Category Archives: Activism and Agitation

If I can’t have My Reproductive Rights, then it’s not My Revolution.

Legislate for X reply from Joan Burton

Herself and no one from her offices responded to my initial email send on the 2nd of November, but responded to the one I send yesterday.

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:17:28

I wish to acknowledge and thank you for your recent email in relation to the tragic and dreadful story of Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year-old dentist who died from septicaemia in NUIG after being refused a termination when miscarrying.

First and foremost, this is a human tragedy, and all sympathies should be extended to her husband Praveen and her family who are now grieving.
Investigations are being carried out the by hospital’s risk review group and the HSE’s National Incident Management Team as well as by the coroner in Galway. In other words, we don’t know the full circumstances of the case, and we should resist the temptation to get drawn into coming to conclusions in absence of all the facts.

That does not mean that we can or should avoid considering this case in the context of the X Case and of the report of the Expert Group that was established by the Government.

This issue has been with us now for 20 years and this is the first Government that has decided that were are going to deal with it. We put place a process, an Expert Group chaired by Judge Ryan to address all of the issues, to make recommendations to us. That Expert Group looked for an extension on the period of time they needed to consider the issues. It is a complex and sensitive area. They have now completed their work, submitted their report to Minister for Health and will be presented to Cabinet once the Minister has considered its contents. Whether the Expert Group recommends legislation or regulation, we will not ignore it. Legal clarity is required on this issue.

The Programme for Government negotiated by both Labour and Fine Gael on forming government contains the following commitment:
“We acknowledge the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights subsequent to the established ruling of the Irish Supreme Court on the X-case. We will establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government on how this matter should be properly addressed.”

Tackling the issues around the X Case is a complex matter and while Deputy Daly’s Private Members Bill was welcome in facilitating debate, it was not without flaws.
There were number of concerns around the detail and drafting of the Bill that lacked clarity and that could have caused confusion. The Bill was therefore not appropriate as a basis for addressing the many complexities in this area.

Yours Sincerely
Joan Burton TD
Minister for Social Protection
Constituency Office

Legislate for X, a reply from Patrick Nulty.

Recieved on the 15/11/2012 16:00

Dear [Sharrow]

First of all thank you very much for your email. I fully support the need for the legislation on the X case and have done so for some time.

Last April legislation was presented to the Dail to bring in this law which I voted For. I believe this is twenty years overdue.

As recently as November 14th I raised the matter directly with Enda Kenny at the order of business in the Dail.

Here is a link to a statement I released yesterday following the tragic death of Savita which is a tragedy which should never have happened – http://www.patricknulty.ie/?p=1532

I also requested that the issue be debated in the Dail yesterday which forced the Minister for Health to come in and explain himself.

I believe that it is a disgrace that 20 years on this matter has not been addressed and is it is a fundamental issue of equality for women. I will do everything in my power to campaign for change on this crucial issue.

Yours Sincerely,

Patrick Nulty TD

Maternal death – into the great unknown – The Medical Independent

Maternal death – into the great unknown – The Medical Independent.

The 2005 WHO report acknowledges the difficulties surrounding data collection in some countries. According to the report, “even in developed countries where routine registration of deaths is in place, maternal deaths may be underreported, and identification of the true numbers of maternal deaths may require additional special investigations into the causes of deaths”.

“We are not saying that Ireland is the only country that has problems with data collection but we are absolutely sure that Ireland has problems in that respect,” Dr O’Hare said.

Why “Legislate for X” is not enough.

It has been 20 years from the High Court ruling on the XCase and the referendum in which the Irish people rejected to rule out “risk to the life of the mother” as a reason for a lawful termination or legal abortion.

But even if tomorrow this government was to legislate for the XCase ruling where the previous 6 have failed to do, it would not be enough.

It would not be enough, as it won’t cover women who need a medical termination due to fatal fetal abnormalities.

http://www.terminationformedicalreasons.com/

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The worst news that any expecting parent can receive, is that their unborn child will not survive outside of the womb. The law in Ireland does not allow mothers and fathers the personal choice to terminate a pregnancy under these very tragic circumstances. Instead, we are forced abroad, without care or advice, to undergo termination procedures.

It won’t be enough as it won’t cover women like Michelle Harte, was being treated for cancer.

http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=18394

A woman who is terminally ill has claimed she was forced to travel to Britain for an abortion earlier this year.

She was advised by her doctors to terminate her pregnancy because of the risks to her health. However, an ethics forum at Cork University Hospital decided against sanctioning an abortion for her in Ireland.

Michelle Harte of Co. Wexford said that doctors at the hospital where she was being treated for cancer had advised her to terminate her pregnancy because of the risks to her health.

However, the ethics forum went against the medical advice on the basis that Michelle Harte of Co Wexford’s life was not under immediate threat.

It wont be enough for Ms C, had been under going chemotherapy for 3y years and when she took the Irish State to the EU court of Human rights they found that the state violated article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in how it had failed her due to there being no way she could find out if she could have a lawful termination or legal abortion here at home.

3 reasons why to legislate for X is not enough, women deserve better.

Vigils and Protests happening via Irish Choice Network.

http://www.irishchoicenetwork.com/1/post/2012/11/vigils-and-protests.html

Today:

Dublin

https://www.facebook.com/events/306835169430369/

PROTEST at Savita’s death – Legislate for X case now
Public event · By Pro-Choice Campaign Ireland
Today 18:00
Legislate now for X!

Join us at the Dail, Kildare Street from 6pm on Wednesday 14th November.

Cork

https://www.facebook.com/events/218194501646236/

Candlelight vigil in memory of Savita Halappanavar
Public event Today 19:00
Cork Opera House, Emmet Place.

London
http://feministevents.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/protest-at-irish-embassy.html

In light of the death of Savita Halappanavar, there is a protest outside the Dail tonight by an Irish pro-choice group. In solidarity with the group, and to express our own shock and anger at the death of Savita Halappanavar, there will be a London-based pro-choice protest tonight. This will be at 6pm, at 17 Grosvenor Place, SW1X 7HR.

Saturday:

Galway

https://www.facebook.com/events/111469712349997/

andlelit Vigil for Savita
Public event · By Galway Pro-Choice
Saturday 17:00
Eyre’s Square.

Dublin

https://www.facebook.com/events/243742145755096/

No more tragedies. Legislate NOW.
Public event · By Action On X
Saturday 16:00

From the Garden of Remembrance to the Dáil, where we will hold a candlelight vigil in conjunction with Galway Pro-Choice to grieve Savita’s unnecessary death

State imposed ‘Catholic’ care leads to death of pregant Hindu woman in Galway.

The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2012/1114/1224326575203.html

KITTY HOLLAND and PAUL CULLEN, Health Correspondent

Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Intensive care

The dead foetus was removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on the 28th.

An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy two days later found she died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.

A hospital spokesman confirmed the Health Service Executive had begun an investigation while the hospital had also instigated an internal investigation. He said the hospital extended its sympathy to the family and friends of Ms Halappanavar but could not discuss the details of any individual case.

Speaking from Belgaum in the Karnataka region of southwest India, Mr Halappanavar said an internal examination was performed when she first presented.

“The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should be over in a few hours. There followed three days, he says, of the foetal heartbeat being checked several times a day.

“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.

“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.

“The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn’t.”

Critically ill

At lunchtime the foetal heart had stopped and Ms Halappanavar was brought to theatre to have the womb contents removed. “When she came out she was talking okay but she was very sick. That’s the last time I spoke to her.”

At 11 pm he got a call from the hospital. “They said they were shifting her to intensive care. Her heart and pulse were low, her temperature was high. She was sedated and critical but stable. She stayed stable on Friday but by 7pm on Saturday they said her heart, kidneys and liver weren’t functioning. She was critically ill. That night, we lost her.”

Mr Halappanavar took his wife’s body home on Thursday, November 1st, where she was cremated and laid to rest on November 3rd.

The hospital spokesman said that in general sudden hospital deaths were reported to the coroner. In the case of maternal deaths, a risk review of the case was carried out.

External experts were involved in this review and the family consulted on the terms of reference. They were also interviewed by the review team and given a copy of the report.

This is a personal nightmare.
There are are issues with high blood pressure in my family.
This could have been my sister, my cousin or in years to come my daughter.

Galway Pro-choice statement re the death of Savita Praveen

https://www.facebook.com/GalwayProChoice/posts/379753642107027

For Release: Woman Dies in UCHG after Being Denied a Life-Saving Abortion

On Sunday the 28th of October, Savita Praveen died at UCHG after being denied a termination which would most likely have saved her life. She was 31 years old, married for four years and hoping to start a family.

If legislation is not introduced immediately, more women will die. Under the X Case ruling, women in Ireland are legally entitled to an abortion when it is necessary to save their life. However, legislation has never been passed to reflect this. It is the failure of successive governments to do so that led to Savita’s death.

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.

However, her condition did not take its expected course, and the foetus remained inside her body. Although it was evident that it could not survive, a foetal heartbeat was detected. For this reason her repeated requests to remove the foetus were denied. By Tuesday it was clear that her condition was deteriorating. She had developed a fever, and collapsed when attempting to walk. The cervix had now been fully open for nearly 72 hours, creating a danger of infection comparable to an untreated open head wound. She developed septicaemia.

Despite this, the foetus was not removed until Wednesday afternoon, after the foetal heartbeat had stopped. Immediately after the procedure she was taken to the high dependency unit. Her condition never improved. She died at 1.09am on Sunday the 28th of October.

Had the foetus been removed when it became clear that it could not survive, her cervix would have been closed and her chance of infection dramatically reduced. Leaving a woman’s cervix open constitutes a clear risk to her life. What is unclear is how doctors are expected to act in this situation.

Rachel Donnelly, Galway Pro-Choice spokesperson stated:
“This was an obstetric emergency which should have been dealt with in a routine manner. Yet Irish doctors are restrained from making obvious medical decisions by a fear of potentially severe consequences. As the European Court of Human Rights ruled, as long as the 1861 Act remains in place, alongside a complete political unwillingness to touch the issue, pregnant women will continue to be unsafe in this country.”

Sarah McCarthy, Galway Pro-Choice member said:
“Galway Pro-Choice believes that Ireland must legislate for freely available abortion for all women. Deaths like Savita’s are the most severe consequence of the criminalisation of abortion, yet it has countless adverse effects. We must reflect long and hard on the implications of Savita’s tragic and untimely passing, and we must act to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.”

For more information please contact Galway Pro-Choice on 087 706 0715 or Sarah McCarthy on 085 7477 907

Legislate for X Action, a reply from Leo Varadkar T.D.

06/11/2012 15:44, Minister Varadkar Constituency wrote:

6th November 2012

Dear Ms [Sharrow]
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. You can be sure that I will take your views into account.

As committed to in the Programme for Government, an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, was established in January to study the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the ABC v. Ireland case. In that judgement, the European Court held that the Irish State had failed to legislate to implement existing rights to lawful abortion when a mother’s life is at risk.

Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution states that: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. “

The interpretation of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution arose in the “X case” in 1992. A majority of the members of the Supreme Court of Ireland held that, if it were established, as a matter of probability, that there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, such a termination was lawful.

The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case confirmed that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court ruled that “no criteria or procedures have been… laid down in Irish law… by which that risk is to be measured or determined, leading to uncertainty…” and held that further legal clarity was required.

In order to address the judgment, and to fulfil a commitment included in the Programme for Government, the Government established an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, with a view to making recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed.

The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September with recommendations on a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for expeditious action in light of the ECtHR judgement.

The Government believes that this is the appropriate forum in which to examine this complex and sensitive matter.

When the Group finalises its report later this year the Government will then decide how to proceed.

Best wishes,
Leo Varadkar T.D.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

Anyone spot that?

The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September

Ok this is either an old stock reply, as it is now November or else the expert group is not reporting back until September 2013 which is far from expeditious. I have written back asking for clarity on this.

Still no reply from Joan Burton or Patrick Nulty.

IF you have still not Emailed your own TDs you can do, in one go here:
http://www.nwci.ie/takeaction/