Category Archives: Activism and Agitation

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

Galway Pro Choice Were Approached by Savita’s Friends

For Release: Galway Pro Choice Were Approached by Savita’s Friends

As was made clear by Sarah McCarthy of Galway Pro Choice on last night’s Prime Time programme on RTE, Galway Pro Choice were approached by the friends of Savita Praveen Halapannavar on 3rd November 2012. They came to us before going public with her story. Their only wish was to try to make sure that what
happened to Savita would never happen to another woman again in Ireland.

After an initial phone call on 3rd November from a friend of Savita and Praveen’s, Savita’s friends sent Galway Pro Choice an email containing more details of the case. A meeting between Galway Pro Choice and approximately ten of Savita’s friends then took place, during which they explained the facts of the case as they saw them. They believed that a termination may have saved Savita’s life. They requested the assistance of Galway Pro Choice in deciding how to proceed.

Galway Pro Choice presented Savita’s friends with a number of options, including the option of not releasing the story at all. The option of releasing the story anonymously, without a name or place being mentioned, was also discussed. However, Savita’s friends and her husband Praveen felt that going fully public with the tragic story of Savita’s death was what they wanted to do in order to bring home to the public how Ireland’s abortion laws can place pregnant women in danger. A phone call between Galway Pro Choice and Savita’s husband Praveen, in India, also occurred, in which Praveen reiterated his desire to go public with the story.

Galway Pro Choice then put Praveen and his friends in touch with the Irish Times. We explicitly made clear to Praveen and his friends that if they were uncomfortable in any way, at any stage, with any of our activities they should just say so and we would immediately do what they wished. We have informed them in advance of all of our planned activities so far, and they have been supportive of all of them. Savita’s friends were present at the candlelit vigil we held on Saturday in Galway, and expressed their amazement that anyone could say that we were ‘taking advantage of’ or ‘hijacking’ the tragedy of Savita’s death.

Now that these facts have been made clear, any and all implications by anti-choice campaigners or politicians to the effect that Pro-Choice groups are taking advantage of this tragedy should stop. If they do not, they must be interpreted as deliberately misleading statements. As well as being false, they are offensive and potentially upsetting to Savita’s family and friends.

Galway Pro Choice would also like to make the following points:

– We must legislate on the X Case immediately; Government statements that it will take months to get legal clarity are unacceptable.

– Minister for Health James Reilly must instigate a fully independent public inquiry now.

– The Expert Group Report should be released to the public immediately.

– The only way to safeguard the health of pregnant women in Ireland is to guarantee access to free, safe, and legal abortion for all women.

We will be holding a public meeting this Thursday, 22nd November, at 7:30pm in the Harbour Hotel in Galway on the urgent need to legislate for the X Case. Speakers include Clare Daly ULA TD; Mary Smith, a retired midwife and pro-choice activist, and Ailbhe Smyth, former Head of Women’s Studies at University College Dublin, and women’s rights activist. Sarah McCarthy of Galway Pro-Choice will chair the meeting.

On Saturday, December 1st we will be hosting a national demonstration in Galway on the need to immediately legislate for the X Case. The demonstration will assemble at the Spanish Arch at 2pm.

For more information email us at prochoicegalway@gmail.com or call 0860621503 or 0877060715.

Yes Pro Choice groups did know about Savita’s death before the newspapers were published and they respected the family’s requests.

Virgin selling condoms in Ireland.

http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog/the-day-we-were-arrested-for-selling-condoms-in-dublin

The day we were arrested for selling condoms in Dublin

By Richard Branson –
Nov 19, 2012

When we were asked by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) if we would let them sell condoms in our Dublin Virgin Megastore, we were happy to oblige. In May 1990 the IFPA were convicted for selling condoms in the Megastore and fined £400.

The IFPA appealed the conviction on Valentine’s Day 1991 and I testified on their behalf. On arriving late in Dublin, a policeman offered me an escort – and was shocked when I directed him straight to court! The judge increased the fine to £500 and warned future infringement could result in imprisonment. A certain rock band known as U2 stepped in to pay the fine.

It wasn’t until 1993 that laws restricting the sale of condoms in Ireland were overruled, while laws banning abortion are still in place. There are lots of groups, including the IFPA, still campaigning inside and outside of Ireland for sensible abortion laws.

I remember this, I also bought condoms in there, for myself and for friends. Chemists didn’t sell them unless you had a prescription from a dr. Condom vending machines were illegal, HIV/AIDS were a fact of life and still condoms were illegal here in except under very limited guidelines.

I remember when it became possible to by them and they had to sell them to anyone over the age of legal consent, but it was still a case of running the gauntlet and getting a very unwelcome reception in the chemist. Picking one in the city center or one which family and neighbors would not use and even then you could be left standing, for years condoms were strictly behind the counter and you had to ask for them.

And even then the assistant could say they had to check with the dispensing chemist I and certainly was a few times left standing, for anything from 20mins to a half hour, as it was clear they didn’t want to sell them to me and were hoping I would just leave.

Boots chemist changed that, condoms were on the floor of the shop, you could go and read the boxes and pick out what you wanted and mix them in with other purchases, for those reason alone they quickly became the place to go buy them where ever they opened up all over the country.

These days most pubs have condom machines in them, they are more available in a range of places all over the country. Attitudes have changed as well.
It’s seen a sensible to have them and not as immoral for women have have them.

These days I know I can go an buy a 2 for 3 offer on condoms and get 3 boxes of what I fancy with no one blinking an eye lid, compared to being treated like I had just asked for the head of the baby jesus and if I hung around long enough, I would eventually get them only when exiting the chemist to hear someone declare that I must be a Whore.

It was 19 years ago, in 1993 the laws changed, took longer for attitudes to change, but I am for ever thankful for the work the IFPA have done over the years and for people like Richard Branson and those who ran the stall in the Dublin Virgin Megastore for being so brave and bold.

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.