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IMO branded ‘out of step’ on abortion

IMO branded ‘out of step’ on abortion.

IMO branded ‘out of step’ on abortion
April 19, 2013 By Lloyd Mudiwa Leave a Comment
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Photo by Voisin/Phanie / Rex Features

By Lloyd Mudiwa.

The IMO is ‘out of step’ with the majority in Ireland on abortion rights, a campaign group has claimed.

The Abortion Rights Campaign said it was dismayed at the rejection by the Organisation of general motions at its recent AGM in Killarney supporting the regulation of abortion in line with the X Case, or in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Citing a Paddy Power/Red C opinion poll in January 2013, Sarah Malone of the Abortion Rights Campaign said: “In rejecting motions 38, 39 and 40, the IMO illustrates how far out of step it is with the majority of Irish people, who believe pregnant people should have the right to an abortion in Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities or in cases of rape or incest.”

Motion 38 called on the IMO to support regulation in relation to the provision of abortion services where there was a “real and substantial risk” to the life of the mother, while motions 39 and 40 sought for the union to call on the Government to legislate for women who become pregnant as a result of a criminal act, that they would be allowed access to legal termination within Ireland.

These motions also called for the provision of abortion services for women who were pregnant with non-viable foetal anomalies who chose to proceed with an abortion.

Janet O’Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Campaign, added: “We commend the work Dr Mary Favier and Dr Mark Murphy of Doctors for Choice are courageously doing, and are disappointed that women living in Ireland who have travelled for an abortion, or who are currently planning to travel, may now feel they cannot be open with their doctors and other healthcare professionals about their reproductive health choices.”

While the IMO declined to respond to the group’s claims, its President Dr Matt Sadlier told RTÉ’s This Week programme after the AGM that the motions passed were just a continuation of the Organisation’s policies passed a number of years ago.

When asked what practical implications passing the motions would have, Dr Sadlier replied: “If we are asked by Government to advise on legislation, then that will inform our position.”

The time line of Kicking the X Case Can Further and Further down the road

Again there are more delays in legislating for the X Case, as well as the A, B, C rulings leaving women’s health and lives at risk. The program for Government which the current government of FG and Lab agreed to, states they will legislate for the X case ruling and the two referendum on the X Case Ruling.

5 March 1992: The Supreme Court hands down it’s verdict in the X case.

25 November 1992: The proposed 12th amendment to over throw the X Case ruling is rejected by the Irish people.

8th March 2002: The proposed 25th amendment to cover throw the X Case ruling is rejected by the people.

16 December 2010: The EU Court Of Human Rights hands down it’s judgement in the In the case of A. B. and C. v. Ireland case.

January 2011: Labour leader Eamon Gilmore after the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and the stern message that Ireland needed to get it’s act together and legislate stated that”Ireland needs legislation to allow abortion in circumstances where the life or health of the mother is at risk.”

13 January 2012: It was announced an expert group would be looking at the EU Human rights court ruling, which included recommendations from the A, B & C cases as well as the X case.

12 February 2012: The 20th year of the X Case judgement and with still there was no movement, The Action on X group held public meetings and started to put pressure on the government to finally legislate.

June 2012: The anti abortion groups had rolled out a well funded campaign and the pressure on politicians to yet again ignore the X Case Ruling, the two referendum and the recommendations of the EU human rights courts ramps up.

11 July 2012: The first pro choice Rally in years is held outside the Dáil.

22 July 2012:THE minister of State Kathleen Lynch has said she believes the Government will have no choice but to legislate for abortion in certain circumstances.

23 July 2012: Gilmore states they will wait for the expert group to report back before moving forward and

29 September 2012: the March for Choice happens in Dublin, bringing pro choice activists out on the streets.

15 November 2012: Gilmore states legal clarity is needed in regards to abortion.

17 November 2012: Enda Kenny states he won’t be rushed on the abortion issue.

18 November 2012: James Reilly has said he believes the Cabinet will make a decision on whether to legislate for the X Case early next year.

27 November 2012: The Expert group finally reports to the cabinet.

28 November 2012: An opposition bill proposing abortion legislation is defeated in the Dáil.

1 December 2012: The red C poll is published stating that the majority of the Irish people want the X Case legislated for and wish for abortion legislation beyond just the risk to the life of a woman.

11 December 2012: Ireland is told to expedite legislation by the EU.

19 December 2012: The Government is to proceed with “legislation with regulations” following the Expert Group report on abortion.

21 December 2012: It is announced that the Health committee will have hearings in the new year.

9, 10 11 January 2013: Over 3 days experts, advocates and clergy speak to the committee for health about the introduction of abortion legislation.

31 January 2013: Mr Reilly said he still hopes to have the legislation passed by the Dáil’s summer recess.

15 February 2013: Enda Kenny repeats that any legislation will be with in the Constitution that is with the remit of the 8th amendment.

2 march 2013: Pro choice groups query the delay in bring forward legislation.

4 March 2013: The evening before the 12 years of the anniversary of the verdict of the X case, protester hold a rally at Dublin Castle were the EU ministers for Health are meeting.

5 April 2013: The Master of the Rotunda Hospital calls for legal clarity.

17 April 2013: X Case legislation delayed again, may not be en acted by the summer recess.

How much long must the lives and health of women be at risk in Ireland?

Survivors of symphysiotomy exception bill accepted.

It was almost a decade a go that the then Minister for Health Mr Micheal Martin promised there would be a review of the procedure of Symphysiotomy in Irish hospitals.

Last night saw a bill accepted by the Dáil, which removes the time limit for those women who were abused and left suffering for the rest of their lives so that they can now seek out redress. Many women didn’t know what had happened to them, it was their first child. They were failed by the hospitals and often their own GP over the years who didn’t treat them properly or explain what was done to them.

This was done to over a 1,000 women and about 200 remain still. Why was it done?
Contraception was not legal here until 1984, and there is a limit to the number of C sections a woman may have, so to get around that symphysiotomy was used.

Contraception was banned as Ireland was considered a Catholic country.
Again catholic dogma resulted in substandard of care of women in Irish Maternity hospitals leaving them in agony.

Why did women put up with it? Because they were told to, often the term to offer up your suffering would be used when it came to ‘women’s issues’ and ‘The Curse’. To this day Irish women are hesitant to talk about OB/Gyn issues and reproductive issues, this needs to change, we need to be better informed and to share our stories.

The Survivors of symphysiotomy, did not give informed consent, they were not told which procedure and why and the repercussions of it. I am glad the bill has been accepted and more people know of what happened, when I first wrote about symphysiotomy 3 years ago most people had no idea what it was, hopefully now we are aware we will try and make sure that women living here in Ireland never suffer such abuses again at the hands of health care professionals.

Nevada Lawmaker Receives Death Threats After Talking About Her Abortion

pNevada, which has one of the highest rates of unintended teen pregnancy in the nation, is considering updating its abstinence-only education policy to require more comprehensive sexual health instruction in public schools. This week, in a debate over that proposed legislation, Nevada Assemblywomen Lucy Flores (D) testified in favor of the bill, sharing her own story about the consequences of inadequate sex ed — all of her sisters became teenage mothers, and Flores herself decided to have an abortion when she became pregnant at 16.[…]/p

via Nevada Lawmaker Receives Death Threats After Talking About Her Abortion.

There has been a lot of press interest on the topic of abortion in Ireland and journalists of many types wanting to speak to Irish women who have had an abortion, they seem surprised when we don’t come forward to talk to them.

I don’t find it surprising at all, due to the shaming and the stigma and people know your business. I know it’s important but it’s still so very hard to do.

When a woman is brave enough like Lucy Flores gets treated in such a vile manner it makes it even harder.

The 8th amendment needs to be repealed for the sake of the health and lives of women.


The Health Service Executive report on the death last year at Galway University Hospital of Savita Halappanavar has found there was an overemphasis by hospital staff on the welfare of Ms Halappanavar’s unviable foetus and an underemphasis on her deteriorating health.

The final draft report says: “The investigating team considers there was an apparent overemphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart stopped, together with an underemphasis on the need to focus an appropriate attention on monitoring for and managing the risk of infection and sepsis in the mother.”

Miscarriage management in this country is based on catholic dogma, which was wedged into our constitution in 1983. If a woman is miscarrying and it is unavoidable and the fetus will not survive, they do not intervene if there is a fetal heartbeat, unless the life of the woman is in imminent danger.

Never mind her physical, mental or emotional heath. She will be left to miscarry (often with out pain relief which may effect the dying fetus and be said to hasten the miscarriage) until her life is at risk or the fetal heart beat stops. In other countries once it is found that the miscarriage is un avoidable and the fetus will not survive women are offered to have the pregnancy ended rather then put them at further risk to their health.

If we had the same model if miscarriage management as other western countries, no woman would be left to suffer and miscarry in such a cruel fashion. X Case legislation will not deal with the risks to the health of women only risk to the life of women in the cases of suicide. The 8th amendment needs to be repealed for the sake of the health and lives of women.

3somes and Blowjobs and Liveline, Oh my!

This week flew in with the kids being on Easter break so I’ve not written about this yet, but sure hear goes.

Yes I was on national radio this week for the first time, such was my ire at at the attitude on Liveline that I emailed the show. The segment was about the fuss Michelle “Fornication” Mulherin TD raised over one of the many articles on http://spunout.ie/.

For those of ye who don’t know what spunout.ie is, it is a website aimed at 16 to 25 year olds.

SpunOut.ie is a website dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about things which may be happening in your life. It is also a place to have your voice heard about things which are bothering you or to provide solutions to some of the big, or small, problems facing Irish society.

SpunOut.ie provides young people between the ages of 16 and 25 with the information and skills to deal with the difficult things life throws at us and lends a megaphone for our voices to be heard to change our own lives and the world.

An important part of SpunOut.ie is to give a voice to those who wish to tell their story in order to demonstrate to others that they are not alone, and that we all experience similar difficulties through the course of our lives.

We publish articles on sex, mental health, alcohol + drugs, education, employment and much more.

They are a registered charity and get a funding grant from the HSE which contributes to covering some of their over all costs.One of the many articles on the site was about 3somes, the pros and cons and addressing the facts. The notion that any tax payers money was being used to ‘promote’ 3somes to teenagers had Mulherin outraged.

It seems to have outraged some of the listeners and callers to Liveline also. I had been following the story about Spunout.ie from the night before and while I am not a regular live line listener I did tune in and got so cross that I emailed the show stating I am a stay at home Mam in my late 30s, with two teenage kids and I support the work Spunout.ie do.

They emailed me back asking for my phone number and then one of the production staff rang me and I was asked would I go on the show. Here is the podcast, I am on the last 10 minutes.


Yes I did say, anal sex, oral sex, 3some and the phrase ‘promoting blowjobs’ live on national radio to Joe Duffy, who doesn’t intimidate me at all, sure he grew up in the same part of Dublin as my Dad and is about the same age and all. I did ring and tell my parents afterwards, as a polite heads up and they laughed and said they were proud of me.

You see back in the mid 80s they ran parenting courses in primary schools for other parents, including the sex educational model and they have always been advocates of sex education, so I didn’t lick it off a stone.

When I listened to the podcast when it went up I was happy to have been able to plug some more helpful sites where people can get information. I mentioned the sex ed program the HSE put together but has a difficult time distrubting to parents the first section of it is Busy Bodies
aim at parents and children before puberty and I also mentioned The Facts and the other programs which can be gotten for free, which the HSE have spent money on.

I also mentioned that the NHS in the UK spends money on Sex Education websites http://www.respectyourself.info/ and I mentioned http://www.scarleteen.com/ as good resources for young people, so much better at them learning about sex and sexuality then just by looking at porn.

Looking back I am glad I took part on the program, as Amanda Palmer has said “We are the Media” and we do have to challenge the the notion that Ireland is still a very conservative catholic country and part of that is having our voices heard, even on Liveline.

And having had Joe Duffy say “That if you are asked to be in a 3some, just say no.” still makes me laugh.

The Brave 100 and counting…

Sunday the 10th of March the news broke that 100 people had put their names to a letter stating they had broken the law in Northen Ireland, either by getting and taking abortion pills or assisting in a woman getting them.

So far the Crown prosecution has seemed reluctant to pursue such cases and to not bring the law under public scrutiny but with the moves made last week to make it illegal for the Marie Stopes clinic or indeed any private clinic to offer abortions in the 6 counties, this wonderful action has happened.

This tactic of people coming forward has happened before in other countries were it was illegal to have an abortion. It happened first in France Le Nouvel Observateur on April 5, 1971 published the Manifesto of the 343 (as 343 women signed it), which was written by Simone de Beauvoir and stated.

One million women in France have an abortion every year.
Condemned to secrecy, they have them in dangerous conditions when this procedure, performed under medical supervision, is one of the simplest.
These women are veiled in silence.
I declare that I am one of them. I have had an abortion.
Just as we demand free access to birth control, we demand the freedom to have an abortion.

Two months later Stern Magazine which was based in Hamburg in what was then in West Germany ran it’s cover with images of women and the title on the front page was “Wir haben abgetrieben” “We have aborted” it had the stories of 374 women.

A year later in 1972 the first issue of Ms. magazine carried an “We Have Had Abortions,” statement signed by 50 women, who asked for people to join them in
a “campaign for honesty and freedom”.

And finally 40 years later we have a statement from women who live on the Island of Ireland stating they have broke the law and had an abortion and those who have helped them do it.

Names are still being added

We salute these brave men and women who may face legal sanctions, but who have decided to come forward and end their silence to help break the taboo and normalise abortion in the North of Ireland and to call for services needed by women.

Connecting with Pro Choice people on the Streets of Dublin

Last Saturday the 2nd of March as part of the 10 days of Action which is part of the
Abortion Rights Campaign I was doing my bit by taking to the streets to help run a stall and hand out leaflets.

Basic street politics, and I must admit it has been a while from when I last did that sort of activity, I’ve had a busy few months taking part in meetings,photo ops, rallies and marches but I hadn’t stood handing leaflets.

Specifically these leaflets for the Action on X rally


So I was a little apprehensive about doing thing and what reaction I may get and then I watched Amanda Palmer’s Ted talk. In which she talks about connecting with people and part of the talk was about her 5 years of being a living statue and connecting with strangers on the streets and how it was about eye contact.

You can watch it here if your interested. http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html

So get out to hand out leaflets and make connections with people, I’ve found it easier to be upbeat when you have some theme music for the day, mine was baby elephant walk which always makes me smile, so with a song in my heart and a smile on my face I was ready to reach out to people.

I stood at the underpass of the Central Bank as people passed through heading to Dame St or Temple bar, it was a busy enough afternoon. I held up my stack of leaflets in one hand so people could read them as they pass and offered one for them to take with the other. Some people didn’t take one but read what I was holding in passing.

I had one group of American tourists tell me I was going to hell, but 7 other American tourists over the two hours I was there told me to keep up the good work. I had some parents steer their children away from me and some quietly take a leaflet form when where they kids had passed me by.

We all have our preconceptions about who is interested in abortion rights, but I had has many young men take leaflets as young women and they were more inclined to stop and talk.

I had one old man admonish me for handing out the leaflet stopping to block me from people passing by and tapping my hand down which was handing out leaflets, while saying “You do know abortion is murder, dear” I told him I disagreed and went to hand out leaflets again and again he tapped my hand down, like I was a naughty child saying ” But dear women who have abortions are murderers” I told him that if he touched me again I would consider it assault and that calling me a murderer was slander. He walked on telling me I was going to hell.

I had several older women talk leaflet and stop to talk to me. One asked me quite bluntly “is this about Abortion” not being sure how the exchange would go I explained the rally is to get X Case legislation in place, as it has been over 20 years and we still don’t have legislation. “Good” She replied and asked were we working for more rights as those who have been raped should have the right to an abortion, I was happy to tell her that yes the Abortion Rights Campaign is working towards securing that right for those who need it.

I had another older woman take the leaflet, stand reading it and say ” Tomorrow is it?” I replied yes “Great, I don’t do the internet thing, but I will let my girls know, can I have some more of those?” So I handed her 5 more leaflets.

Over all I had mostly positive encounters with people smiling, giving me a thumbs up or waving a leaflet they had gotten from one of the volunteers, so the next time I take to the pavements it will be with a lot less trepidation as I did feel that the majority of people I encountered were pro choice bearing out the recent polls.

Minister Alan Shatter and the absolutely irrefutable evidence

“Does the Taoiseach intend to introduce legislation in the new year to amend the redress board legislation to extend it to those who suffered barbaric cruelty in the Magdalen laundries?

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform now has irrefutable evidence that this State and the courts colluded in sending young women to what were then known as the Magdalen asylums. They ended up in the Magdalen laundries and were treated appallingly.Some of them have never recovered from the manner in which they were treated and their lives have been permanently blighted.

Initially in this House the Minister for Education and Science denied that the State had any involvement in this. There is now absolutely irrefutable evidence as a consequence of court records and files that have been examined in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform that the State was directly complicit in many women being placed in these totally inappropriate circumstances.”

So The Department of Justice, Equality, of which he is currently the Minister of has irrefutable evidence, absolutely irrefutable evidence of court records and files that have been examined which his dept has and has examined.

Great any chance of them being released, there Minister?