Tag Archives: human-rights

Rape, Abortion and Emergency Contraceptives

Last month a poll was released via the Sunday times which showed that 74% of those who took part stated that if a person is pregant from rape they should the right to an abortion, that is an abortion here in Ireland.

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And then we had the interview of Micheál Martin leader of Fine Fáil by http://www.thejournal.ie/ in which he states;

He also said that he would not favour widening legislation or changing the Constitution to include cases where a woman has become pregnant as a result of rape.

“Rape is a particularly difficult one. We do have options today that we didn’t have before in terms of the morning after pill and so forth,” he said.

Which says to me just how disconnected he and his party are on the reality of this issue.

With X Case legislation still not even a published bill after 21 years,
and with all the scaremongering about ‘floodgates’ and women lying about being suicidal to obtain an abortion, I would fear as to what would be said if we were currently trying to legislate for the right to an abortion if a person has been raped.

Would women be told well prove you were raped and to wait for their rapist to be prosecuted, when currently from when a person is charged with rape it could be 18months before the first day in court. I worry that there is a vested interest in trying to make any abortion legislation to be a series of hoops to hard to navigate and so well will continue to have 12 women a day traveling to the U.K.

The comments also show up the ignorance about the ‘morning after pill’ which I really wish we could stop calling it that as the new ones can be taken up to 120 hours later, time to start calling it emergency contraceptive, but even then it is not 100%.

Even if a person reports the rape and sees a dr with in 72 hours or even 120 hours emergency contraceptives are not 100% effective and they can still end up pregnant from that rape.

Which assumes they can get to see a medical professional who will prescribe it, that they can take it as there are women from whom it won’t be prescribed due to medical conditions and there is a barrier due to cost or having to travel or child care, or they could be in an abusive relationship were it’s just not possible for them to get away.

And that is with out going into those who go into shock and denial after they have been raped.

So the existence of emergency contraceptives does not solve the issue of people becoming pregnant after they have been raped.

I guess after all this time I am still staggered by the lack of knowledge out there about Emergency Contraceptives & contraceptives in general. I honestly think that our TDs should know better then the lack of knowledge Micheál Martin has displayed.

1BillionRising 14 of February

Ever want a Dance lesson from Debbie Allen (dance teacher in Fame) ?
It’s your lucky day, want to preform that dance with a group of people?
Well you have 6 days to get ready.

1billionrising is happening on the 14 of February.

Globally 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her life time, that is 1 billion women.

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ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY

ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION

On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.

What does ONE BILLION look like? On 14 February 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.

ONE BILLION RISING IS:

A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being

Events are happening all over the world, there are many happening here in Ireland,
join an event near you or use the tool kit to start up your own.

And the video of the song which is being used

“If I can’t dance – I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Emma Goldman

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?

Another XCase Date, 21 years on and still no legislation.

http://www.thejournal.ie/twenty-years-on-a-timeline-of-the-x-case-347359-Feb2012/

6 February 1992: X and her parents traveled to England and arrangements were made for an abortion to take place in London. On the same date, the Attorney General obtained an interim injunction stopping the teenager and her parents from leaving the country or arranging the termination of the pregnancy. Once they were informed of the injunction the family returned to Ireland.

The AG’s order was based on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, more specifically on the 1983 amendment that puts the right of the unborn child’s right to life on an equal footing of the mother’s right to life.

Whelen has since said that he had no choice but to seek the injunction as he had a duty to uphold the Constitution. He told an RTÉ documentary that his problem was “stark” after being contacted by the DPP.

This weeks has been filled so far with the abuses of women and children by the state and the church, be it children in industrial schools, children abused by priests, children put up for adoption who can not never find out their parent’s names, women put into laundries and used as slave labour or women driven abroad to have children and to have them adopted.

We have had 90 year of being our own country and honestly it seems to be little more then a litany of abusing and ignoring those who need compassion and care.

We still have people who are being mistreated in asylum holding places, old people’s homes, children’s care homes, and those in care due to disabilities.

In all my born days, despite the struggles watching the Dáil proceedings today, for the first time I find myself wanting to live in a different country.

Magdalene Laundries by Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell put a song about the atrocities committed by the Magdalene Laundries on her 1994 album Turbulent Indigo

Magdalene Laundries
Joni Mitchell

I was an unmarried girl
I’d just turned twenty-seven
When they sent me to the sisters
For the way men looked at me
Branded as a jezebel
I knew I was not bound for Heaven
I’d be cast in shame
Into the Magdalene laundries

Most girls come here pregnant
Some by their own fathers
Bridget got that belly
By her parish priest
We’re trying to get things white as snow
All of us woe-begotten-daughters
In the steaming stains
Of the Magdalene laundries

Prostitutes and destitutes
And temptresses like me–
Fallen women–
Sentenced into dreamless drudgery …
Why do they call this heartless place
Our Lady of Charity?
Oh charity!

These bloodless brides of Jesus
If they had just once glimpsed their groom
Then they’d know, and they’d drop the stones
Concealed behind their rosaries
They wilt the grass they walk upon
They leech the light out of a room
They’d like to drive us down the drain
At the Magdalene laundries

Peg O’Connell died today
She was a cheeky girl
A flirt
They just stuffed her in a hole!
Surely to God you’d think at least some bells should ring!
One day I’m going to die here too
And they’ll plant me in the dirt
Like some lame bulb
That never blooms come any spring
Not any spring
No, not any spring
Not any spring

The X Case: 21 years ago, 2 referendums, 1 supreme court ruling still no Law.

Last year the Journal.ie did a timeline of the events surrounding the X Case you can find it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/twenty-years-on-a-timeline-of-the-x-case-347359-Feb2012/

Today is the 4th of February 2013, here is what happened 21 years ago:

4 February 1992: The victim and her parents decide to travel to the UK to undergo an abortion. The family informed the Gardaí of their decision and asked whether the foetus could be tested after it was aborted to provide proof of the paternity of the accused in the rape case.

The Gardaí then asked the Director of Public Prosecutions whether such evidence would be admissible in court. The DPP liaised with the Attorney General Harry Whelehan.

The parents of the 14 year old child, were talking her to the UK for the good of her health and life and were trying to make sure the man who had raped her would not go unpunished.

That was 21 years ago and we have had 2 referendums and 1 Supreme court ruling and X Case has not been legislated for and there is still no law.

The current government have legislating for X in their program for government but again we are seeing more delay tactics.

Cabinet update on abortion law delayed | Irish Examiner.

Dr Reilly has said he hopes the measures will become law by July.

Women in Ireland are breaking the law to have medical abortions

Seizures of the abortion pill have been on going for the last 4 years in this country and women are ordering the medications and using them to end their pregnancies at home.

In doing this they face criminal charges for importing the medication with out a license and the charge of self preforming an abortion and that under the 1861 Offenses against the Person Act can carry a sentence of a life time in prison.

Claire ordered drugs online and had an abortion at home. This is her story… | Irish Examiner.

Her abortion will never appear on a list of official figures, but she does exist, it did happen and her story deserves to be told.

I get pretty concerned about this, I know that the abortion pill works well and a woman will haven an induced miscarriage over 1 to 3 days and it only works in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy but it still has risks and should only be taken and used with medical supervision which women in Ireland are not getting and if anything goes wrong it is difficult for women to get medical help.

Still this piece is brave and taboo breaking and it is wonderful to see that we are starting to hear the real stories of women, the choices they making and the risks they are having to take in a country which holds an embryo has the same rights as we do.

My Abortion Activism

My abortion activism goes back about two decades at this stage, I used to write the Women’s Information Network’s illegal abortion information phone number 01 6794700 on the blackboards of the 6th year classrooms early in the mornings before anyone else was in.

Needless to say this caused uproar in the convent school I attended: when teachers and the head nun had an inkling it was me I was told to present myself at the office when I arrived each morning. They were going to use the absence of the number to prove it was me and someone else started chalking it on the black boards and it started to appear on the cubicle walls in the toilets in the school.

This was back before the 1992 referendum which made information related to abortion legal. I grew up in an Ireland were magazines were censored and so were UK phone books all over the country, long before it was possible to look up information on the internet. I have been pro choice having seen what family members went through in an Ireland which didn’t talk about miscarriage and treated unmarried mothers badly.

Even after the 1992 while information wasn’t censored, only drs and counselors were to give information to women who were looking for it and that is still the case to day. Before anyone could google B.P.A.S. and get information giving information verbally or a booklet or a photocopy could get you into legal hot water.

When I went to college I got even more involved in pro choice activism, I continued to act as an information point for women*. I had gotten my hands on a bunch of booklets “Traveling to Liverpool: a guide for Irish women” which were produced in 1994 and some activist training and would use them to help women, from teenagers to women in their 40s who didn’t know were to go, were too far away from the I.F.P.A. clinics and so would try their luck with the local college.

This was often a risky adventure, there were those in the college esp the college nurse who opposed me doing this, she was involved with the local Cura Branch and I had heard of other people who were giving out information that they would try and record me. If I wasn’t sure I would arrange to meet people and then accidentally leave behind pages with info on them after saying I could not help.

I also traveled with women over the years and if I didn’t travel with them checked in with them after wards, to make sure they took it easy, so many students who lived away from home during the week would travel and come back to digs or rented house and needed someone to make them tea and listen.

I remember the name of every person I helped back then and when they traveled and some for years later I would get a card or mostly an email to the address I had back then to say thank you or just to have someone who knew to communicate with. So many women edit out that time in their life from their narrative. They box it off don’t think about it, don’t talk about it ever, to anyone and go on to have partners and start families and it’s never mentioned. Not even when dealing with medical professionals in maternity hospitals.

Even after college it didn’t stop, I left an email address with certain people and they would refer people on but soon it was possible to search for information on the internet, but I still ended up being a point of contact and information and the same when I got involved in online communities, way before even bebo. Even in those places when I would talk about the topic in general women would contact me privately to share their stories.

My abortion activism has always been part of my sex education, contraception and Choice activism. I have passed on information on adoption and supports for being a single parent as well over the years but when there were so few places to get abortion information and support most of my first contact encounters over the year have been about abortion.

So many women over the years have shared their stories with me, easily close to 100,
but they would only be `not even .1 % of the 150,000 Irish women we have stats on who have traveled to the UK.

These days there is more information and support but hopefully the day will come when we don’t have to travel.

* I use the term women in my post not to be exclusionary, but as I have not yet knowingly had a transman talk to me about their story or approach me for information.

Helpful links if you need them.

www.ifpa.ie
www.positiveoptions.ie
www.bpas.ie
www.mariestopes.org.uk
www.abortionsupport.org.uk

Abortion Training for Irish Doctors.

A little while ago I wrote about Irish Abortion Providers and what type they may be and how “even with all the Drs we train in this country none of them are trained to carry the procedures needed.”

There has thankfully been some movement on this.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/doctors-offered-uk-abortion-training-219561.html

Doctors offered UK abortion training

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Irish medical students have applied for a course offering training in abortion care at a London clinic.

The one-week externships, at the largest London clinic of the British Pregnancy Advisory Services in Richmond, will allow students witness how abortion procedures are carried out.

According to Medical Students For Choice, which supports the BPAS programme, it gives students the opportunity to learn about aspects of women’s healthcare that are not part of routine medical training courses in Ireland.

“At the moment in Ireland, there is a lot of stuff they don’t go over [in medical education] such as how to do it [abortions] and the circumstances in which an abortion can be performed,” said MSFC member Amelia Reid. “A lot of medical students are scared about finding themselves in a situation where they need to know what to do to save a life.”

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A BPAS spokeswoman said the only criteria for taking part in the course was that the medical student had completed one year of medical school, had a basic medical knowledge, an understanding of confidentiality and ethics, and was able to explain in writing why they wanted to take part. She said they were not looking for students “at an advanced point in their studies”, although such students would not be excluded.

The spokeswoman said students would get a “complete overview” of the patient’s experience at the clinic, from pre-abortion counselling to choices for contraception afterwards.

She said BPAS opened the course to applicants in Irish medical schools after last year’s course — the first British course run by BPAS — attracted considerable attention from Ireland. As part of the course, students will also work with Antenatal Choices and Results, a charity that supports parents whose unborn baby is diagnosed with foetal anomaly.

Richard Lyus, who will mentor students on the BPAS scheme, said they were looking ahead “to a time when the law enables doctors in Ireland to provide abortion care to all women who need it”.

“We hope these placements will give Ireland’s next generation of doctors important insight into the needs of women in this situation, which they can make use of in the course of their careers,” said Dr Lyus.

Ms Reid said MSFC has a presence in all of the medical schools in Ireland, with the exception of University College Cork.

She said approximately 250 students in Ireland joined MSFC’s database since it set up here two years ago and that it hoped to provide financial assistance to Irish students accepted on the BPAS course. The educational aspect of the course is provided free of charge, courtesy of BPAS.

If you want to know more about Medical Students For Choice you can find them here:
http://www.msfc.ie/

And if you want to know more about Doctors For Choice you can find them here:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doctors-For-Choice-Ireland/522714117761585
https://twitter.com/Doctors4Choice