fallible (or oppressive) individuals, which distracts attention from the real problem, which is the system that it set up so that this happens.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I see no reason to think either of those things.

    How often is someone presenting as suicidal sectioned? Without their parent knowing in advance? This is extremely odd.

    How often does a 2nd opinion say "Definitely nothing at all wrong with this person that the other person sectioned, release them at once?"

    Psychiatrist #2 knew something which made them happy to flatly contradict psychiatrist #1 (although the GAL was careful to let on that the language allowed that the girl had miraculously gotten better).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 910 ✭✭✭BlinkingLights


    The people most at risk of this process are anyone in the care of the state. That typically includes women in prison, teenagers who may be wards of court or in state care, people who rely on state care and also probably refugees seeking asylum.

    The other group we forget is people who are here on work permits who do not have access to the UK or EU. Ireland operates an entirely separate visa regime to the UK and Schengen area. It's perfectly possible to be here without any rights to seek treatment in the UK or EU.

    Even people in good jobs could be in this position. Imagine you're say an American doing a normal job here. You're long term resident so no longer have American insurance to go home for treatment and are not covered in the EU or UK.

    Also add Brexit and tightening NHS budgets and general growing political distain for providing services to non UK residents.

    At best, the woman ends up with a messy and very expensive trip home to seek an abortion possibly without insurance.

    Ireland has been social dumping to the UK for decades on this issue. It's both hypocritical and highly unfair on the UK too. I'm actually surprised the UK has been so tolerant of what is basically Ireland refusing to have a rational discussion about abortion and assuming that the UK will pick up the pieces of our totally insane political decision.


  • Registered Users Posts: 508 ✭✭✭Sesame


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    3. He was of the view, we are told, that the suicidal impulse was a consequence of her mental illness, and that it would not be resolved by a termination. In other words, although the pregnancy might have made her sicker, a termination wasn’t going to make her well again.

    Its highly likely that it was not a "he", but a "she" that was the first psychiatrist that had the girl committed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Well, one possible difference was that the patient expressed suicidal ideation to psychiatrist #1 (in the hope that it would secure access to an abortion) but repudiated it to psychiatrists #2 and #3 (in the hope that this would facilitate her discharge).

    The fact of the matter is that we don't know what passed when the girl was assessed by any of the psychiatrists. We don't know whether she presented differently to them, leading to different assessments, or she presented similarly, but they still made different assessments because they formed different professional assessments. (Which happens all the time in medical practice; that's why people seek second opinions.)

    For the girl to be detained, psychiatrist #1 must have expressed the view that she was suffering from a mental disorder that required treatment. And I see nothing at all to suggest that that wasn't his genuine view, and that he in fact pretended to hold that view in order to impose his views about abortion on the girl. (Particularly when, if anything, being sectioned made it more likely that she would be found to qualify for an abortion under Irish law. Clearly, if she were sectioned on the basis of suicidal ideation, the threat to her life must have been real and substantial.)

    Never attribute to conspiracy that which doesn't require a conspiracy to explain it. And, even more, never attribute to conspiracy something that isn't even explained by the conspiracy. And I think this falls into that category.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 910 ✭✭✭BlinkingLights


    That's the one thing that's surprising me. I'm speaking just from my own experience here but the most vociferous anti abortion people I am encountering are middle aged women.(by middle aged I mean typically more late 40s and older).

    I haven't found a lot of guys against it at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,884 ✭✭✭Christy42


    How often is someone presenting as suicidal sectioned? Whithout their parent knowing in advance? THis is extremely odd.

    How often does a 2nd opinion say "Definitley nothing at all wrong with this person that the other person sectioned, release them at once?"

    Psychiatrist #2 knew something which made them happy to flatly contradict psychiatrist #1 (although the GAL was careful to let on that the labnguage allowed that the girl had miraculously gotten better).

    The end result of which will be that any woman with the money will still travel to England whether or not they are entitled to have an abortion here on mental health grounds. If they think for a second that the psychiatrist will rule based on their moral/religious code they won't take the risk.

    Indeed in this scenario it does not even require the psychiatrist to have acted in bad faith. Merely that there is the perception they might have. And I would say the woman would be right to travel just in case the perception is correct and they are unlucky with the choice of psychiatrist.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 910 ✭✭✭BlinkingLights


    You're also seeing an expectation that a psychiatrist will play this game.

    If you present to a psychiatrist saying you're suicidal, they gave a duty of care to ensure that you receive help and if they don't they could be facing legal action or malpractice action.

    This is the problem though. You cannot assume that a psychiatrist will or can just assume that you're just trying to play the system to access abortion services. They can only deal with what's presented to them and mental illness is not a very scientific diagnosis. It's not like doing a scan and diagnosing heart disease. It's all about discussing symptoms and observation.

    The current situation is actually risky unfair on psychiatrists too. They've been put in an awful position.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Never attribute to conspiracy that which doesn't require a conspiracy to explain it.

    We already know that hundreds of Irish psychiatrists declared before the POLDP was passed that they would never under any circumstances find that an abortion was justified, law or no law.

    What is such a psychiatrist to do with a patient who presents saying that she will kill herself if she is not allowed an abortion?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 910 ✭✭✭BlinkingLights


    This is the problem though. We've just passed the buck from the Oireachtas to an already totally over burdened and under resourced group of health professionals.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,056 ✭✭✭secondrowgal


    I may be a little confused... if the 8th is completely repealed, my understanding is that it is then up to the Oireachtas to legislate. That means the government. Are we seriously trusting the government to come up with anything remotely resembling a satisfactory bill? And I am not having a go at them, what I mean is that there are 150-odd people, with diverging opinions on a very contentious issue. How are they going to agree on this?

    And then there is all this bunkum about not having to vote on "matters of conscience", as if everything to that one has an opinion on is not a matter of conscience.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭pilly


    I may be a little confused... if the 8th is completely repealed, my understanding is that it is then up to the Oireachtas to legislate. That means the government. Are we seriously trusting the government to come up with anything remotely resembling a satisfactory bill? And I am not having a go at them, what I mean is that there are 150-odd people, with diverging opinions on a very contentious issue. How are they going to agree on this?


    So who would you expect to come up with it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,056 ✭✭✭secondrowgal


    pilly wrote: »
    So who would you expect to come up with it?

    That's the issue, I don't know. For sure, it's the government's job. It's just a mess no matter what and I worry that it will be kicked down the road again and again as they debate the wording. Look how long it's taken to get to this stage.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭pilly


    That's the issue, I don't know. For sure, it's the government's job. It's just a mess no matter what and I worry that it will be kicked down the road again and again as they debate the wording. Look how long it's taken to get to this stage.

    Agreed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    pilly wrote: »
    So who would you expect to come up with it?

    The whole point of the Citizen's Assembly was to produce something for the politicians to hide behind.

    But it is possible that the Assembly's recommendations will be too liberal for our FG/FF government to swallow (or the next one, which will be FF/FG).


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 4,535 ✭✭✭Topgear on Dave


    I may be a little confused... if the 8th is completely repealed, my understanding is that it is then up to the Oireachtas to legislate. That means the government. Are we seriously trusting the government to come up with anything remotely resembling a satisfactory bill? And I am not having a go at them, what I mean is that there are 150-odd people, with diverging opinions on a very contentious issue. How are they going to agree on this?

    And then there is all this bunkum about not having to vote on "matters of conscience", as if everything to that one has an opinion on is not a matter of conscience.

    I do wonder how it will play out, if the 8th is repealed then people will have to support their TDs in bringing in the legislation they want. (VOTE for them)


    From what I can see of the repeal campaign on twitter a large element of the repeal campaign is fairly left wing.

    I mean the government could promise to make it free safe & legal tomorrow morning and a lot of repeal folks would still go out of their way to vote against FG. :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,116 ✭✭✭✭Loafing Oaf


    I may be a little confused... if the 8th is completely repealed, my understanding is that it is then up to the Oireachtas to legislate. That means the government. Are we seriously trusting the government to come up with anything remotely resembling a satisfactory bill?

    Assuming we're going for a straight repeal referendum, the legislation will be published before the referendum, or will have to be if the government wants it to pass. So voters will be able to take that into account when making their decision.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    For sure, it's the government's job.
    Not necessarily, because the people voted for the 8th amendment, so only the people can decide to empower the govt. to legislate for abortion.

    Its easy to just say "only they govt. should be legislating for abortion; its not a matter for the constitution" but the fact is, the people have previously said the opposite. Only the people can overturn that status quo. The reason something like that would be in the Constitution is specifically so that incoming governments can't suddenly decide to make something illegal which was perfectly legal under the previous govt. (now the opposition). Or vice versa.

    And the situation is complicated by the fact that the legislature and the government are not fully separate in Ireland; the govt. normally controls any Dail vote. So the people have tied the hands of the govt. on this issue, and only the people can untie them. The only reason we have the current abortion legislation is because some SC judges made a very "creative" interpretation of the Constitution at the time of the X-case, which the politicians were eventually obliged to interpret as the legislation.

    But whenever you have a new referendum on the subject, some people will vote No because they are pro-life, and they feel the referendum proposal doesn't properly reflect their view. And others will vote No because they are pro-choice and they feel it doesn't properly reflect their view.

    IMO there are two possible solutions to all this;
    1) Repeal the 8th and give any future govt/Dail a free hand to legislate on the issue by inserting a new article into the Constitution saying that the unborn do not have an automatic right to life, and that abortion is a matter for the Oireactas to legislate on.

    2) Retain Constitutional control over future govt/Dail, but amend the Constitution to suit a new generation of people. The tricky part here is to draft the right wording, such that a simple Yes/No answer can be given in the ballot box. It would require some creative thinking in advance, perhaps by holding a preferendum in advance of, or instead of, the actual referendum. That might seem overly complicated, but in principle its similar to the proportional representation (ie the single transferrable vote) that we already use for counting votes in elections. And we like to consider that's a much better system than the "first past the post" system as used in UK elections.

    BTW I don't agree that referendums in general are costly and expensive. Its possible to have multiple separate issues decided on the same day. We should have a Referendum Day every two years or so IMO, just to sort out any outstanding issues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,116 ✭✭✭✭Loafing Oaf


    recedite wrote: »
    And others will vote No because they are pro-choice and they feel it doesn't properly reflect their view.

    Why would any pro-choice person vote no to a proposal to liberalise abortion law, even if they felt it didn't go far enough?:confused:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Why would any pro-choice person vote no to a proposal to liberalise abortion law, even if they felt it didn't go far enough?confused.png
    Don't ask me why, but its human nature ;)
    You don't have to look any further than this very thread for examples...
    oscarBravo wrote: »
    This. I'm blue in the face saying it. I'll be campaigning for nothing short of full repeal.
    seamus wrote: »
    If they don't heed this advice, then I will be voting No.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Why would any pro-choice person vote no to a proposal to liberalise abortion law, even if they felt it didn't go far enough?:confused:

    Because craven compromises tend to have unintended consequences.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,116 ✭✭✭✭Loafing Oaf


    recedite wrote: »
    Don't ask me why, but its human nature ;)
    You don't have to look any further than this very thread for examples...

    I can't believe anything more than a handful of ill-advised people would do that. If the referendum is defeated the issue will not be addressed again in any form for another ten years at the very least.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 427 ✭✭Boggy Turf


    JupiterKid wrote: »
    I'm not looking forward to the campaigns on both sides in the run up to the referendum. It will get ugly.

    To be fair it tends to get ugly from the Anti Abortion side because they make up stuff and use stupid rhetoric they heard from Iona or some crazy person. The Pro side tend to speak the truth even when unpalatable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,294 ✭✭✭✭Mint Sauce


    JupiterKid wrote: »
    I'm not looking forward to the campaigns on both sides in the run up to the referendum. It will get ugly.

    I thought it was already ugly/messy. I remember a talk from youth defence a few years ago of which I had the serious mispleasure of being at. Granted they used the Sunday sermon to give their presentation, but never before did I want to leave a church more.

    Not saying I would want, or approve of abortion all cases, but never would I (hopefully) think less
    of anyone who went for one, but I do hope the government give this a balanced debate, and least offer us the option to give it in cases of fetal abnormalities, or in cases of rape/incest.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    I may be a little confused... if the 8th is completely repealed, my understanding is that it is then up to the Oireachtas to legislate. That means the government. Are we seriously trusting the government to come up with anything remotely resembling a satisfactory bill? And I am not having a go at them, what I mean is that there are 150-odd people, with diverging opinions on a very contentious issue. How are they going to agree on this?

    And then there is all this bunkum about not having to vote on "matters of conscience", as if everything to that one has an opinion on is not a matter of conscience.

    It's certainly not going to be anywhere near liberal enough as long as Leo Varadkar wields the party whip. He's already come out publicly and said that he will not support the Citizens' Assembly recommendation, which is definitely what the majority of the young women fronting and driving the huge Repeal campaign regard as the only acceptable outcome.

    It's a tricky one to know how to react to really. On the one hand, one can view it as Michael Collins viewed the treaty - not the result you want, but a stepping stone towards that result. On the other hand, if the Dail legislates, you can bet that it will probably be decades before another government has the balls to touch the issue, refusing to do so on the grounds that "we've only just dealt with that, it's already been decided".

    So should the repeal campaigners agitate for abortion on demand up to a certain term limit and actively oppose anything less that they are offered by the government, or accept the most likely massively restricted version Leo & co will go for, on the grounds that it's a step in the right direction?


Advertisement