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Galway Pro-Choice Press Statement 16/11/12 November 16, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to GP-C for the following:

The country is still reeling from the news of Savita’s tragic and needless death. Demonstrations from a range of outraged groups and individuals have spontaneously taken place around the country, and across the world. The lack of swift action from the Government is a concern for many.

In Galway City, a vigil will be held for Savita on Saturday at 5.00pm, in Eyre Square. A large turnout is expected.

In light of recent developments, Galway Pro-Choice puts forward four demands:

We must legislate on the X Case immediately; Government statements that it will take months to get legal clarity are unacceptable. Minister Reilly has indicated that it may take weeks or months for him to bring the Expert Group Report to Cabinet. It has also been stated that the Government will not act until the investigations are completed, which are due to take at least three months. We cannot afford to wait such a length of time for action on life-saving abortion in this country. The impossible limbo that doctors are in has been illustrated by this tragedy. Legislation must be implemented immediately, or more women may die.

Minister Reilly must instigate a fully independent public inquiry now. The presence of only one independent expert in the HSE’s investigation is intolerable. We cannot expect UCHG or the HSE to be truly objective in this situation and to reach independent conclusions. Therefore we are calling for a fully independent public inquiry, to be commissioned immediately.

The Expert Group Report should be released to the public immediately. There is a need for full transparency with an issue as grave as this, and we call on Minister Reilly to make the report public immediately. There is no good reason not to share this information with the public.

The only way to safeguard the health of pregnant women in Ireland is to guarantee free, safe, and legal abortion for all women. Applicant A in the ABC Case is an example of how the criminalisation of abortion can have devastating effects on women’s lives. Suffering from severe mental illness, she had four children who were temporarily under the care of the state. Unable to afford an abortion yet worried that another child would jeopardise the reunification of her family, she was ultimately forced to borrow money from a money lender in order to travel to England to obtain the procedure. There are countless situations in which women may choose to have an abortion; none of them easy and all of them valid. Savita should have been given the opportunity to control her own body.

Sarah McCarthy, Galway Pro-Choice Spokesperson stated:

“The Government response to this is just a repetition of history. Once more we have a small group of powerful men keeping information from the public and making decisions about women’s lives themselves. Why isn’t the Expert Group Report being made public; can Irish women not be trusted to make up their own minds?”

Rachel Donnelly, Galway Pro-Choice member said:

“Demonstrations have sprung up around the country, and across the world. The reaction that we’ve gotten here in Galway has been incredible. It is vital that we don’t let this tragedy pass from our consciousness with the turning of the news cycle. We must honour her memory, and continue to exert pressure until the Government listens to the people of Ireland. The vast majority of people agree that we have to legislate for the X Case. There is no reason to delay it another day.”

John Walsh, Galway Pro-Choice member said:

“We have had twenty years to get legal clarity on this issue. It is utterly unacceptable to wait any longer. Yet, the Government seem set to spend the coming months wringing their hands and hiding behind expert groups and reports. In the meantime, more women may die”

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Comments»

1. CL - November 17, 2012

Is there an explanation besides religious fundamentalism for this atrocity?
The criminal negligence of successive governments in failing to legislate on the X case denied Savita her right to life.
The F.G/Labour govt. perpetuates the barbarism by continuing to succumb to the power of the medieval catholic ethos.

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2. Tomboktu - November 17, 2012
CL - November 17, 2012

“We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”Prof O’Dwyer.
So where a woman is raped and forced to give birth because abortion is prohibited she would according to Dr. O’Dwyer still receive ‘optimal’ mental and physical health care. Maybe Dr. O’Dwyer is a consultant to the Taliban.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

He was a member of the Pro-Life Amendment Campaign. One of the event’s other organisations was Eoghan de Faoite of Youth Defence. Every single speaker was already noted for their anti-abortion views, something the Times article curiously failed to highlight.

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Tomboktu - November 17, 2012

I would say the Irish Times didn’t report it because they felt it was patently obvious from the content of the report. What I do find interesting is where Eamon O’Dwyer had been professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. Maybe that tells us something about the de facto ethos where Ms Halappanavar had been a patient.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

I would say the Irish Times didn’t report it because they felt it was patently obvious from the content of the report.

Judging by the number of times I’ve had to point it out to people who weren’t aware of it, obviously they were wrong.

What I do find interesting is where Eamon O’Dwyer had been professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. Maybe that tells us something about the de facto ethos where Ms Halappanavar had been a patient.

It’s not only in that hospital where things like this have happened, unfortunately.

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3. GM - November 17, 2012

Why are only two alternatives ever discussed: criminalisation (what the pro-life crowd wants) and “free, safe and legal” abortion (what the pro-choice crowd wants)? There is a sensible viewpoint which says that it should be a matter of conscience and that the government shouldn’t necessarily do anything about it one way or the other, neither banning it nor providing free abortions on demand.

I have sympathy for all the pro-choice people who want some change but my sympathy evaporates when I see that they want to force pro-life people to pay through the tax system for activities which those people consider to be the murder of children.

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smiffy - November 17, 2012

Well, that’s a view I hadn’t heard before. Who’s says there’s nothing new under the sun?

I think the ‘free, safe and legal’ argument is made in the context of viewing abortion as a medical procedure, which shouldn’t be treated as different to others. All medical services should be free, safe and legal.

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WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

@GM Is it the belief that it is murder that trumps choice for you? Or is it the principle of disagreement?

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GM - November 17, 2012

@WbS: I don’t like when my UK taxes are spent on death and destruction in the Middle East. That’s not just because I wish I could spend the money on myself, but because I actively have a moral problem with what my money is being spent on. It’s the same for pro-life people and abortion. Taxing people to pay for things which they ethically disagree with means denying their right to express their ethical point of view. It’s wrong, and the culture wars are ridiculous – everybody should simply stop trying to force their opinion on everybody else. Conservatives have been guilty of it but so have the Left.

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WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

I’m not sure expressing an ethical point of view is prevented by taxing a person to pay for something they disagree with. They’ve still got every opportunity to express their view and try to change the law.

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GM - November 17, 2012

But paying and refusing to pay for things are an important part of self-expression. This is why political donations are regularly categorised as free speech. It would only be worse if we didn’t have the right even to express our views!

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

But paying and refusing to pay for things are an important part of self-expression. This is why political donations are regularly categorised as free speech.

Yet even in the US, which has taken this categorisation further than most countries, there is no free speech right to decide where your taxes go (other than through the electoral and, in some states, referendum process). If the government decides to publicly fund lone parents’ allowance, you’re paying for lone parents’ allowance, even if you think all those single mothers should just put their kids in day care and get jobs.

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GM - November 17, 2012

To express our views verbally, that is…

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GM - November 17, 2012

@Wendy, I do not go out of my way to defend the US.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

It can’t be simply a “matter of conscience” if some women are denied access to it because they can’t afford it. And while I understand the discomfort some people have with their tax money paying for it, are you happier with the idea of it being a for-profit industry?

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WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

Knowing GM s/he probably would at that.

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4. GM - November 17, 2012

@Wendy: that’s a false dichotomy – you and probably a million other people would happily support those who performed abortions on those who couldn’t afford to pay for it themselves.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

If you’re suggesting that the demand for abortion could be met entirely through charitable donations, I believe you’re sorely mistaken. This certainly doesn’t happen any place that I know of.

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GM - November 17, 2012

Most of the world operates on the assumption that something controversial should be either criminalised or subsidised.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/survey-reveals-strong-support-for-abortion-for-women-at-risk-of-death-567098.html

80% of Irish people think abortion should be allowed where the mother’s life at risk. That’s a lot of people who wouldn’t have an ethical objection to paying for someone to have an abortion. No need to put a gun to the heads of the people who think it’s child-killing and force them to pay too.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

Having no ethical objection to something and volunteering to pay for it are two different things, but I imagine you know that.

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GM - November 17, 2012

So you’re convinced that something should be paid for, but you’re not convinced that you can get other people to pay for it, and that’s why we need the guns of the State to make it happen – that same State which, paradoxically, rests on the support of the population which won’t voluntarily do what you want them to do. How bizarre.

I also think it’s worth pointing out that the tragedy which sparked this latest controversy had absolutely nothing to do with a lack of means.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

There’s nothing bizarre about it. Most people wouldn’t reach into their pockets to pay for other people’s social welfare benefits either, and the state has to fund these through taxes – even though most people aren’t opposed to them getting these benefits. A minority are opposed to it, and they have to pay for it too.

As for your second point, you’re the one who brought it up.

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GM - November 17, 2012

What’s bizarre is the logic behind it, not that this hypocritical outsourcing of difficult problems to the State is uncommon.

I raise the issue of a lack of means because the pro-choice people are asking for “free, safe and legal” again when “safe and legal” would have been sufficient to prevent this tragedy.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

not that this hypocritical outsourcing of difficult problems to the State is uncommon.

Given that I see the vindication of human rights as one of the fundamental roles of the state, obviously I wouldn’t agree with your characterisation of it as “outsourcing”. But what I find bizarre is that you don’t seem to equally apply that criticism to private charity.

I raise the issue of a lack of means because the pro-choice people are asking for “free, safe and legal” again when “safe and legal” would have been sufficient to prevent this tragedy.

But possibly not sufficient to prevent the next one.

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ejh - November 17, 2012

What a silly person you are.

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WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

No reason to say that now. In fairness GM is offering an analysis in a calm way.

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ejh - November 17, 2012

Also, weirdly, it now looks like I’m saying to Wendy, who is very much unsilly. Does WordPress reorganise comments in some curious way?

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GM - November 17, 2012

@Wendy, private charity is completely different because it does not conceitedly impose its goals on the rest of society.

And I know you think that about the State, it is the standard left-wing position which I also used to hold. It means that you are permanently at war with people who don’t want to pay for the things which you think should be paid for, and also with those like me who want a more peaceful future. I am certain that you will lose, partly because governments tend to go bankrupt when they try to do too much, but also because the internet means that millions of people are learning economics and the arguments for liberty much faster than at any previous time in human history.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

private charity is completely different because it does not conceitedly impose its goals on the rest of society

That doesn’t explain why it doesn’t amount to “outsourcing”.

the internet means that millions of people are learning economics and the arguments for liberty much faster than at any previous time in human history

I’ve been hearing this argument that the internet would create a world of libertarians for about 15 years. No sign of it happening yet.

Who said anything about defending the US, by the way?

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Dr.Nightdub - November 17, 2012

GM, taking your position to its (il)logical conclusion would mean there’d have to be a referendum every time any government department wanted to write a cheque. It’d be unworkable.

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GM - November 17, 2012

@ Wendy, it is hypocritical to get the government to pay through extortion for things which you don’t have the will to pay for yourself. In the case of free abortions and also in the case of welfare, it is clear that the vast majority of people are interested in helping the poor, and would be capable of giving a lot through charity if they really wanted to, but they prefer to do it by voting and trying to force richer people to pay for most of it through the tax system. That’s hypocrisy right there. It’s a vile system and I’m glad that it’s collapsing.

About the US – you made certain comments about the US (“no free speech right to decide where your taxes go”) – I wanted to reassure you that I have no interest in defending the economic policies of that country.

@ Dr Nightdub: The logical conclusion of my position is that government department should shut down and not write any more cheques. Fortunately, I don’t need to campaign on this issue. They will be shutting down sooner or later due to a lack of funds.

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Wendy Lyon - November 17, 2012

it is hypocritical to get the government to pay through extortion for things which you don’t have the will to pay for yourself.

No, what would be hypocritical would be to call something a “right” and then not want to ensure there was funding to make it accessible to everyone who needed it. There’s nothing hypocritical about thinking the best way to do that is for us all to pay for it out of our taxes rather than on an optional basis.

you made certain comments about the US (“no free speech right to decide where your taxes go”)

I said that’s the case “even in the US”, not in the US specifically.

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GM - November 17, 2012

@ Wendy,

I’d have a little bit more sympathy for this position of yours if there was some evidence that you were in favour of something like a fixed contribution from each person toward the causes that you so strongly believe in. Say €1,000 per annum from each person for maternity care, for example. However, I am quite confident that you think that those who earn more than you should pay more taxes than you, and therefore you are part of the hypocritical masses who have high ideals but want other people to take a greater share of the burden of actually implementing them.

Your hypocrisy is particularly evident in this abortion case, since it is public knowledge that a very large majority of Irish people think that an abortion should have been carried out. Poverty was not even an issue in this case, but even if it had been, it is evident that a large majority of Irish people would have wanted her to be helped. Your insistence that it should be paid for by the State anyway is based purely on a fanatical socialist ideology which flows from your own subjective whims and notions about what society ought to look like. The net outcome of this ideology is that unproductive yet idealistic people get to feel good about themselves despite not actually doing anything to help society.

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RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

If Wendy has a socialist ideology, GM, how is advocating a socialist/social democrat position (to wit, that medical procedures should be available to all and funded through progressive taxation) hypocritical?

If anything, it is the very model of consistency.

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WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

GM, the following makes no sense.

I’d have a little bit more sympathy for this position of yours if there was some evidence that you were in favour of something like a fixed contribution from each person toward the causes that you so strongly believe in. Say €1,000 per annum from each person for maternity care, for example. However, I am quite confident that you think that those who earn more than you should pay more taxes than you, and therefore you are part of the hypocritical masses who have high ideals but want other people to take a greater share of the burden of actually implementing them.

You seem to believe that firstly left wingers are generally on fixed incomes and presumably low ones at that and that if their incomes increased they would resile from paying higher rates of tax. But that makes no sense at all. I’ve had across my life various levels of income, sometimes lower rate, sometimes higher rate of tax and with varying rates of remuneration accordingly. I’ve never once felt that I shouldn’t bear a greater burden when I made more money. Quite the opposite. And of course if I made more money again I’d expect to shoulder a greater burden again. Where is the hypocrisy?

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RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

Also most people are arguing for a fixed contribution from everyone: a percentage of their annual income that rises as you go higher up the income scale.

GM has seemingly conflated a series of different arguments (a flat tax, an argument on the immorality of forced payments/taxation, an argument on the right to dissent) into one rather confused soup.

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5. sonofstan - November 17, 2012

GM, to think that they are ‘your’ taxes is to entirely misunderstand the history and the function of taxation. Your relationship with the state is not one of a consumer.

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Tomboktu - November 17, 2012

Your relationship with the state is not one of a consumer.

Although Eoin O’Dell has noted a recent pair of constitutional cases, one in Ireland and one in the USA, where a market analysis of constituional provisions was used by the respective supreme courts.

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sonofstan - November 17, 2012

That’s interesting thanks; although a quick scan of the article seems to suggest a ‘contractual analysis’ rather than a ‘market analysis’? – not all contracts are commercial ones

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Tomboktu - November 17, 2012

true

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CL - November 17, 2012

The neoliberal ideology has penetrated all aspects of life including the law.

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6. CL - November 17, 2012
WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

Some of the comments below that article are disgraceful.

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7. Starkadder - November 17, 2012

The “Irish Examiner”, nervously trying to negotiate a way
between the “extremists” it sees on both sides, defends
itself against recent accusations:


Indeed, pro-life campaigners, speaking at a church-gate rally, tried to organise a boycott of this newspaper alleging incorrectly that it is pro-abortion. Though nothing could be further from the truth, the claim was made with conviction and impunity. Had this or any other newspaper made equally inaccurate claims about an individual, the laws of libel would have been invoked immediately. Many other media and individuals have been subject to similarly wild and destructive claims.

Equally, Savita Halappenavar’s death has seen the hoary claims about a media conspiracy to have abortion legalised in Ireland aired one more time.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/editorial/moderates-must-not-be-cowed-by-zealots-214256.html

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WorldbyStorm - November 17, 2012

If the issue itself wasn’t so serious their craven attitude would be hilarious.

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8. tomasoflatharta - November 17, 2012

Abortion legislation will save women’s lives

Saving women’s lives is more important than saving the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition

The foundations of the right-wing Fine Gael / Labour Coalition are shaking, trembling, and rocking from side to side

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2012/11/17/irish-people-rising-up/#more-1800

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9. Tomboktu - November 17, 2012

ejh: “Also, weirdly, it now looks like I’m saying to Wendy, who is very much unsilly. Does WordPress reorganise comments in some curious way?

No. It (or at least, this template) limits the nesting of sub-discussions to five layers. If you want to reply to a comment by GM that is already in the fifth layer/indent, it is simply added to the bottom of any remarks made before you go in.

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10. Bartley - November 17, 2012

Reading through the discussion, I\’m flabbergasted to see the expansion in scope from:

– we must legislate for the X case! (absolutely agreed BTW)

to:

– abortion on demand now!

and then onto:

– abortion being a right, it must be tax-payer funded!

Neither of the latter two steps in that train of reasoning are relevant to the Savita case.

And tagging on demands that go way beyond what would be possible to carry democratically is just to sow the seeds of self-defeat.

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sonofstan - November 17, 2012

Who said the second two demands were in any way derivative of the first demand?

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Bartley - November 17, 2012

@sonofstan

The language of the statement itself implies one flows to the other, no?

The only way to safeguard the health of pregnant women in Ireland is to guarantee free, safe, and legal abortion for all women. … Savita should have been given the opportunity to control her own body.

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smiffy - November 17, 2012

Implementation of the X case judgement would not safeguard the health of pregnant women in Ireland.

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smiffy - November 17, 2012

Actually, no one is calling for “abortion on demand now” as everyone knows that it would require a Constitutional amendment to do so. That said, plenty of people (including me) support the repeal of the eighth amendment as soon as possible. In the meantime, the least that must be done is to legislate to give effect to the right to abortion currently enshrined in the Constitution.

Clarification over. Feel free to continue trolling.

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11. Ivorthorne - November 17, 2012

I wish people would wait for the report before jumping to conclusions? I’ve heard every claim under the sun about this case -it was the doctor’s moral objection, it was the hospital’s Catholic ethos, the operation couldn’t be carried out under the current law, the operation could have been carried out etc.

The only thing that is clear now is what was clear for a very long time – successive Irish governments have cowardly avoided legislating on this issue.

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CL - November 17, 2012

‘The only thing that is clear now is what was clear for a very long time – successive Irish governments have cowardly avoided legislating on this issue.’=
Exactly, and that’s where the catholic ethos comes in.

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Ivorthorne - November 17, 2012

I’m not seeing what you mean CL?

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CL - November 18, 2012

Successive governments have failed to legislate on the issue because they fear the ‘pro-life’ pressure groups whose power is based on the still extant, medieval, catholic ethos.

“But the era of aggressive traditionalism, the effort to make Ireland a Catholic beacon that would turn the tide in Europe, left a legacy of mangled law. A law that hangs over medics who make life and death decisions.

A woman is dead. The law is discredited, any woman who may become pregnant is left to worry about what might or might not happen. If that isn’t enough, for those concerned only with the bottom line, the failure to legislate has destroyed years of marketing Ireland as a modern state.

Voices already urge more cowardice. Leave it be, they say. What’s the hurry. Things are fine.

Never again, say the rest of us. And damn any politician who votes to take a Christmas holiday while this issue remains unresolved.”-Gene Kerrigan

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/a-woman-is-dead-never-again-please-3296754.html

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CL - November 18, 2012

“The death of Savita Halappananavar is the tragic and unnecessary result of the failure of Irish governments to introduce abortion legislation. The failure to separate Church and state has resulted in the Catholic Church in Ireland having an over-bearing, conservative grip on health and educational policies.”-Paul Murphy, MEP.

http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/international-day-of-action-for-legal-abortion-in-ireland-following-tragic-unnecessary-death-of-savita-halappanavar

The antediluvian forces are still in control and will not be easily defeated. Kenny is likely to proceed with maximum delay in the hope that the outrage will abate over time.

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tomasoflatharta - November 18, 2012

Ten out of ten to Gene Kerrigan again

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Ivorthorne - November 18, 2012

Their power doesn’t come from anything medieval. It comes from the fact that the pressure groups represent the views of many voters, and many of TDs depend on those voters to keep them in their current line of work.

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Mark P - November 18, 2012

That doesn’t really contradict Kerrigan, Ivor. He’s saying that many people still subscribe to a medieval catholic ethos.

He’s not being entirely fair mind you. The medieval church wasn’t nearly as backwards on abortion as the present one.

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Ivorthorne - November 18, 2012

I wasn’t really referring to Kerrigan’s piece Mark, but to one of CL’s responses to one of my earlier comments.

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CL - November 19, 2012

‘the pressure groups represent the views of many voters, and many of TDs depend on those voters to keep them in their current line of work.’-and many of these voters ‘still subscribe to a medieval catholic ethos’

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Ivorthorne - November 19, 2012

What ethos would you have them subscribe to?

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CL - November 19, 2012

Its not for me to tell people what ‘ethos they should subscribe to’.

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Wendy Lyon - November 18, 2012

Short of evidence that Savita’s husband was lying, I can’t see what the report could possibly say that wouldn’t lead to the only conclusion that matters: that (was left of) the foetus’s life was deemed more important than hers.

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12. doctorfive - November 17, 2012

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13. Gearóid - November 18, 2012

Re Catholicism’s influence on UCHG, the following was written by the Hospital’s Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for 35 years. http://www.consciencelaws.org/issues-ethical/ethical051.html

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smiffy - November 18, 2012

Interesting (and depressing).

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14. RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

By the by, Gerry Casey is on Marian Finucane. I think he should steer clear of the airwaves as it only serves to remind the populace of what an asshole he is.

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Wendy Lyon - November 18, 2012

I especially liked his prediction that we’ll all have forgotten about this in a week or two.

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RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

He is the most unappealing combination of a libertarian and a lifer. He demands that all men are free to choose, but women have to have the contents of their uterus governed by a committee.

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WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

Very true.

Re committee, that mgiht be literally true given some of the headlines this morning that I saw in the local newsagents…

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RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

Yes. It is a very real danger that legislation on the X case will involve a hearing where someone is appointed to advocate on behalf of the foetus. The upshot, by making the process complicated or overly legalistic, is that most cases will turn into a ‘slow no’ or doctors will simply refuse to initiate the process in less clear-cut cases.

Also, keep an eye out for some sort of opt-out on moral grounds and then consider what a judge in the UK said about this in 1939:

[T]here are people who, from what are said to be religious reasons, object to the operation being performed under any circumstances. That is not the law either. On the contrary, a person who holds such an opinion ought not to be an obstetrical surgeon, for if a case arose where the life of the woman could be saved by performing the operation and the doctor refused to perform it because of his religious opinions and the woman died, he would be in grave peril of being brought before this Court on a charge of manslaughter by negligence. He would have no better defence than a person who, again for some religious reason, refused to call in a doctor to attend his sick child, where a doctor could have been called in and the life of the child could have been saved. If the father, for a so-called religious reason, refused to call in a doctor, he also is answerable to the criminal law for the death of his child.

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sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Casey was giving a paper on Saturday afternoon to a conference in Newman House at exactly the time the march was kicking off, entitled ‘Is Tolerance Tolerable?’. He certainly manages to prove the opposite thesis – intolerance is intolerable.

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15. doctorfive - November 18, 2012

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16. Mark P - November 18, 2012

The turnout yesterday cheered me up, as did the push from the platform speakers towards getting the movement organised.

The demographics of the crowd were interesting: There were some older people present, but it seemed to be overwhelmingly made up of people between 20 and 40, which would perhaps indicate a significant generation shift in attitudes.

(As an aside, and flowing from recent discussions here, I was interested to see how much anger was expressed at Labour).

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sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Maybe us wrinklies are just blurs to you Mark :) – I met loads of people my age and older: and saw a lot more than ‘some’ I would have thought? And don’t forget, similar, probably greater numbers marched in ’92, when those of us who are older now would have being between 20-40 – if anything I think the generational shift was clearer then. Thing is, as you note, and as our conversation during it kind of proved, it was one of those rare enough demos where it was impossible to have a complete picture, either of the numbers or the composition – which is good.

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smiffy - November 18, 2012

Maybe it depends where you were. I was down at the back, and would have thought the age profile was much more mixed (but that could be a disproportionate number with buggies and kids who didn’t want to get squashed).

Turnout was good, but I think the call for 40,000 people on Wednesday was misplaced. It just leaves an unachievable hostage to fortune.

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sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Agree with that last bit.

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smiffy - November 18, 2012

Sorry, should have added ‘much more mixed than Mark P suggests, and not overwhelmingly 20-40′.

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Mark P - November 18, 2012

Fair point about it being hard to get a full picture on a march of that size, particularly when most of it took place at dusk or in the dark. However, my supporting “evidence” is from standing still at one point near O’Connell Bridge while almost the whole march went past, and a conversation with another person who had stood there for the whole thing (he was timing it).

My impression was that it was one of the more demographically homogenous marches I’ve been on (leaving aside obvious exceptions like student fees protests or pensions protests).

I agree about the 40,000 part, that was probably a little unwise. But, the emphasis from the platform on the need to get organised, and the decision to have people going around with boards signing people up en masse at the rally, was very welcome. The government are clearly trying to stretch things out, postpone it till the New Year and take the heat out of the situation. At which point it will be easier to postpone things again. The spontaneous anger that has fueled the first few protests is a great thing, but organisation is going to be necessary to fight a war of attrition, particularly when we remember that legislation for X is just a small starting point.

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17. maddurdu - November 18, 2012

http://www.thejournal.ie/james-reilly-x-case-legislation-government-679384-Nov2012/

This makes it sound like they’re going to try and kick the can further down the road.

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18. Brian Hanley - November 18, 2012

My impression of the march, and take into account it would be fair to say I’m a ‘glass half-empty’ type of person, was that it was nowhere near as big as 1992. Nor was it as militant. Now in 1992 the X-Case rape victim was still being prevented from leaving when the big Saturday march took place, so there was a focus, while yesterday was partly commemoration/vigil for a woman who had died so maybe that’s to be expected. But in 1992 the various activists (from WSM, DAIG etc) led the march down Grafton St, causing havoc, stopped outside a strike-bound Body Shop and forced it to close and then had a sit-down that blocked all the lanes on O’Connell Bridge.
Now yesterday I joined the march a bit late and was near the front, so I didn’t get a sense of the size of it until it arrived in Merrion Sq. There was all age-groups around me at the head of the march, though a small group of young women led all the chanting. Clare Daly, Catherine Murphy and Mick Wallace were the only TDs I saw. I have to say that I thought the make-up of the marchers (again only that I saw) was fairly ‘ABC1′. Once the speeches started people began streaming away, again a lot of them had small kids and buggies with them.
This is completely unscientific and if you were in the middle or down the back you may have had a very different view.

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19. D_D - November 18, 2012

My impression of the march was that it was easily comparable to 1992.

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20. Mark P - November 18, 2012

Have Sinn Fein made any comment on Peadar Toibin’s backwoodsman’s rebellion?

Is he just going to pull another no-show, or will he actually go out and vote against SF’s motion? I’m assuming that he’ll just go into hiding for the day, along with any other lifers in the SF Dail group?

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sonofstan - November 19, 2012

This from RTE:

“Asked whether Meath TD Peadar Tóibín, who did not sign the motion, would be expected to support it, she said: “It’s a Sinn Féin motion, and of course all members of Sinn Féin are expected to vote for it.”

She said there would be discussions with Mr Tóibín about the issue.

“We will have to deal with that as a matter of internal party management. We will be talking to Peadar over the coming days, Peadar is aware of the party position on all of these matters.”

She said Sinn Féin had taken the view at its last party conference not to opt for a free vote on the issue.”

did not consider it appropriate to operate on the basis of a free v

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LeftAtTheCross - November 19, 2012

It’ll be interesting for sure to see if there’s any party discipline on this issue within SF.

It’s not a rural/urban thing for them by the looks of it as their TDs for Sligo–North Leitrim, Donegal NE, and Laois/Offaly previously supported Clare Daly’s Bill.

On the voting record for Daly’s Bill the following TDs are also missing from the YES side, Sandra McLellan (Cork E), Jonathan O’Brien (Cork NC), Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan Monaghan). Doherty we know was at his father’s funeral so his absence was understandable.

Were the others also at the funeral, or is SF as divided on the pro-choice question as a casual glance at the voting record would suggest?

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sonofstan - November 19, 2012

Caoimhghín was at the funeral, according to someone – can’t remember who – on one of the other threads as official party rep. He would have supported the bill apparently.

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21. Alan MacSimoin - November 19, 2012

My memory of the big x-case march in 1992 was of 8,000 – 10,000. Saturday’s one seemed to be in the region of at least 15,000. The garda estimate was revised during the afternoon from 6,000 to 10,000 – 12,000. The organisers reckoned 20,000 and the WSM put it at about 17,000. The WSM say that their figure came from counting 500 passing a point in O’Connell Street in one minute and then counting how long the entire march took to pass.

The 1992 march, as Brian points out, was a lot more angry and militant. At that time there was the urgency of making the government withdraw their injunction on Ms X traveling to England, and the whole abortion issue was a lot more heated.

This week’s march was about sadness at Savita’s death, as much as anger at what had happened, That possibly explains it’s more restrained character.

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22. FergusD - November 19, 2012

Is the abortion policy of other EU countries ever discussed in the RoI? I n particular the UK., or at least England? Do the anti-abortion campaigners argue England is cess pit of immorality or what?

My impression is that in England (where I live) abortion is a non-issue for the vast majority, it is accepted as a woman’s right to choose, despite vociferous opposition back in the day (I remember SPUC being invited to speak at my non-Catholic state school – nobody from pro-choice groups invited).

The situation in NI OTOH seems rather confused:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20353104

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23. Mark P - November 19, 2012

Here are the signatories and text of a letter from more 50 MEPs calling on the government to legislate now:

http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/letter-to-taoiseach-from-meps-calling-for-abortion-legislation?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

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LeftAtTheCross - November 19, 2012

Good work by Paul Murphy. Given there are approximately 750 MEPs in the parliament, have you any insoght into why only 50 or so signed the letter? I note there are no signatories from the EPP, but the other groups all seem to be represented.

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Mark P - November 19, 2012

I don’t know, LATC.

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24. Mark P - November 19, 2012

http://www.politico.ie/home/5472.html

Above is a really great article from Magill explaining where the Pro Life Amendment Campaign came from and who were the main people and groups behind it. I had tended to assume that the main impetus came from the institutional church or people closely associated with the thinking of the hierarchy, and hadn’t realised the degree to which the main movers consisted of a small group of lay ultras, mostly doctors and lawyers.

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sonofstan - November 19, 2012

Indeed.

Vanguardism of the rearguard. You’re right, it’s a fascinating story. IIRC, some of the hierarchy were dubious about the whole project, only to find themselves on the end of quite vicious attacks from the PLAC people. They not only perverted the course of government, but also stilled any lingering voices of VCII ‘liberalism’ within the church.

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Mark P - November 19, 2012

I’m sort of curious about the later fate of the various factions involved in the PLAC.

The article seems to imply that most of the people involved initially were from small organisations and that even SPUC wasn’t invited on board until late on. SPUC was a more grassroots oriented pro-life body, with branches, a semi-mass membership, public activity, etc, while the original core were from groups like the Catholic Doctor’s Guild and various very small groups often associated with the Knights of Columbanus.

As I understand it, SPUC later essentially morphed into the Pro Life Campaign, which isn’t really a grassroots campaigning body but instead concentrates on “respectable” behind the scenes lobbying, while the present day street campaigning face of the pro-life movement is Youth Defense and it’s thousand fronts. Again, as I understand it, YD in previous times were deliberately marginalised within the pro life movement because they were considered to be uncontrollable elements or loose cannons. Nowadays as loud and consistent voices in a smaller milieu, and the only people with a street presence, they are less marginal.

Is this correct?
And what happened to the original PLAC forces? Are they simply gone from the scene?

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WorldbyStorm - November 19, 2012

That’s close enough to how I understand it too Mark P. PLAC definitely moved towards a more ‘respectable’ position.

(though interesting to know where the grass roots thing went, or if it did).

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sonofstan - November 19, 2012

I think the answer to your last question might be simple enough – the original PLAC ‘vanguard’ were all relatively senior people in their professions in 82-83 – certainly in their fifties if not older. And since the campaign achieved it’s limited and defined objective, their raison d’etre disappeared.

Until ’92 and the X case, it was pretty much all quiet on the front – many of the people who would have been active on both sides were caught up in the campaign around the (first) divorce referendum during the ’80s.

BTW, it was a long held view that there was some crossover at the beginning between YD and SF – have you come across anything on this?

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WorldbyStorm - November 19, 2012

RSF I thought rather than SF. I’m open to correction though.

That makes sense what you say there re age profile…

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Mark P - November 19, 2012

There was certainly a strong republican connection to elements in YD, but I don’t know much about it.

Larry White (of various Republican groups including Saor Eire) was the uncle of the Nic Mhathunas, I believe.

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Mark P - November 19, 2012

And yes, the age thing does make sense. Thirty years is a long time.

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sonofstan - November 19, 2012

There’s some connection with Saor Éire through the NicMathuna line isn’t there?

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LeftAtTheCross - November 19, 2012

Ghandi might be able to comment on those connections…

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Mark P - November 19, 2012

He probably could, but I’m strangely doubtful that the Guru of the North Inner City will grace with his presence in this discussion.

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Wendy Lyon - November 19, 2012

No, he’s too busy posting on the Youth Defence Facebook page apparently.

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25. sonofstan - November 19, 2012

Another stray shard of memory: a lot of anarcho-punk types in the ’80s/ early ’90s who would have been happy to play at/ support benefits for Nicaragua or the miners were vehemently anti-abortion. Can’t remember the logic.

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Gearóid - August 10, 2014

Some elements of the straight-edge scene are supposedly anti-choice (though no sXe’ers I know are).

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