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Bill put forward in Ireland to reduce sentence for abortion from 14 years to €1

(42 Posts)
OneWithTheForce Tue 21-Feb-17 23:24:00


I think it's a great idea to get that discussion opened- no punishment is clearly not acceptable hmm so what is enough? I highly doubt €1 will satisfy those who wish to see women publically flogged, what will? I suspect it will remain fixed at 14 years sad

OneWithTheForce Wed 22-Feb-17 09:18:48


0phelia Wed 22-Feb-17 09:28:37

I'm not Irish but I understand much of Irish constitution is based on religious grounds, and a bit regressive.
I hope the bill passes.
Will watch this. Thanks.

PreemptiveSalvageEngineer Wed 22-Feb-17 09:29:56

I agree: the people who want abortion legalised will hate this, and the people who want to burn the witches will hate this. It's unworkable. - I wonder if it's meant to be so?

FourToTheFloor Wed 22-Feb-17 09:31:25

I think it will be passed. The country is righting a lot of their wrongs and this is a huge one.

InfinityPlusOne Wed 22-Feb-17 09:34:15

It's been brought by the opposition. The chances of it passing are slim to none I would think but I would very much like to be wrong on that.

OneWithTheForce Wed 22-Feb-17 09:41:43

I would love to see it passed (for now) but it really sticks in my throat. Much better a Euro than a 14 year sentence though for those who need abortions.

If passed will this mean abortion will be slightly more accessible? Will there be providers willing to pay a €1 fine or will the law still prevent this?

MrsDustyBusty Wed 22-Feb-17 09:47:49

No, it won't mean abortion will be accessible. There are no legal providers. I also don't know of anyone who's been prosecuted and imprisoned for performing an abortion. This would be a symbolic act if it passes, but to be honest, there's stuff going on now that makes it very unlikely that there's any appetite to discuss this at all.

AppalachianWalzing Wed 22-Feb-17 09:49:39

There is absolutely no way this will be passed, or that the people who brought it think it will be passed.

It's an opposition tactic to bring more attention to this issue. There is also going to be a 'strike' in March. Campaigners are trying to ensure attention stays focussed.

The current 'process' is it's being debated by the citizens assembly- a randomly chosen group of citizens designed to be a cross section who have been meeting with experts and will report back to government. In one way it's yet another delaying tactic, but some of their questions/comments that have come out have been quite funny - there was one where they expressed concern that pro-life submissions were entirely emotional with no facts. And ultimately, there will be no getting out of taking action once it's through.

No government has wanted to have a referendum because of how divisive it is, but they're running out of options. There is no way change will be legislated for: it will go to the people. It's in the constitution (where it was added in the 80s by another referendum, btw, it's not always been there) and that's the only way to get it out.

Something I think is missed in this debate by people outside Ireland - and I think to some extent missed by the campaigners- is that there actually isn't a desire to punish sexually active women at the heart of this. At least, not by more than a tiny handful of people. Contraceptives and the morning after pill are freely available, it is entirely the norm to have children before marriage and incredibly unusual for people to marry young/without having lived together first. It's a very different situation to some of the conservative parts of the US who are also coming after contraception and teaching abstinence.

In ireland, the fact is: a large number of people really do believe life starts at conception, and need to be convinced otherwise. That is what everyone over the age of about thirty was taught in school. It's why there aren't rape and incest exemptions, the only exemption is threat to life of the mother. It's obviously horrifying, but it is internally coherent, and I think a lot of the argument is lost by ignoring the genuine concerns of people about when life starts who feel that it's a difficult choice but there is another voiceless person to be considered.

In reality, if it wasn't so easy -esp for the middle classes- to get to the UK and access abortion services, this would have changed years ago. Opinion is shifting hugely. But it will be very tight- people point to the same sex marriage referendum as a sign of progress, but it really isn't as simple as people with progressive views vs religious conservatives. There's a long way to go still.

InfinityPlusOne Wed 22-Feb-17 09:57:31

I think your analysis is spot on Appalachian. It is a different type of debate to that taking place in the US, Ireland is, when viewed overall, more liberal than many of the very conservative US states. People who happily voted for same sex marriage and would be appalled at any attempt to remove access to contraception may still struggle with the idea of abortion rights.

InfinityPlusOne Wed 22-Feb-17 10:02:14

I am very interested to see what the citizens assembly come up with (although I'd much prefer we had just had a referendum). I think so far the soundings are not cause for total pessimism and I do wonder what influence the findings might have on those who are somewhat undecided, if they go in favour of wider access to abortion.

MrsDustyBusty Wed 22-Feb-17 10:02:32

I would count my parents as people who believe that life starts at conception. They are utterly convinced of that and of the companion view that children at any stage of life are literally the most important people.

But they have no problem with gay marriage, people living together, single parents or any of that. They don't believe that women have a duty to serve or be servile.

They just literally cannot see a way that even the merest embryo isn't as important as any other living person.

VestalVirgin Wed 22-Feb-17 11:20:59

They just literally cannot see a way that even the merest embryo isn't as important as any other living person.

More important, you mean?

People are not forced to donate body parts for children that are already born, to keep them alive.

AppalachianWalzing Wed 22-Feb-17 12:01:40

^More important, you mean?

People are not forced to donate body parts for children that are already born, to keep them alive.^

I think the argument they would make is, if there is a risk to the life of a woman -including via her mental health- then abortion is permitted in those circumstances.

You are therefore weighing the choice of a woman to not be pregnant for a set period of time, vs the life of another human. That's not my view, but that's the argument, and that's the argument that needs to be addressed. And it can be addressed more convincingly by really engaging with the actual concerns and fears of the centrist voices who will swing this one way or another - not the religious zealots on one side whose view won't be swayed, or the diehard progressives on the other.

In reality, I think a lot of the life-begins-at-conception people would be blown away by the % figures of how high the rate of miscarriage, and chemical pregnancies are. The actual biological reality of pregnancy is just not part of the discussion. There has been a big public focus on fatal foetal abnormalities and again, I think the majority of people were shocked that people might be forced to carry to term in that situation. And the reality of being forced to carry a pregnancy, the risks to your own health, the implications of that- that also isn't really being discussed.

I am currently living in Dublin, and it's amazing how public this debate has become: people wearing repeal sweatshirts, badges etc. And on the one hand this is great, but on the other, if it becomes polarised to too great an extent, then it will become generational. The people who grew up feeling instinctively abortion were wrong won't be engaged, they'll be pilloried, and will dig into their positions and it may take another twenty years.

MrsDustyBusty Wed 22-Feb-17 21:43:09

More important, you mean?

Well I don't know. They would never say that and it would be completely unfair to speculate on their behalf (these people aren't a rhetorical device, they do exist). They do believe that the caveat regarding the life of the mother is sufficient protection though and have said that in the case of fatal foetal abnormality an exception should be made.

TeiTetua Thu 23-Feb-17 17:48:22

I think the death of Savita Halappanavar wasn't totally in vain, it really got Irish people thinking about what their laws lead to. And of course, even Ireland has joined the rest of the civilised world(!!) over issues like gay marriage and sex for single people, and the Catholic church has been discredited over and over again, regarding anything to do with sexuality.

You don't have to be very old to remember that they had a referendum in Ireland on whether to allow divorce (in 1986, I just looked it up) and it failed by a good margin. A second referendum just squeaked by in 1995. Ireland hasn't been doing this stuff for very long.

InfinityPlusOne Thu 23-Feb-17 18:15:33

even Ireland has joined the rest of the civilised world(!!)

Did you intend this to be so patronising? Ireland was actually ahead of most of the civilised world in legalising gay marriage, by referendum as well you should note. The country has come a little by way in a short time. Our laws in relation to transgender people are amongst the most liberal in the world (whether or not posters would be in agreement with that controversial issue). Ireland is now liberal overall but abortion remains a very divisive issue.

InfinityPlusOne Thu 23-Feb-17 18:16:34

* little by way should be long way. Fat thumbs and autocorrect are not a good mix.

TeiTetua Fri 24-Feb-17 16:11:16

I'm sorry if you think I was rude, but from a feminist viewpoint, Ireland has a terrible past to overcome, and I won't back down over saying that. Of course there have been some welcome changes recently, in law and people's attitudes. Abortion being a major exception.

InfinityPlusOne Fri 24-Feb-17 18:32:42

I agree there's a terrible history and a lot still to be done but the reference to 'civilised country' was a bit unfair I felt. The tide is turning, albeit far too slowly for most of us and there has been a lot of progress in recent times.

MarDhea Fri 24-Feb-17 19:16:36

TeiTetua but you didn't use the phrase "civilised world" with reference to women's reproductive health or feminism more broadly. You used it in reference to marriage equality and what's presumably meant to be moralising about sex outside marriage:
even Ireland has joined the rest of the civilised world(!!) over issues like gay marriage and sex for single people

You should sure as hell back down from that sneery and condescending statement, and do so without pretending you were taking about abortion all along. angry

InfinityPlusOne Fri 24-Feb-17 19:22:25

I did notice the 'sorry if you think' aka non apology too.

MarDhea Fri 24-Feb-17 19:52:40

infinity Quite.

And I didn't even get into the assertion by a previous pp that the Irish constitution is religious and regressive. (It guarantees freedom of worship and forbids the creation of a state-established church, ffs!). The 8th amendment needs repealing, and personally I'd have a go at a couple of articles that read outdated, but on the international stage it's considered a decent, modern constitution.

MrsDustyBusty Sat 25-Feb-17 07:58:24

I've seen lots of entreaties to Ireland to join the civilised world on cif so I think there's a certain kind of liberal person who reckons it's actually helpful and not at all patronising.

ithakabythesea Sat 25-Feb-17 08:26:52

I get where TeiTetua is coming from, I don't think of Ireland as a civilised country in relation to its attitude to women's rights. Gay marriage got through because it benefits men. I don't see that as a major shift in societal sexism. You can squawk all you like, but if Ireland wants to look like a decent developed nation it needs to start acting like one in relation to women's reproductive choices. This is not a small or marginal issue it is central to women's equality.

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