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To feel glad/relieved Ireland is voting through Abortion Bill

(672 Posts)
ARealDame Tue 16-Jul-13 10:17:02

Its only a bare minimum - in the case of a woman's life being threatened - but it is also a massive sea change, on this sensitive issue. The vote in the Lower House was 127:31.

(Mary Kenny wrote very interestingly in the Times about it - saying that although the Church has played a role, much of the opposition was to do with Ireland's fear of "depopulation". Partly because of Ireland's history - famine, mass emigration. But also due to a rural pro-natalist mindset. In agricultural communities another child is "another pair of hands". In cities, another child is "another mouth to feed".)

ComposHat Belgium Tue 16-Jul-13 13:51:22

How is that framed in the constitution? Does it specifially mention the fetus as having a right? If so how are they amending the law now without another referendum?

I certainly wouldn't consider a fetus to be an independent life.

PrivateBenjamin Tue 16-Jul-13 13:52:03

I agree that these laws don't go anywhere near far enough.

It would still be illegal for a woman carrying a foetus that has a fatal abnormality (i.e. would die immediately or shortly after birth) to have an abortion. If this abnormality was found on the 20 week scan the woman would then have to carry the child to term, knowing that the child would never survive, or she could travel to a different country for an abortion, with all the stress and cost involved in that. It is completely inhumane.

I am fully pro-choice and support abortion on demand, but I would have thought that fatal foetal abnormality would be the supported by most people and the laws would reflect that. Not this tiny little 'concession' that they have voted through.

amessageforyouYoni Tue 16-Jul-13 13:52:43

I agree - a disgrace.

The strangle hold the RC Church has had on Ireland for so long has really warped Irish society and public affairs. It saddens me that this is still happening in the 21st century.

I love Ireland, I visit regularly, love my Irish friends and family, and would certainly never boycott the country because of this issue(although I am passionately pro-choice), but I find the state of affairs re: abortion in Ireland deeply depressing and disturbing.

What can be done, in practical terms? I would definitely support any action on this issue.

I don't agree with your comment about 'pro-natalist agricultural communities'

I live in rural west of ireland in a farming community. Most people I've spoken to are totally in support of this bill and do want a change in legislation. Even the pro-life people I've spoken to do not agree with protecting a baby if it kills the mother, they do no agree with a 13/14 year old child having a baby against her will, they do not agree that a rape victim should carry her rapists child.

Very few want a situation like in the US or Britain where abortion is a form of emergency contraception for many, however most do want some access to abortion. The suicide risk section has been retained which is brilliant as it makes the procedure available to all women in reality (which I'm sure was the intended purpose all along)

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 16-Jul-13 13:54:22

Having said that at least 35,000 people marched the other week against THIS bill. This incredibly restrictive bill that would horrify pretty much any other western democracy.

Those people exist, they are ordinary Irish people (admittedly on the old side and their buses and placards are bankrolled by Americans). They are part of the problem. They would have women die to preserve the illusion abortion doesn't happen here. That is misogyny.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 16-Jul-13 13:57:40

Interestingly, every Irish woman of childbearing age (ie 45 or so and under) was too young to vote in the 1983 referendum that put this stupid clause into our Constitution.

That clause kills women, it turns a blind eye to their physical and mental health, it forces them to remain pregnant with babies doomed to painful deaths. And none of us had a say in it.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Tue 16-Jul-13 13:57:45

Compos, the wording was originally "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."

It has been changed a bit, but any change to make it more liberal and to allow abortion on demand would be defeated. Simply because there is a large proportion of the population who are older and entrenched in their views (and the emigration of a large number of younger people), a significant number of younger extreme anti-abortion people, and a significant number who would always want the wording to be even more liberal.

I honestly believe that it will be another 20 years before the population shift would allow an abortion amendment to pass.

Having said that, I think this one is ridiculous. Far too narrow, unnecessary and a sop to Europe. But it will make no difference whatsoever to anyone who wants to have an abortion - they will still have to travel.

doingthesplitz Tue 16-Jul-13 13:58:05

It's not that straightforward though. I think a recent poll showed that over 60% of the voting population didn't agree with abortion simply when a woman felt it was in her best interests. Although I think the same poll did show a high percentage felt it should be allowed where the mother's life is at risk - which I think it is anyway??? Open to correction on that.

skylerwhite Tue 16-Jul-13 14:00:20

Women in Northern Ireland have to travel as well, don't forget. Part of the UK, Compos.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 16-Jul-13 14:01:14

If they CAN travel sad

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 16-Jul-13 14:02:34

A Marie Stopes clinic opened in Belfast last year but its remit is very limited. Irish women can't use it I believe. They still have to go to Liverpool/Manchester/London etc.

squoosh Tue 16-Jul-13 14:03:31

20 years at least until there is abortion available to Irish women in Ireland. Don't forget divorce wasn't made legal in Ireland till 1994 (I think) and even then it was only voted in by the public by the skin of its teeth. Having said that you don't hear people seeking to have it banned again.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Tue 16-Jul-13 14:03:36

Yes, exactly HoldMe.

It's ridiculous.

The alternative which I believe will become more common is ordering medical abortion pills on the internet. Which is equivalent to the old back-street abortions and just as dangerous.

doing... 'best interests' is a broad term open to interpretation. As I said, just based on my own conversations most people are against the casual use of abortions which is available in other countries. As am I. I'm not pro-life, I do feel abortion is necessary or preferable in some situations, but it horrifies me how casually it's thrown about as an option a lot of the time.

So does 'best interests' mean for the metal health and physical well being of the mother? Or does it mean 'it's a bit inconvenient to have a baby right now'.... because those two statements elicit very different responses from people who see abortion as a medical necessity (physical or mental health) rather than a procedure of convenience.

PrivateBenjamin Tue 16-Jul-13 14:06:43

Exactly. A lot of women are not in a position to travel. They might be young, poor, living with parents or living with an abusive partner. They shouldn't have to seek medical help in another country just because their own country refuses to grant them rights over their own body.

How could anybody be happy with the status quo at the moment where the Irish government knows that women require this service, but is happy for another country to provide it just to preserve their own political skins?

ComposHat Belgium Tue 16-Jul-13 14:10:11

I'm not on a uk is ace trip here NI is its own fucked up can of worms. Like Scotland it also has its own legal system.

However if you were pregnant and giving birth threatened ypur life or knew the fetus would be born dead or aby other circumstances of that ilk, would you rather be in Dublin or London (or almost any other modern European capital? )

doingthesplitz Tue 16-Jul-13 14:11:16

doing... 'best interests' is a broad term open to interpretation. As I said, just based on my own conversations most people are against the casual use of abortions which is available in other countries.[Quote]

I agree. As I said,DH is Irish so we go there a lot. Even amongst his younger siblings and cousins there doesn't seem to be support for abortion on demand and a lot of them think it is far too freely available in the UK. I'm not talking about elderly women walking around in shawls, but young, uber modern, highly educated females.

skylerwhite Tue 16-Jul-13 14:18:29

I'm pro-choice, so I'd absolutely rather be in London. I just don't think that it's helpful to be so condescending about another country's laws on this issue, particularly when your own country (if you're in the UK) doesn't even extend the same rights to all its citizens.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Tue 16-Jul-13 14:19:27

Yes, I agree about many people in Ireland being very against the perceived casual use of abortion as a method of birth control in some countries.

I find it interesting that having had conversations over the years with my teenage children and their friends I have yet to meet one who thinks it would be ok to have an abortion if they (or their g/f) got pregnant. They are all very much against abortion. That's in theory of course. I have no idea how they would feel or what they would do if it actually happened.

Having said that, I think there would be a lot of support for abortion on demand up to a certain date, possibly three months or whenever it is possible to do non-surgical abortions, and I think this should be what the politicians work towards.

The anti-abortion-in-all-circumstances-because-it's-murder people are jumping on the fact that there is no time limit in the current legislation, so theoretically this is abortion up to term as long as you can prove you are suicidal hmm.

Freely available abortion on demand up to term will never, imo, get through a referendum.

ComposHat Belgium Tue 16-Jul-13 14:22:04

I sm not being condescending I am calling it what it is...state sanctioned misogyny

Lottapianos Tue 16-Jul-13 14:30:12

This perception about 'casual' abortion seems to me to be like the perceived benefit scrounging that goes on here in the UK. Some sections of the media have done a great job of digging up the most extreme cases and suggesting that this is the norm. Just as couples who have 11 children and live on benefits in a 10 bedroom house are not the norm, neither is it the norm for women to have a 'casual' attitude to a medical procedure which is still surrounded in shame in certain circles.

IME, the concern about 'casual' abortions is just a mask for concern about women having total control over their own bodies, and a difficulty acknowledging that an embryo is an embryo, not a baby, just as a fetus is a fetus, not a baby.

rhetorician Tue 16-Jul-13 16:56:12

Maryz as far as I understand it women who do order such pills on the Internet will be subject to pretty stringent sentences. I live here and I don't feel that I live in a theocracy, it's not as blatant as that, much more subtle, a lot of it is unspoken. So when DP had odds of 1:11 for dd2 and abnormalities no one gave us any options. They said something vague about phone numbers, which was the advice. Luckily it came to nothing and we wouldn't have terminated anyway, but the prospect of sending DP to England, alone (we have an older child who was then only 2) to face such a thing just seemed cruel and in humane. Plus the fact that it would have been difficult to go public if that had been our decision.

At the end of the day women in this state do not have autonomy over their own bodies. That is shocking. There is a powerful legacy of deeply patriarchal rule and alienation of most people from political decision making processes. The pro life position for the most part is sincerely held and most people I know wouldn't object in extreme circumstances.

I personally am pro choice but anti abortion. I believe that it is up to an individual to make this most difficult of decisions, and that no person has the right to deny a woman an abortion.

Poppycattlepetal Tue 16-Jul-13 17:47:20

Lotta and Private. Fortunately there is a voluntary group who (financially, practically and emotionally) can help Irish women who are forced to travel to Britain because their own government refuses to take proper care of half of the population by providing a safe, legal, accessible abortion service. https://www.abortionsupport.org.uk/

Unfortunately the Irish govt are not uniquely monstrous in imposing this burden on women- it's the same for UK women and girls if they live in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man. No help there either.

The situation in Ireland, NI etc just means many women must get into debt, or have to wait to have a much later abortion than would otherwise be necessary, because of the necessity to save up for private abortion fees, accomodation and travel to Britain and costs while over here.

I can't believe the heartlessness of the situation when these hypocritical politicians know full well what goes on. Imagine the psychological burden of having to invent a plausible 'reason' for such a trip at short notice, find hundreds of pounds from somewhere, find childcare for your kids while away and then carry all that stigma and secrecy possibly completely on your own, for years on end.

Or the other 'option'- ordering pills off the Internet that is completely unregulated (and may not be what they say they are) and then either trying to treat yourself at home in secret without proper medical support, or going to the doctor pretending you're having a miscarriage and being terrified of them being able to tell what you have done.

It's horrific what women are put through in this day and age and this new law doesn't look like much of an improvement. I hope they follow up with something more wide ranging soon.

farewellfarewell Tue 16-Jul-13 17:58:48

Agree that many young Irish people are opposed to unrestricted abortion, the notion that only "old" people feel this way hmm I agree with you doing Ireland is a democracy remember?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 16-Jul-13 19:17:48

It is still not socially acceptable to be pro-choice I think.

It is in certain circumstances but you need to be careful who you "come out" too, you might be judged or shamed.

A lot of young people might not express pro-choice views to older people, or to their families, because they don't know how they will be received.

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