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Abortion Discussion, Part the Fourth

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,946 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    I cant understand what Donnelly meant/means by his not being currently satisfied with "the ease of access that is required". Is he unhappy with the access to abortion allowed for by law now or the restriction the law still enforces on access to abortion here. If I was OK with abortion but unhappy with the access to abortion allowed for in law, I'd have used the word "allowed" not the word "required".



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


    Probably not expressing himself very well but I took him to mean he's not satisfied that the ease of access to abortion that is required by law under certain conditions is not there in practice.


    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.



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


    Section 7 of the Act states: “The Minister shall, not later than 3 years after the commencement of this section, carry out a review of the operation of this Act.”.

    So, it's a statutory obligation which the Minister must obey; the review cannot commence earlier than three years after the legislation has come into effect; and it's a review of the operation of the legislation, not of the legislation itself.

    There was of course nothing to stop the Minister starting an earlier review, and/or reviewing the Act itself, in distinction to the operation of the Act. But he'd still be obliged tor review the operation of the Act not less than three years after it commenced, because that's a statutory obligation. It is the clear intention of the Oireachtas that there would be review of the operation of the Act, and that there would be at least three years' experience of it so that there would be material to review, and an understanding of the operation of the legislation in at least the medium term. And the Minister is, of course, accountable to the Oireachtas; if he conducted an earlier review which is not the one the Oireachtas told him to conduct, it's unlikely that the Oireachtas would act on that review, or indeed pay much attention to it, until he had also competed the review that they have required him to complete.



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


    the review cannot commence earlier than three years after the legislation has come into effect

    It doesn't say that anywhere.

    A review of legislation is of much lesser worth if it only reviews what the legislation permits, and not what it excludes.



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


    On the timing, you're quite right. The review has to begin not later than three years after commencement; I misread that as not earlier. My bad.

    However, the expectation was always that the review would be conducted at the deadline. The government originally proposed a clause that provided for a review not later than five years after commencement (which is a pretty common period for a statutory review of the operation of legislation) but indicated that it was open to suggestions about what the term should be. In the debate at the Committee stage Louise O'Reilly of SF suggested two years but said she could compromise on two-and-a-half years; Stephen Donnelly suggested two or three years; the Minister said that two years was definitely too soon for a useful review but offered three, and that was what was eventually agreed (without a vote, which is common when Bills are amended in Committee). So I think there would have been a pretty clear understanding on all sides that a review earlier than three years after commencement was not expected.

    As to the scope of the review, it's explicitly a review of the operation of the Act, not of its terms.

    The reason for this is that the Minister is responsible for operating the Act; it's the business of the executive branch of government to carry into effect the laws enacted by the legislature. But he's not responsible for the terms of the Act; those are decided by the Oireachtas. Any member of the Oireachtas can at any time introduce a Bill to amend the terms of Act, or can move for the establishment of an Oireachtas committee to investigate and report on the terms of the Act and on whether amendment is desirable; they don't need a special law allowing them to do so, and they don't need - and, arguably, shouldn't ask - the Minister to do it. Asking the Minister to investigate and report on the terms of the Act would be conceding a part of the Oireachtas's constitutional function to the Minister, which is something that on principle the Oireachtas would be very reluctant to do.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    From the breakingnews.ie article:


    At the moment we have 10 of the 19 hospitals offering a full service.

    What an absolute crock. Same number as when the legislation came into effect. So all of 2019, no improvement...

    And no opportunity to revise the legislation due to the pandering to FF 'political decision' to not review the legislation but just the logistics. So the harassment embodied in the '3 day cooling off period' and the 12 week limit will remain.


    I guess if the Dail got interested, they could always address those two grievous limitations; this would've been an 'easy' opportunity for the government to make those changes.



  • Registered Users Posts: 35,647 ✭✭✭✭ ohnonotgmail


    is the problem with those hospitals not performing abortions down to the legislation or down to the operation of the act?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    The article implies some hospitals are not performing well. Of course, with all HSE communications, they're oblique.


    Ms Luddy said the HSE had made arrangements to visit hospitals which “weren’t performing and that weren’t participating”, but this was halted at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

    So, if you read 'performing' as 'not performing abortions at all,' then the problem is that it's only 10 hospitals. If you read performing as 'doing it poorly/bad scheduling/finding sly ways to prevent abortions and suppressing any complaints registered', it could be worse. It's the HSE, the thing they do best is cover themselves (and even that not too well.)

    Also (again, no numbers), not many GPs are participating. That's particularly sad. Maybe they can be incentivized with money.



  • Registered Users Posts: 35,647 ✭✭✭✭ ohnonotgmail


    right, so that is a problem with the operation of the law not the legislation itself it seems to me. they are doing a review of the operation of the law.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    TBF they're *choosing to review the operation of the law* but not the legislation at this time, because reasons. They could just as well review the law (and answer questions like, "Is there any point to the 3 day cooling off period? How did that impact provision," and "Is the 12 week limitation too restrictive, as it's at odds with the rest of Europe that isn't an RCC run backwater like Poland.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 35,647 ✭✭✭✭ ohnonotgmail


    while that is true I was responding to your point about hospitals not performing abortions.



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


     So the harassment embodied in the '3 day cooling off period' and the 12 week limit will remain.

    Even if these issues are not specifically addressed in the review, as far as I know that does not mean they will not be changed in any subsequent legislation.



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


    That's true Loafing Oaf, and I take Peregrinus's points on board, but the opposition really need to push now to get a commitment to either a review of the legislation itself carried out by the Oireachtas health committee, or a specific Oireachtas committee for this purpose.

    This review would be usefully informed by the outcome of the forthcoming review of the law's operation, especially difficulties with travel and 3 day wait etc, which makes the unnecessary delay in getting that review started all the more maddening.

    Get on with it Donnelly ffs, get the review of operation done and then have an Oireachtas committee address both those issues and the issues with the legislation itself.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    WTF? A "Foetal pain relief bill?!" Sadistic f*ckwits the anti-choice types. Healey's-Rae are just panderers, though it'd be hilarious if someone took them up on their offer. What's a Private Members bill? Just a way to get news coverage?


    https://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/news/i-believe-that-in-my-heart-and-soul-if-i-was-offered-the-size-of-this-room-in-100-notes-i-would-burn-it-to-protect-one-unborn-child-healy-raes-support-bill-for-foetal-pain-relief-prior-to-abortion-41156956.html



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


    They could afford to, Michael is probably the richest TD in the Dail



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    I think that was confirmed sometime ago, worth like 6million Euros. But, there's another thread about those gombeens.


    Does a 'private members bill' matter?



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




  • Registered Users Posts: 10,946 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    I'm not being cynical here when I think they probably hope, as a starter, that some-one demand he/she be given proof that the pain relief drug doesn't have painful side effects on the feotus before a private members bill they suggested be voted on. It seems like a two-step dance routine the promoters of such a bill would hope for, a partner to step out of the wings with such a demand, seeking a rehash of the argument that the feotus has awareness of pain because it reacts to noise and other stimulations.



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


    It's the exact same BS playbook as used by the Irish "pro-life"rs paymasters in the US, just a couple of years behind.

    Expect a "heartbeat bill" in about two years time.

    Unless things drastically change in the Dail, none of them have a hope in hell of passing but that's not really the point for these showboaters, getting their name in the media and social media (oops) and associated with "the cause" is all that matters. It's about their own electoral prospects after all, like everything else the H-Rs do.

    People of Kerry need to wake the f**k up. I suspect once a certain generation dies off the dynasty is f**ked.



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


    the people of kerry are awake, they just have some different priorities to you and me and the dinisty deliver on them and while they continue to deliver they will keep being voted in.

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



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


    I'm not convinced that parish pump politics and political dynasties serve anyone well at this stage. There's a rather mafioso feel to the whole thing with more than one turkey involved.




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


    on a country wide basis i would agree.

    but lets be fair, the local things that effect one on a day to day basis will for some take priority over issues that don't but which may exist country wide.

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



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


    Most of the H-R's wealth comes from public funds contracts. Plenty of questions there but no answers.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,240 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Not a fun time to be pregnant in Poland - where the populist administration there plans to require doctors to report pregnancies, births and miscarriages, allowing bean counters to figure out who might have had abortions. The plan has prompted Polish women to email photos of a range of personal items to the Polish ministry of health, together with messages to the effect that they're not pregnant.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/dec/03/poland-plans-to-set-up-register-of-pregnancies-to-report-miscarriages



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


    Yeah things have been getting incrementally worse in Poland over the last few years. The Abortion Support Network have extended their services to Poland - although our poor legislation means their work in Ireland is by no means done.



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


    A poster on Irish Catholics boards, where I occassionally lurk to monitor thinking in those quarters😛, says "Stephen Donnelly's presentation of the "three-year review" makes it abundantly clear that it is based on the assumption that the aim is to have every abortion which involves travel to Britain take place in Ireland instead."

    I myself suspect this is the drift of Donnelly's thinking, but I didn't see anything specific in his presentation of the review to confirm that. From what I observed he was keeping his cards close to his chest.



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


    I don't see any evidence of that myself - especially with regard to abortions on ground of non-fatal disability. But these are the same people who regarded the "let's do the absolute minimum to implement the X case decision" POLDP Act in 2013 as "slippery slope", "floodgates" etc. and gave the very strong impression that they viewed it as more moral to let women die instead.



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


    Letter in today's IT:


    Sir, – As the doctor appointed by the minister for health in 2018 to advise the HSE on the implementation of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, I share the serious concerns about the forthcoming review of the legislation and its operation expressed by Orla O’Connor and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (“Donnelly is dragging his heels on abortion review”, Opinion & Analysis, December 15th).

    I agree that an independent chair should be appointed without further delay, and critically that the review’s terms of reference must be framed to ensure that if the evidence suggests the need for legislative and policy changes, these can be brought forward.

    I would highlight four areas in particular that require careful attention to ensure that unnecessary systemic barriers are not limiting access to legal abortion services.

    The uneven provision of the service in only 10 of the State’s 19 maternity units needs to be addressed.

    The three-day period waiting period is patronising and unnecessary and should be removed.

    Parents’ concerns about access to termination in cases of foetal abnormality may mandate legislative review to eliminate the need for unnecessary or unreasonable travel abroad to access appropriate care.

    Finally, a hitherto overlooked serious systemic barrier to access is the anomaly in the HSE guidelines which limits the definition of 12 weeks of pregnancy to 84 days from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. In universal medical practice, a woman is 12 weeks pregnant until she is 13 weeks pregnant. Twelve weeks of pregnancy is 90 days, not 84, and this is clear and correctly stated in all other HSE material relating to pregnancy.

    My efforts in late 2018 to ensure that the correct medical definition of 12 weeks was included in the guidelines met with immovable resistance from within the Department of Health.

    This novel definition of 12 weeks of pregnancy should be corrected without further delay. –

    Yours, etc,

    Dr PETER BOYLAN,

    Dublin 6.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,384 ✭✭✭ Igotadose


    ^^

    Just copy/pasted and sent to my TD's, including both Healeys-Rae.



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


    So things are moving a bit. Not someone I'm familiar with but I suppose it doesn't matter who the 'independent chair' is as long as long as they are genuinely independent and competent.



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