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That abortion decision… better received than I’d have expected December 18, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

at least in terms of pro-choice groups.

Pro-choice groups welcomed today’s announcement, but said the government must commit to a timeframe for the introduction of legislation.

In a joint statement, Irish Choice Network, Choice Ireland, Action on X, Galway Pro-Choice, Cork Women’s Right to Choose and Doctors for Choice said the proposed legislation “should only be considered a first step towards liberalising abortion laws in Ireland”.

Probably a good approach given the dynamics at play here. Needless to say the Iona Institute isn’t happy.

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1. steve white - December 18, 2012

something that may have been brought in the recent ULA announcement thread but labour keep saying they were the only party to mention legislation for the x case in the manifesto, did SP not do so?

WorldbyStorm - December 18, 2012

2011 manifesto? I don’t think they did actually.

revolutionaryprogramme - December 18, 2012

Nope it was missing from both the general election manifesto and Ruth C’s by-election manifesto

steve white - December 18, 2012

missing from green party manifesto also, although they said they support it today

smiffy - December 18, 2012

Don’t the Greens have some bizarre position on abortion, to the effect that the position is not to have a position (that may have changed)?

steve white - December 18, 2012

they passed something at their national council don’t know when that was http://www.greenparty.ie/news.html?n=154

Mark P - December 19, 2012

The Socialist Party’s “manifesto” was an eight point document about the economic crisis and did not deal with other issues.

The Socialist Party was, for many years, the only pro-choice party in the Dail and is now one of two pro-choice parties, the other being People Before Profit. I’m not sure when PBP adopted their pro-choice position. I understand that they initially did not have a position on abortion, but they are certainly pro-choice now.

By “pro-choice”, I mean that a party is committed to access to abortion as a woman’s choice, irrespective of fears about her health.

2. Tomboktu - December 18, 2012

No comment from the IFPA, which supported the women in the A, B, and C case. Is the IFPA part of one of the other organisations listed, not happy with the proposal, or just slow to get a press release out?

WorldbyStorm - December 18, 2012

That’s a very interesting question.

RosencrantzisDead - December 18, 2012

The proposal is light on detail, but the government could not go much further than what is proposed given the Constitution. In light of that, I think people should welcome the proposal.

Best outcome from a pro-choice perspective is this legislation on the books and then moving for a referendum to repeal (or pare back) art. 40.3.3.

WorldbyStorm - December 18, 2012

I think that’s a very persuasive analysis RiD, and perhaps as I was suggesting on the other thread I’ve been a bit too pessimistic.

RosencrantzisDead - December 18, 2012

When you consider that this could easily have shifted to the FF approach in ’02 (i.e. having a referendum to restrict abortion further and no legislation), I think we have some progress. The lifers in FG will definitely be angry over this – do not be surprised if we see the first FG defections over this issue.

3. littlemicky2012 - December 18, 2012

Whilst legislation that allows for abortion represents a step froward, there is a danger that this will be presented as the solution to the problem by the government an all the major parties and the issue will largely drop off the political agenda again, until another tradgedy. The parliamentary lefts record on this issue is poor prior to quite recent imes. As has been pointed out above only the Labour party put the issue in their election manifesto, the ULA hadn’t even a position until this year.

It is a mistake to think that sufficient momentum will exist after legislation for a campaign strong enough to force a government to call a referendum. Unless the pro choice movement moves to directly challenging the law by facilitating access to abortion in this state, thus confronting the state with the logic of it’s laws. If even conservative estimates are right over 1000 women use the abortion pill in this state now, technically in breach of the 1861 Act. But this is done pretty much in secret. If the pro choice movement could somehow begin to promote and provide the pill for use under medical suprevision where would that leave the state?

Public defiance of unjust laws forces the state to either enforce them or ultimately cahneg them.

revolutionaryprogramme - December 18, 2012


gabbagabbahey - December 18, 2012

if the legislation includes repealing the 1861 Act does that then mean that it will also include a clause re-criminalising abortion (outside of the X Case criteria)? is there scope for something like Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘Manifesto of the 343′?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifesto_of_the_343) just to point out the unreality of the ‘keep Ireland abortion free’ position.

TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - December 18, 2012

“If even conservative estimates are right over 1000 women use the abortion pill in this state now, technically in breach of the 1861 Act.”

I’m assuming you mean the number of women taking it per year, and also that you’re referring to Mifepristone.

Also how are they obtaining it? Just curious.

Wendy Lyon - December 19, 2012

According to the FOI that Choice Ireland did on this a couple years ago, the abortion pill of choice is Misoprostol. Or at least that accounted for the vast majority of Customs seizures (1118 in 2009 – Mifepristone accounted for another 98).

As for how they’re obtaining it, there’s this thing called the “internet”…

TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - December 19, 2012

“As for how they’re obtaining it, there’s this thing called the “internet”…”

I have to ask and that was my main fear. Unless you’ve access to an IR Spectrophotomerter, you could be ingesting rat poison or sugar pills, in addition to the fact that misoprostol is being used off label, and you’d really want to be under medical supervision in any case.

Wendy Lyon - December 19, 2012

Medical supervision is preferable but not strictly necessary in most cases. It’s safe enough as medications go, and certainly far safer than the DIY abortions women used to have to resort to. That of course assumes you’re getting the real thing which, you’re right, is a problem. Women On Web is the only reputable supplier and they won’t ship to the 26 Counties due to the Customs seizures, so women without access to a Six Counties address have little choice but to take their chances with someone who will.

WorldbyStorm - December 19, 2012

I think that’s something that is well worth publicising.

4. Bartley - December 18, 2012

better received than I’d have expected …

Honestly, what did you expect other than a cautious welcome with a first-step-on-the-road skew?

The reaction was hardly gonna be either extreme:

‘Booyaka! Let the baby-killing begin!’


‘We utterly reject this sell-out of Irish women’s reproductive rights!’

Clearly the reaction is completely in tune with the thin-edge-of-the-wedge strategy.

sonofstan - December 18, 2012

Are you saying such strategies are bad or wrong in themselves?

And if so, why?

5. sonofstan - December 19, 2012

Woke up. Turned on Morning Ireland. Big mistake, because I had to listen to the Bishop of Killaloe outline the RCC’s objections to legislation for X and repeat the canard about Ireland being one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant. This from the representative of an institution that for decades set out to create a ‘moral’ climate that terrorised unmarried mothers into giving up their children for adoption so that nice but infertile middle-class Catholic couples could get the children they ‘deserved’ and then conspired to ensure that some of those mothers would end up in indentured slavery, often for the rest of their lives. A very safe environment.

6. Mark P - December 19, 2012

A key issue will, of course, be exactly what system the government’s legislation puts in place to determine whether or not there is a suicide risk. It seems to me to be quite likely that they will put in as cumbersome, prolonged and humiliating a structure as possible.

Joe - December 19, 2012

Yep. You can be guaranteed that what we will get is another “Irish solution to an Irish problem”. And that after this legislation is passed, Irish women will still be travelling to the UK and elsewhere in their thousands every year to access abortion services.

eamonncork - December 19, 2012

That may be THE key issue and there’s going to be some battle fought over it. I’d presume the Right will envision some kind of adversarial tribunal set-up, like those Catholic marriage tribunals which used to rule on annulments.

sonofstan - December 20, 2012

Anyone else get a Youth Defence leaflet through the door today? Telling me not to vote Fine Gael anymore :)

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