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Abortion Discussion, Part the Fourth

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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    We'll see. It didn't work out great with the last mother and baby homes report.

    Meanwhile in Colombia, abortion has been decriminalised up to 24 weeks.

    Judges on Colombia’s constitutional court voted on Monday to decriminalise abortion until 24 weeks of gestation, the court said in a statement, in a victory for abortion rights groups which sued to have the procedure removed from the penal code.

    The decision adds Colombia to a list of Latin American countries that have recently liberalised abortion access, including Mexico and Ecuador.

    Abortion was partially legalised in Colombia under a 2006 court decision which allowed it only in cases of rape, fatal foetal deformity and health of the woman, without any time limits.

    Under Monday’s ruling, backed by five of nine judges, women will not be prosecuted for seeking abortions up to 24 weeks of gestation, after which the procedure will only be allowed under the original three conditions.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,381 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    Viva Colombia! Ireland should cop on about their regime. 12 weeks ffs...



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    One in seven providers of abortion care in the Republic has experienced a verbal threat or attack related to their work, according to research that highlights psychological challenges for health staff involved.

    After more liberal abortion legislation was implemented in January 2019, there was, quite rightly, a focus on the patient experience, says Prof Mary Higgins, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the National Maternity Hospital and associate professor at University College Dublin. But she was one of a research team who also wanted to find out what it was like for the clinicians.

    The majority, like herself, grew up and trained in this country where abortion was not legal and they never thought they would be providing abortion care, she says. “Then suddenly you are providing it within a couple of months.”

    A study, led by PhD student Brendan Dempsey and published in the Contraception journal last year, found 15 per cent of providers who answered the questionnaire had experienced a verbal threat or attack related to their abortion work (compared to 51 per cent in the US). People who work in hospitals had a higher rate of stigma. In the case of an early medical abortion at community level, Higgins says, a woman being treated is one of many patients attending a GP.

    She takes the medication home to have the abortion in her own home, so not only is the GP anonymous to a certain extent as a provider but “they don’t see the process that is involved”.

    Whereas if you take the other extreme of abortion care, says Higgins, looking after somebody who is at 20 weeks’ gestation of a much wanted baby, that turns out to have a fatal abnormality, is a very different scenario for clinicians. First, “you have to go through the process of due diligence – does this meet the criteria? – which can take a couple of weeks, as you need genetic testing and ultrasounds”.

    Then the woman is coming in for a medical termination. “You are giving her the tablet and she is labouring. You are seeing her pain and distress – both emotional and physical – and you’re trying to take away both of them by giving her support and analgesia.

    “Then you see the baby being born, which, if it has internal abnormalities, will look perfect and that has been shown to be very difficult for staff.”

    What is coming out of the research is the value for staff of being able to talk about this and having good support and teamwork.

    “Our psychiatrists put it wonderfully,” says Higgins. “One of the greatest bonds is between the mother and the child . . . What we are being asked to do in abortion care is to breach that bond and do something that is very uncomfortable.”

    People who provide that care are still willing to do it, she says, but: “They need the space to talk about how difficult it is.”

    Surely it's the experiences of GPs we should be hearing about here, they are literally the front line of our system.

    No doubt it was easier for certain consultants here to wash their hands of the problem and have their FFA patients go to the UK



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,085 ✭✭✭✭ Loafing Oaf


    Re the terms of reference for the review, I doubt it'll matter much at the end of the day. The final decision is a political one (and has likely already been made, in broad outline), and IMO the review process is largely there to give Donnelly and the government cover for the changes to the abortion regime they have decided in advance they wish to make.

    And seemingly underscoring this


    Legislation allowing for safe access zones for abortion services will make up part of an 18-month plan for women's health to be launched by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on Tuesday.

    seemingly entirely separately from the abortion law review process



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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,945 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    According to todays online headlines issue of the Irish Times [UK Government will "intervene directly" to ensure abortion services are available in North], Brandon Lewis said regulations were being prepared which would give London the necessary powers..... That's as much as the I/T item reveals. I'm unable, due to the I/T blocking any lifting of its property, to provide a link to the article but that won't stop people from using the net to look for the item above on the I/T site.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato



    Edited to add my comment:

    It's good for the women of NI that the Westminster government will do this (if they indeed do) but they shouldn't have to. It's yet more proof that Stormont is just a joke of a parliament really, where religious dogmatism and hatred still has a great sway, where they can't be relied upon to do anything, and where it's far easier to obstruct and block an initiative than it is to get anything useful done.

    Post edited by Hotblack Desiato on


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Please make a submission on the abortion legislation review. Closing date is close of business on Friday April 1st.

    My submission is below

    ...................

    Q3(a). To what extent do you agree that the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 has achieved what it set out to do?

    Answer

    Strongly Disagree


    Q3(b). Please provide detail / evidence to support your answer

    3200 character(s) maximum

    Almost 90% of GPs and half of maternity hospitals are refusing to provide abortion services.

    The 3 day wait is a needless and medically unnecessary barrier to accessing abortion, particularly for those who must travel due to their local GPs and hospitals not participating. It creates needless additional difficulties in relation to travel, cost, employment, and childcare.

    The interpretation by doctors of the 12 week calculation is incorrect - it should be up to 12 weeks 6 days not 12 weeks 0 days, i.e. any date less than 13 weeks is 12 weeks.

    In practice there are huge barriers in place once a pregnancy is, or is suspected to be, over 10 weeks. Severe difficulties arise where a pregnancy is close to 12 weeks but a dating scan is requested which may delay the practitioner's decision until after 12 weeks, thus denying a woman her legal right to an abortion within 12 weeks under Irish law.

    There are also many documented cases of fatal foetal abnormality which have been refused abortion in Ireland and the women concerned have been forced to travel to the UK to receive the care they should have received in Ireland.


    Q4(a). Are there parts of the Act which, in your opinion, have not operated well?

    Answer

    Yes

    Q4(b). If yes, please let us know which section(s) of the Act, and details of the issue(s) it is causing.

    Please provide detail / evidence to support your answer.

    Section 7. The review has been delayed. It should have been completed within 3 years of the commencement of the Act i.e. by 1/1/2022.

    Section 11. Many documented cases of "fatal but not fatal enough" abnormalities where the foetus has no real prospect of survival but nonetheless an abortion under S.11 has been refused.

    Section 12.1. The 12 weeks is counted as 12 weeks since last menstrual period. This is nonsense as (a) the date of LMP may not be known accurately (b) some women do not menstruate yet remain fertile (c) fertilization typically cannot occur until 2 weeks post LMP therefore our 12 week abortion law is in reality a 10 week abortion law.

    Section 12.3. The 3 day wait is medically unneccessary, causes issues in relation to travel, employment, and childcare, and is intended to shame women. Irish law does not accept that a woman is capable of making a considered decision about her health before consulting her GP.

    Section 12.4. A woman may be denied her right to legal abortion due to delays caused by a doctor's request for a dating scan or due to other factors outside of the woman's control.

    Section 12.5. Dating a pregnancy for the purposes of abortion from typically two weeks before fertilization occurred is nonsensical and diminishes the rights of women to legal abortion in Ireland at what is still a very early stage of pregnancy.

    Section 22.3. In practice this provision is unenforceable and a woman in such a situation has no means to vindicate her rights under the law to a legal abortion. She has no option other than to seek a consultation with another practitioner, incurring further difficulties in relation to travel, cost, employment, and childcare, and may then find herself beyond the 12 week limit.

    Section 23.1. Criminalizing abortion on the basis of an arbitrary time limit, where the duration of the pregnancy may be impossible to know accurately, understandably leads to an abundance of caution among practitioners, thus denying women their legal right to an abortion under Irish law. Abortion should be decriminalised.

    Section 23.5. The penalty of imprisonment up to 14 years, and/or an unlimited fine, is grossly excessive and causes practitioners to deny women their legal right to an abortion under Irish law. Abortion should be decriminalised. If it is not decriminalised, the grossly excessive penalties must be greatly reduced.

    Section 26. Half of maternity hospitals are refusing to provide abortion services despite this section obliging them to do so. No action has been taken or penalty imposed against the hospitals denying Irish women their right to an abortion under Irish law.


    Q6. Are there any further comments you would like to make on the operation of the legislation?

    Please provide detail / evidence to support your answer, where possible.

    With 89% of GPs ahd half of maternity hospitals still refusing to participate, the legislation is not operating well and is denying Irish women their legal rights. Many Irish women are still having to travel to the UK for an abortion despite falling within the very restrictive parameters of the legislation here.


    Q7. Do you have any comments about services provided under the Act?

    Please provide detail / evidence to support your answer, where possible.

    3200 character(s) maximum

    Even within the very restrictive parameters set out in this Act for legal abortion, it is a failure with 89% of GPs not participating and half of maternity hospitals refusing, without penalty, to provide abortion services despite being legally required to do so. The scope of the legislation must be extended to fully vindicate the rights of Irish woman to a legal abortion in Ireland without being forced to travel to another country. The restrictive time limit must be increased, and abortion rights extended to non-fatal foetal abnormalities.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,381 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    Reminder - today's the final day to submit comments to the EU.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Just to cut off the "Teh EU forced us to have abortions" angle before it can begin, the Irish government is hosting the consultation on an EU website for the sake of convenience - any public body in the EU can use that site for surveys - but the review isn't anything to do with the EU.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato



    Five foetuses have been discovered in a Washington home reportedly belonging to an anti-abortion activist, police say.

    Lauren Handy, 28, is a leader of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) group and describes herself as a "Catholic anarchist".

    Police said they were investigating a "potential bio-hazard material" when the foetuses were found.

    Ms Handy was separately indicted on Wednesday for forcing entry into an abortion clinic in 2020.

    She was photographed outside the address on Wednesday as investigators removed items from the basement in bags and coolers.

    She told local news outlet WUSA9 that "people would freak out when they heard" what was inside the containers being seized.




  • Registered Users Posts: 10,945 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    The report about the break-in at the abortion clinic mentioned theft from the clinic. I wont make any conjectures on what allegedly found to be missing from the clinic after the break-in.



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,085 ✭✭✭✭ Loafing Oaf


    They singled out Ms O’Neill and Sinn Fein Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew for criticism.

    Let him that hath understanding observe the name of the beast: for it is the name of a woman; and her name is Michelle.




  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Clowns. But yeah we keep being told that oppostion to abortion is not driven by religion...



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,149 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road



    and that is correct for many individuals.

    for some absolutely religion will be the driving force and that's their perogative.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    It's not just "for some". There were two main No campaigns in 2018, both of them pro-conservative-Catholic organisations. I don't know why some people find it necessary to deny observable facts. If religion is your motivating force, fine, but own it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,149 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road




    who's denying what?

    it is possible to share or part share views of a group with a religious motive but not have that religious motive yourself.

    if anyone is denying anything it is individuals who can't deal with the fact that people outside particular boxes can have different views to those in the box, or share views with those in a box but have those views for different reasons.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭ volchitsa


    The problem is that the supposed non religious justification for forced pregnancy doesn’t hold up to much examination, leading to suspicions that the person is either lying about their true motivation, which is possible given the church’s multiple self-owns that have removed its own credibility.

    of course there’s another possible explanation too, namely that plain old fashioned misogyny is behind non religious objections to abortion. Personally I think that’s a large part of it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,149 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road



    again for some it will be that but for plenty of others they would be just as against that as they would be in favour of more restrictive abortion legislation.


    of course the non-religious reasoning for more restrictive abortion legislation stands up to examination, very much so in fact, you disagree with those justifications obviously but that is rather different, to me anyway.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,381 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    again for some it will be that but for plenty of hardly any others they would be just as against that as they would be in favour of more restrictive abortion legislation.

    If at most 1/3 of Ireland voted against repealing the eighth, how many of those were motivated by non-religious objections? Neither of us have that data, but I think we'd agree that the dominant objection was religion based. So, your 'plenty of' is really hardly any real people. What would you project? Half of those that voted against repealing the eighth had non-religious objections? My guess is at most 10% of those, so whatever 10% of 1/3 is... 3% of the population?

    Far from plenty. And remember, anecdotes are not data.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    This is a bit reductive. You can have a variety of reasons for adopting an ethical position, and they may draw on both religious and non-religious foundations. I think an attempt to divide voters into those who adopt a position for religious reasons and those who adopt a position for non-religious reasons is not very realistic, to be honest.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,330 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl



    While we can't make definitive statements about the ethics and motivations of any individual, it seems obvious that the larger part of lobbying and funding on the pro-life side was closely allied to religious conservatism, both locally and from abroad. It seems reasonable that those who voted pro-life followed such arguments. On the other hand, I'm not aware of any major pro-life lobbying or promotion coming from non-religious groups. So while it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there is a significant non-religiously inspired pro-life sentiment out there, I'm not aware of any strong evidence to support such a suggestion.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    The reasons wealthy and powerful people have for funding political movements and the reasons why those movements find traction with ordinary voters may be quite different - just look at the Brexit movement, for example.

    Let's assume - I don't think it's that big a leap - that the pro-life movement in Ireland does attract significant funding from wealthy American integralist conservative Catholics. In this very forum, people regularly make the point that many, and perhaps most, of the people who identify as Catholic in Ireland are not really Catholic - they are cultural Catholics, or nominal Catholics; they never go to church or practice their faith in other respects, and identify as Catholic only because they were baptised/they don't want to upset Mummy/etc. You can't believe that, and at the same time believe that you need to be a conservative integralist Catholic to support a pro-life position, given the degree of support that pro-life positions attract in Ireland.

    So. The thirty-sixth amendment was carried by a 66:34 vote. Do we think that the 34% were all conservative integralist Catholics, with similar outlooks to those who funded the movement from the US? I doubt this, myself.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I'd agree with all of that, and I'd just add one comment. The (presumably nonreligious) arguments and considerations that found traction with your atheist vegan friends could equally have found traction with your theist friends. Just because you're a theist doesn't mean that you won't find nontheist arguments appealing.

    The pro-life movement, or a significant part oif it, very conspicuously positions itself in the secular, enlightenment world of human rights, and draws on the same natural law concepts and expressions that also give rise to to, e.g, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention, etc. The very "right to life" language they employ points to this just as strongly as the "right to choose" language employed by the pro-choice movement. You can see this as a deceptive ploy to dress the conservative Catholic wolf in secular sheep's clothing, but I think that's a bit simplistic. There is no reason why religiously-minded people shouldn't find the concepts and values of natural or inherent human rights very appealing, and lots of them clearly do when it comes to things like, e.g., opposing the death penalty or advocating for refugees. They're not being insincere when they invoke the language of human rights in that context, and there's no reason to think they are being insincere when they invoke it in relation to abortion.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,032 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    I have no argument with that.

    Yes, absolutely the belief that life must be protected is not necessarily rooted in religion, nor does believing in a deity (deities) preclude one from having a non-religious foundation for ethical beliefs.

    It's rather like many LGBTQ+ activists were opposed to the idea of Marriage Equality for reasons that had nothing to do with homophobia. They tended to keep quiet during the referendum as it's a very nuanced position which unless one is very familiar with Queer Culture is hard to explain but was nonetheless compelling.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,381 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    Not sure I agree. Were there any religion-oriented organizations advocating FOR the repeal of the Eighth? The anti-abortion types (at least in the US) are usually fervent Evangeliban, and could give a fig about the European Convention on Human Rights. That might involve supporting rights for oppressed POC which they're absolutely against.

    Now, the RCC is much better at hiding their motivations - thousands of years of practice after all - but its opposition to abortion is purely political theater; remember it's arisen only as women became more powerful in society. Used to be they claimed life began at birth, for example.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    The Catholic church as always been opposed to abortion, right back to the very beginnings of Christianity. It's one of their stances that non-Christian Roman writers remark on, and that they regard as (a) a bit puzzling, and (b) characteristic of Christianity.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,330 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


     Were there any religion-oriented organizations advocating FOR the repeal of the Eighth?

    There were a few, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholics_for_Choice and anecdotally, a friend who is a CofI vicar blogged about being pro-choice. In one sense, pro-life versus pro-choice is something of a false dichotomy, as it is entirely possible to sympathise strongly with both positions and make a choice based on which which you consider more important.

    The Catholic church as always been opposed to abortion, right back to the very beginnings of Christianity. It's one of their stances that non-Christian Roman writers remark on, and that they regard as (a) a bit puzzling, and (b) characteristic of Christianity.

    Quite so. I think on that basis, in a society that has been predominantly Christian for many generations it seems reasonable to suppose that a large amount of pro-life sentiment is due to long term Christian influence, even among those who no longer consider themselves overtly religious. I'd consider this an artifact of cultural Catholicism.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,491 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Whatever about opposition to abortion, the current basis for their absolutism in opposing it - the belief that life begins at conception - is quite recent for the RCC (19th century).


    I know many atheist vegans who really really struggled with the whole issue.

    I thought we were back to the days of "baby-atein' atheists" there for a second.

    But really, what has being vegan or not got to do with it?



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