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Banning abortion does not stop abortion

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Thursday March 20, 2008 00:05author by safe legal and rare Report this post to the editors

Ban instead results in "traumatic and more dangerous" situations for women

featured image
Nothing to be ashamed of

The Council of Europe has called on Ireland to decriminalise abortion.

This week , the Council of Europe's Committee on Equal Opportunities issued a report saying all member states should guarantee women the right to a safe termination of pregnancy.

The report states quite clearly: “the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men considers that a ban on abortions does not result in fewer abortions, but mainly leads to clandestine abortions, which are more traumatic and more dangerous.”

Some people estimate that the number of Irish women who travel to England every year is about 7,000. Since some women obviously use false British addresses, or disguise their origins in other ways, the true figure can never be known.



This means that women who should be under medical supervision are having to travel, stressfully having to go through finding money for flights and clinics and hotels when they should be concerned about their health.

No one knows how many clandestine abortions are taking place in Ireland, and except in very gruesome and exceptional circumstances, we rarely hear of the risks to their own health that women undergo trying to cause miscarriages. It's not known how many women are leaving Ireland to go to other countries in Europe to have abortions either.

What the ban in Ireland does not do is prevent abortions.

There are also, of course, no figures on births which happen as a result of the ban of abortion, because no one gathers any statistics. It seems unlikely that very many children have ever been born as a result of the ban, but a huge number of women have undergone pain and distress because of it.

Since it is clear that the ban is not having the effect of preventing abortions, but is causing pain and distress to Irish citizens, many people have argued that it is hard to see why it is not overturned.

The Council of Europe report recommends that all 47 countries who are member states of the Council of Europe, should guarantee women the right to have an abortion and promote cheaper contraception, along with compulsory sex education in schools, to try to reduce the number of women who seek abortions.

“Abortion on request is, in theory, available in all Council of Europe member states, except Andorra, Malta, Ireland and Poland," states Austrian elected representative Gisela Wurm, who wrote the brief introduction to the resolution on behalf of the committee.

The report is quite clear on who should decide whether a woman has an abortion:

"The Assembly affirms the right of all human beings, women included, to respect for their physical integrity and to freedom to control their own bodies. In this context, the ultimate decision on whether or not to have an abortion should be a matter for the woman concerned, and she should have the means of exercising this right in an effective way."

However, access to abortion is not easy for all women, and the committee sees the fact that there are restrictions on information or assistance towards a decision as an instance of discrimination:

"These restrictions have discriminatory effects, since women who are well-informed and possess adequate financial means can often obtain legal and safe abortions more easily."

The report will be discussed during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe between April 14th and 18th.

Read the full report and Gisella Wurm's introduction here: http://tinyurl.com/2lva5a

For information on the law relating to abortion in Ireland click here: http://www.ifpa.ie/services/abort.html

The video shows a protest at a Dublin family planning clinic last month.

Related Link: http://tinyurl.com/2lva5a
author by Didueverpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 22:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sure they mean well but these people who protest at abortion agencies ought save their breath for those already born, no shortage of victims worldwide, instead of giving grief to women already mighty stressed and health workers trying to help them. The British model is fairly good, with terminations done quickly in hospitals, but it lacks the provision of any guidance or counselling for the aftermath of abortion. This country needs free family planning clinics in a proper healthcare system.

author by ellenpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 23:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wow. Such a heated and complicated issue... and someone made a one-line T-shirt out of it. How American is that?

author by slrpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 00:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's US activist and writer Jennifer Baumgardner. She's written several books and articles and produced a documentary film , as well as the t-shirt.

author by Ileniapublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 01:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the majority of people in Ireland dont want abortion on demand as I believe they voted in the last referendum I dont feel the Council of Europe telling countries what to do is democratic.

With regard to abortion, it is a difficult issue. I am not religious but I believe life is special and no one has the right to end it whether that is capital punishment, abortion, etc. Euthanasia is another difficult issue for me but at least in that case a person is deciding for themselves about terminating their own life.

I dont see how the video of people praying outside a family clinic proves a point or helps the argument in this article in any way. Is it to imply everybody who thinks abortion is wrong is some kind of religious fanatic? As I said before I am not religious so I try to examine issues logically without listening to others telling me what is right or wrong but when it comes to abortion I can not see any way around the fact that the unborn foetus is a life.

I belive contraception should be made more readily available. Sex education should be improved. I think the Catholic Church have a lot to answer for in trying to prevent these. It could be argued by doing so they have increased the number of women who have abortions. This is ridiculous when they call themselves pro-life. I believe in total and absolute equality for all women but I do not believe abortion is the way to achieve this. I would prefer to be able to walk the streets after dark without the fear of intimidation and violence from men. I want better maternity and paternity leave, funded by the state and not by employers directly. This should be funded by corporation tax on all business rather than employers hiring a replacement when somebody is on maternity/paternity leave. The should be less of the ridiculous pressure on girls to look a certain way and on boys to see them in a certain way. These for me are ways I see of achieving true equality. Abortion for me is not the answer.

author by SLRpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 02:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whether or not you believe abortion is the answer is not in question.

The point is that many thousands of women think it is the answer for them and have to travel to neighbouring countries, or even worse, procure back-street abortions. The criminalisation of these women is not stopping abortion, just make life difficult for them, for no good reason other than to bully them.

A further appalling aspect of this is that women of limited means and resources are unfairly discriminated against. Clinics, hotels, time off, child care, and travel to England all need to be paid for, and so the poorer the women, the more hassle and stress she must undergo. All for no reason, since the ban is not working.

The video of the protest at the clinic is an illustration of the lack of rational argument on this subject.

author by t-shirt??????publication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 03:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Abortion stopped being a badge of honour, or a status symbol, in the western feminist movement sometime in the early '90's.

Read Naomi Wolfe on "Atonement", might move you past the cattle grid of denial concerning a profit driven industry that targets millions of unborn girls from California to China to India annualy for sex selected search and destroy missions.

The comparison with combat veterans and abortion veterans from the post traumatic stress to the varying degrees of victimisation and duplicity to the weird celebratory t-shirts are quite strong.

author by O'Chanpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 05:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So the Council of Europe has what is called a committee on equal opportunities for women and men, and wants the Republic of Ireland to get 'in line' on access to abortion. The opinions of such a committee (how representative is its composition?) are not mandatory and men cannot have abortions anyway. Some years ago a court somewhere ruled that the unmarried father of a fetus could not prevent his pregnant girlfriend from going to an abortion clinic. So much for equal opportunities: it takes male and female to create a new human being, but the decision to terminate rests as a prerogative of only one parent.

In China with their one child policy life in the womb has become dodgy for identified female fetuses. There have been umpteen gender-selective abortions. Most babies found abandoned on city streets tend to be female. Rich first world couples flocking to chinese cities to expensively adopt abandoned babies from the state orphanages get mostly baby girl adoptees for their money. If any get a boy there tends to be a physical handicap of some sort. How would a Council of Asia subcommittee handle that issue?

author by helpfulpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 06:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no council of Asia "O'Chan" but perhaps you knew that already. However, I've never been one to stop the beginnings of a generalisation at the vacuous pause left after a rhetorical question. PRC government spokesperson Wu Jianmin announced the decision to discuss "one child policy" last month at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March 2008. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iPY5di7Ht_CpKlIUbkwU...DTKO1
You might like to take it up with them as it really has nothing to do with either Ireland's ban on safe medical abortion or the EU or its institutions. Write your letter to Minister Zhang Weiqing who heads the "National Population and Family Planning Commission" (the state agency responsible for population and family planning in the People's Republic of China) or just send them an email through their website http://www.chinapop.gov.cn/

author by Cathalpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 08:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's a recent George Monbiot column about the issue. He finds that the countries that have most contraception, sexual education and abortion available have the least of it. For example, The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world.

Related Link: http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/02/26/pro-death/
author by Ileniapublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SLR, thank you for your response even if you didn’t answer my question. You have your beliefs and I have mine I suppose.
If thousands of women think it is the answer for them and have to travel to neighbouring countries then I agree this is terrible and I would never wish for anybody to be put in that situation. I think sex education, contraception and adoption would play a much bigger part in reducing abortion figures than legalizing it.

It is unfair to say women are being criminalized. What laws are being broken? All women in this situation need our help and understanding but I don’t think people are being bullied.

‘A further appalling aspect of this is that women of limited means and resources are unfairly discriminated against.’ I think that is happening in almost all areas of life in Ireland but I and it is truly appalling but I do not think an abortion is the answer to alleviating anybody’s situation. As I am not in a particularly well paid job, if I ended up with an unplanned pregnancy I would consider adoption before the clinics, hotels, time off, child care, and travel to England you have mentioned.

If you show a video of a protest by religious extremists at a clinic it doesn’t prove a lack of rational argument on this subject. These people have been told what to think so I would never look to them for opinion or debate as you have. Why not show a video of the doctors, young people like myself, mothers etc who do not believe abortion is right?
I think your argument and this article would be better if it was balanced and didn’t include spin, like the video of the religious extremists or make unsubstantiated statements such as ‘It seems unlikely that very many children have ever been born as a result of the ban’.

author by anonymouspublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The George Monbiot article has many good points and I think his criticism of the Catholic Church's attitude to contraception is spot on. I think his article proves that proper sex education and the widespread availability of contraception in the Netherlands contribute to its low abortion rate. The availability of abortion there does not lower the rate of abortion.

author by S,L,Rpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I find it hard to believe that you don't think people are being criminalised, since they are put in a position whereby a rational choice that is acceptable in virtually every country in the developed world is made unlawful, and legal restrictions are put on them forcing them have to travel outside the state. For a doctor to perform an abortion in Ireland under virtually any circumstances would result in a prison sentence.

It is even against the law in Ireland for a pregnant women to receive information on abortion services over the telephone, so they are forced to go to particular places in the big cities to receive it in person.

People, like you, who think adoption might be the solution to an unplanned pregnancy, should be able to make that decision freely, not in an atmosphere of secrecy, stress, financial hardship, and illegality. That's what the ban causes, but it does not stop any abortions.

The report from the Council of Europe makes it clear that compulsory sex education in schools, access to contraception, and other measures to educate people about sex and parenthood should be available widely. In Ireland they are not. Not that long ago the government were happily denying access to condoms to citizens, even those with sexually transmitted and blood borne diseases were refused access to condoms by the department of health on some spurious moral grounds.

The fact is that there are no instances on record of pregnant women not having abortions because it is illegal here. There are plenty of instances of women being forced to travel to England and undergoing the stress, hassle, and financial problems associated with that, burdens which of course fall disproportionately on the poor.

The ban is not working, it's just making a bad situation worse.

As regards the video, I think it shows very well the difficulty of having a rational discussion on this subject in an atmosphere where even an office where people get straightforward advice has people praying outside it when it is closed. If there are videos showing anti-choice activists discussing their views calmly I don't know about them, but if they exist, perhaps you should think about writing an article about them and publishing it on indymedia with a link.

The more rational debate on this topic the better.

author by Ileniapublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The majority of Irish people voted that they did not want abortion on demand. They do not want it legalized. It is up to you if you want to call this criminalisation. It sounds a bit like pro-life, ‘anti-choice’ (your words), pro-choice, pro-abortion. It is the spinning of language and misrepresenting the views of others to prove a point that I feel subtracts from the argument in this article.

What you are calling a rational choice is the termination of life. I would argue the primacy of the right to life is the most fundamental human right and it is correct that this is guaranteed by Irish law. Doctors live by the same laws people in Ireland voted on so performing an abortion in Ireland in most circumstances is illegal. We know that. One of the core duties of a doctor is the preservation of life. I cannot reconcile this with abortion.

Regarding adoption you say I ‘should be able to make that decision freely, not in an atmosphere of secrecy, stress, financial hardship, and illegality.’ Obviously I should be and I am glad that we can agree on some points. This is what logical argument is about which is why I think the spin on language and use of religious fanatics in this article to prove a point make it unbalanced.

If the Council of Europe report finds that ‘compulsory sex education in schools, access to contraception, and other measures to educate people about sex and parenthood should be available widely.’ I agree with this entirely and this needs to be changed in Ireland.‘Not that long ago the government were happily denying access to condoms to citizens, even those with sexually transmitted and blood borne diseases were refused access to condoms by the department of health on some spurious moral grounds.’ All of this is and was wrong but needs to be separated from the abortion debate and dealt with. Perhaps you think that people who do not agree with abortion condone these injustices. That is not the case.

‘It seems unlikely that very many children have ever been born as a result of the ban’. This is still unsubstantiated. I do not believe it is true and the absence of record doesn’t justify the statement. Inadequate sex education and poor availability of contraception are not working which is the cause of the ‘bad situation’. It is this lack of sex education/contraception which is not working and that is not the same as saying the ban on abortion is not working. Well I think we can both agree things are not working and change is needed.

As you said there should be more rational debate on this topic. Singling out fanatics in a video as this article does is not the way to achieve this. Suggesting I write an article to counter the imbalance and spin in this one is not much of a defence for the article we are talking about right now.

I feel that you have made your mind up so this debate could go on indefinitely. Debate might be positive and acheive areas of agreement between people but only if people agree to speak in plain language and argue fairly. This article is not concerned with that. I don’t know how open you are to changing your mind on anything. I know that I am often wrong about things and try to revaluate my views but for now at least I think I will go to catch the bus and start the weekend.

author by Andrewpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 18:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The majority of Irish people voted that they did not want abortion on demand.

This claim is not true. I'm guessing its a reference to the referendum but the reality is pro-choice campaigners called for a no vote to the governments proposal to legalise abortion on 'threat to life' grounds as it delivered less than the current 'threat to life and health' ruling of the supreme court during the X-case.

So the no vote on that question was a pro-choice vote although its true the more fundamentalist wing of the anti-women brigade also called for a no vote.

The argument for why the no vote was mostly pro-choice rather than anti-women is made in some detail at http://struggle.ws/wsm/news/2002/refvictoryMARCH.html

Briefly the two Donegal constituencies returned the highest Yes votes in the whole country, 70.59% and 66.82% respectively. Donegal is traditionally one of the most anti-choice areas of the country, reflected in its large No votes in the referendums on divorce , right to information and right to travel over the last decade. In fact across the country it was observed that the Yes vote in this referendum was very, very close to the No vote for the same constituencies in the Divorce referendum of 1995. This traditionally liberal voting constituency of Dún Laoghaire had the biggest No vote, of 68 per cent, again confirming this trend.

author by Wisdo - the wisdo foundation for assertion of wizards rightspublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 23:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have a T-shirt for ya:

I had a deeply personal tragedy and Im not going to make flippant remarks and shallow humor out of it.

On another note: criminalisation of women for terminating unwanted babies before they pop into the world causes far more moral problems than it solves. If we could have 1 debate about practicality for every 3 we have about morality, then we'd have a society we can wake up with the next morning. Morality is useful certainly and sometimes a noble and beautiful thing, but each of us has a cold eyed, amoral observer buried within, maybe its the selfish animal that lurks below, maybe its the higher mind, above emotion, transcendant. Regardless of its origins, the final say for each of us in situations of personal anguish, alarm or mortal danger is this voice. It is the voice of reason, and it is just as important as morality imposed from without or nurtured within. Equal weight to each, I say.

author by Reece Eiklingpublication date Fri Mar 21, 2008 01:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good point from Wisdo.
I half thought someone would post a different T-shirt, you know the joke one with the baby wearing the T-shirt saying "Now that I'm safe, I'm pro-choice". And then we'd be in playground arguments, angry nasty and irrational, descending pretty quickly into very one sided arguments refusing to acknowledge that the other side has any sort of reasoning except being 'anti-women' or 'selfish baby killers' and of course neither stereotype is true.

author by We the Peoplepublication date Fri Mar 21, 2008 17:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My 1cent on this contentious issue is........ to kill a Child before it is born is called 'abortion'.
To kill a Child after it is born is called 'murder'??

Think I would be a bit shy to hold up a T shirt bearing any of the above.

author by Mark Cpublication date Fri Mar 21, 2008 21:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting debate about this issue on Pat Kenny last Friday. Here it is, taken from rte.ie streaming:
javascript:showPlayer('/radio1/player_av.html?0,null,200,http://dynamic.rte.ie/quickaxs/209-rte-todaywithpatkenn....smil')

Personally, I think the anti-abortion person comes out the better.



author by slRpublication date Fri Mar 21, 2008 22:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems quite clear that the ban is
a) not working

b) making the lives of women in a difficult situation miserable, or in the case of Anne Lovett, has fatal consequences.

Here's an excerpt from the account of woman who travelled to England for an abortion. I couldn't put it better. read the rest here: http://www.tallgirlshorts.net/marymary/x.html

"Now, also what had happened around that time was Anne Lovett. Anne Lovett was a 15 year old girl who had carried her child to full term in a small village, Granard. The suspicion was that she had had a baby through incest. Although they were continually blaming a boy in the village, it didn’t seem like that was the case to people who were in the know. She had carried her child to full term in a school in a small rural village. No one had interfered, no one had said a word, and she left her school, and went out, walked across a field, and gave birth to her baby and under the statue of the Virgin. Now she and her child died, and there was this huge inquiry as to why nobody had done anything about it.

"Subsequently there was this run up to the abortion referendum, which was talking about you know women not having the right to kill babies, i.e. have terminations, and yet there was never a thing done for that girl -- and lots of other women who subsequently found themselves pregnant. There was never anything done to allow women to keep those children. And the same politicians who were screaming about being pro-life were the kind of people who got on the radio and gave out about unmarried mothers living off the state..."

author by Donpublication date Fri Mar 21, 2008 22:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the situation described by the above poster, that girl could have had an abortion under Irish/our/we the peoples law.

There is proof that lifting the "ban" on abortion will decrease abortions. Actually abortion is legal in Irleand, its just resricted to situations described above.

Clearly in my view, to reduce abortions, we need:

*Better funding for orphanages.
*Banning adopting foriegn children.
*Eventually lift the ban on abopting children for gay couples.
*Increase support for single parents.
*Better sex education.
*Removing vat on condoms.
*Lobby EU countries to stop letting Irish citizens from having abortions in thier countries.

Also like to add thats an absurd position to linking pro-life, anti-condoms and ant-devource people together.

author by slrpublication date Sat Mar 22, 2008 19:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"thats an absurd position to linking pro-life, anti-condoms and ant-devource"

The same people were out campaigning against freely available contraception for Irish peopleas were campaigning against divorce. They used to shout about the sanctity of lmarriage and the sin of fornication. They now expend energy making problems for women who need to have abortions.

They lost the argument on contraceptives and divorce, and they are not stopping any abortions.

author by Paulpublication date Sun Mar 23, 2008 17:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've often seen anti-abortion protestors in Dublin setting up displays of graphic images of aborted babies. On one occassion I saw a woman break down crying as she passed such a display and was helped away by her friends.
I wonder about the legality of this. Public protest is well and good, but tto use such 'pornographic' imagery must contravene some law on what can and cannot be shown in public. Even common sense ought to tell you that these images are going to upset, anger, and disgust most people who see them.
Is there a law against this? I feel that there should be.

author by Carlpublication date Sun Mar 23, 2008 21:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anti-war campaigners use horrific photos of war victims to illustrate their point, so do anti-bloodsport campaigners. Photos of aborted fetuses let people know exactly what is involved.

author by Andrewpublication date Sun Mar 23, 2008 23:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most of the images you see on the street are either fake or misleading, see http://www.lifeandlibertyforwomen.org/truth_about_photo....html for instance for details of some of those we are used to seeing on the streets of Dublin.

author by Elisapublication date Mon Mar 24, 2008 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Actually abortion is legal in Irleand, its just resricted to situations described above.'

It may be legal in certain circumstances but I would highly higly doubt that even one abortion has ever taken place in the state, even under those conditions, in a public or private hospital. The Irish medical council and the Irish medical Organisation ruled they would strike of the register any doctor who carries out an abortion even in the circumsatnces stated. Therefore doctors are bound not to carry out any sort of abortion in Ireland.

author by Donpublication date Mon Mar 24, 2008 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Without any concrete proof, I was told that several abortions take place in Ireland a year, legally. Not being to name of by heart, but I think there some conditions which result in both mother and infant death at birth, such conditions would lead to a legal abortion. Unfortunate but nessecary.

author by Mikepublication date Wed Mar 26, 2008 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having a tolerant stance on abortion is one thing, but that tshirt is fairly vile. I consider myself reasonable pro-choice, as in I believe abortion is a nesscessary evil. I don't think having an abortion is to be ashamed of, but it's definitely nothing to be proud of, as implied by that tshirt. Militant pro-choicers are just as much as an annoyance as militant pro-lifers.

author by Mary O Flynnpublication date Wed Mar 26, 2008 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don, there hasn’t been anything in Ireland resembling orphanages since the industrial and reformatory school have shut down.

There are residential homes for mostly older children who have difficulty getting foster placement.

There are thousands of children in care at the moment. What we need in a change in the adoption law. Currently adoption law states that a child of a married couple cannot be adopted. That is why children bounce around foster placements and generally have negative outcomes. The care system in Ireland is a shambles. Banning foreign adoption would do nothing.

While foreign adoption is still very dodgy, and we can never be sure fully of the consent of the parents at the other side (thinking about the ‘banished babies’ sent to America in the 40’s before adoption was legalised in 1952, without their mothers consent). Not the mention the whole implications of poorer countries producing children for the richer ones. The fact of the matter is intercountry adoption (which technically is different from foreign adoption) is better then leaving a child in an orphanage abroad. The reason for the increase in intercountry adoption is due the adoption laws in Ireland and the difficulties perspective parents have with in domestic adoption.

Just clearing that up.

Furthermore, lifting the ban on gay couples adoption would be great but have no affect on abortion rates. People do not choose to abort because they think their child will end up in an orphanage, there are couples screaming out for children in Ireland

‘Lobby EU countries to stop letting Irish citizens from having abortions in their countries.’

This is a horrible sentiment. You want to force women to carry their child to term or carry out back-street abortion. The unconfirmed statistic (An English pro-choice site) is that 80,000 women die every year from back street abortions. Preventing women from accessing safe abortion is violence against women and advocating what you just said is being a supporter of that violence.

author by lulupublication date Wed Mar 26, 2008 18:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Abortion isn't entirely 'nice', but the lives of unwanted kids can be horrific, with a resentful mother/family, dodgy care system, many opportunities for all kinds of abuse.

author by Siobhanpublication date Wed Mar 26, 2008 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If I am not supposed to feel guilty about abortion,
should I feel guilty about any other form of child abuse?

author by C.publication date Wed Mar 26, 2008 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

whomever taught siobhan that abortion is child abuse is erring in their responsibility
with regard to the rights of the child and the rights of women. There are and always
will be reasons for abortion, that the most voicferous critics of abortion emanate from
churches (mainly evangelical, might be a hint as to the teachers on issues of rights).

I will put this plainly.

a church that does not recognise the rights of the child to bodily integrity, privacy,
information and quality equal services is not the place to be going to hear advices.

those whom do not address their own guilt in sexual abuse, do not have the
moral authority to condemn those who seek abortion.

what a load of derailment occurs amongst the very afraid and their violence
is a product of that fear- violence against women and children begins in the
language chosen to marginalise.

author by anon.publication date Thu Mar 27, 2008 16:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Medical procedures save lives. Abortion is consonant with the termination of lives. Changing the language to describe abortion doesn't avoid this. People should not be allowed to choose to end the lives of others, whether that is abortion, capital punishment, murder, decisions to go to war etc. Let's help to provide adequate sex education, contraception, social services, support, safe streets to walk on, protection from male violence etc., before the perceived need for abortion occurs.

author by get realpublication date Thu Mar 27, 2008 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah safe streets and contraception and sex education...

When you've got all that sorted there probably will be less abortions, but back here in the real world, abortion is going on. Women have to travel to England and other states. At a time when they need help the law kicks them, and then politicians and others pretend that there is no issue because abortion is banned.

But the ban doesn't work.

Irish women get abortions.

It's just made harder for those without money and connections, by repressive laws, and by people pretending that an abortion is the ending of a life.

author by rationalistpublication date Thu Mar 27, 2008 22:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think churches can insist on their moral principles only for their members and not for anyone else. There should be a separation of church and state (see French revolution) and the state should legalize for everyone not just members of a particular religious creed or creeds. . So the decision to have an abortion or not should be a personal choice, dictated by the individual's beliefs. If a woman is anti-abortion, she will never have one whatever her predicament. If she's not, why can't she have one if she needs it? .

author by Paulpublication date Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When abortion is illegal, the practice is driven underground or abroad to where it is legal.

If abortion is legal, we can rest in the knowledge that it will be done under the principals set out by the state.

Now, whether it is legal or not, it doesn't seem to have any impact on the number of abortions.

If we want to reduce the number of abortions, should we not support and teach women what other options are available to them?

author by plumpublication date Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...and teach sexually athletic men about their options - like not getting their tipsy girlfriends pregnant after alcohol and drug popping parties.

author by C.publication date Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the comment above, by Paul.

We do not have to teach women, we must listen to women and girls. but everytime we open our mouths
we get told what is good for us.

we are not little girls.

Little girls , however do get pregnant and then under current statute they are considered to be women,
this is because we do not protect their privacy and dignity, instead we accept an ethos that
says a pubescent child is a woman and is co-equal with a foetus. This radical anti-dignity
understanding of women and girls from puberty to menopause is the guiding principle of the
RC ethos. 'We' begin with respecting the privacy of the individual and not judging them
and then we listen to their needs within a properly provisioned health service, sex education
and women's health centres.

Women are not second class citizens who happen to reproduce, you know. We are human
beings who just happen to have the bits to carry children and when something goes wrong
we have the right to medical care. Babies are not made between the sheets of the marriage bed.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Tue Jul 21, 2009 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"For a doctor to perform an abortion in Ireland under virtually any circumstances would result in a prison sentence."

"It may be legal in certain circumstances but I would highly higly doubt that even one abortion has ever taken place in the state, even under those conditions, in a public or private hospital"

You may put your minds at rest.

I personally know a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy. For those of you who don't know what that means, it is when a fetus starts to develop outside the womb. If let continue, this will eventually result in a rupture of blood vessels and the woman will quickly bleed to death.

It is an often unheard of condition, but is far more common than some people might assume. I had never heard of it myself until it happened to someone close to me, then I learned that sadly it happens quite often.

In this woman's case, the doctors gave a drug which caused the fetus to die. It was necessary in order to save the life of the mother. Had the fetus continued to grow, both would have died. Therefore it was an abortion - but one performed in order to save the mother's life. This is perfectly legal in Ireland. On another occasion I know of, the ectopic pregnancy had advanced too far undetected to use the drug and surgery was the only option instead. The woman in question had only very recently discovered she was pregnant at all, as ectopic pregnancies tend to make themselves felt in the first two months, when there are few other signs of pregnancy (such as morning sickness, a bump etc)

What is not legal, is to have an abortion - end the pregnancy - because you don't want the child. This is the law that the 'pro-choice' lobby (for want of a better word) wish to see changed.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But what you described above is quite clearly an abortion. A fetus was terminated. Thats what happened in that treatment of an ectopic pregnancy: an abortion.

You try to pretend that its not an abortion but like Humpty Dumpty you are just making words mean what you want them to mean.

author by Phillypublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The ethical principle of double effect comes into play with ectopic pregnancy treatments. The surgeon treats the obstruction in order to save the mother's life but unfortunately destroys the fetus. In other abortions the desire to save the pregnant woman's life is not there. What percentage of the 43 million abortions that were done in the USA since the 1973 Wade versus Doe Supreme Court ruling were remotely intended to save a pregnant woman's life? Legalised abortion has become a contraception-as-last resort when other methods of contraception have been tried and failed or not tried due to drunken and other forms of irresponsible sexual intercourse.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You mean double talk! Its just hypocrisy. Treating an ectopic pregnancy is abortion and no amount RC philosophy will get around that.

It really shows your contempt for womens choices to suggest that abortion is used as a means of contraception. Especially when the reality is that many of those opposing abortion are the same ones who opposed contraception tooth and nail.

The double effect you speak of comes from catholic theology, the same institution which opposes all artifical contraception.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy, you are repeating exactly what I was saying. Some people had posted on this thread saying abortions were not performed in Ireland under any circumstances, and that a prison sentence would ensue if they were. They made it sound if as no form of abortion was available in this country and tried to use this untrue 'fact' to argue Ireland was a repressive country that didn't care about women.

I was trying to point out that in fact abortions ARE performed in Ireland, for quite specific reasons, and no one goes to prison. The principal reason is to save the mother's life when to continue the pregnancy would threaten it.

So, quite unlike Humpty Dumpty, I am saying exactly what I mean - if you look at my post you'll see I wrote "Therefore it was an abortion" Where did I try and claim this operation / procedure is not an abortion, which is what you are accusing me of?

What I pointed out - and as was pointed out by another post that followed mine - that there is a major difference here between an abortion (yes, an abortion) to save a mother's life, and an abortion to end the life of a child that's simply not wanted, for whatever reason. The primary intent of the first case is to save the life of the mother, the primary intent in the second case is to take the life of the child. I hope you can see the difference.

Again, in fact I wrote "What is not legal, is to have an abortion - end the pregnancy - because you don't want the child. This is the law that the 'pro-choice' lobby (for want of a better word) wish to see changed"

So, to summarise: legal abortion here is already available if the mother's life is in danger from the pregnancy. I know this, I have seen it with my own eyes, not once, but twice.

No one is trying to say the child's life is more important than the mother's. Only that both being human beings, they are both equally important.

On the other hand, since abortion to save a mother's life IS already available, what the 'pro-choice' lobby want is to have abortions legally available for many other reasons - such as simply not wanting to go through with a pregnancy, because the father has absconded (this reason was given either on this thread or a related one in support), because the child arrives at an 'inconvenient' time or place and so on, because of a lack of money.

In my opinion - and I am not alone - these are simply not valid reasons to take another person's life.

RC theology is not necessary to support this position (though it does support it) - it is already well supported both by logic and by what is sometimes called 'natural moral law' (i.e we generally agree it is wrong to kill someone - a value that crosses all cultures and most religions, or it is generally wrong to lie, steal, cheat and so on. No one likes to be lied to or stolen from, and killing is very hard to justify. I have taken part in many anti-war protests for this very reason).

So dragging the RC church into it is simply a) because it is one of the most prolific and prominent organisations that does not agree with your view and b) a weak attempt to make those who oppose abortion-on-demand look like rather stereotyped and caricature-ish out-of-date authoritarian fuddy-duddys.

author by DorothyGalepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You did not refer to them as abortions in your comment above.

Interesting now though, Abortion is ok for ectopic prgegnancies but not for rape victims. And dont give me any of your nonsense about natural law backing up your position. No rational person falls for that sort of guff.

The RCC is very relevant to this debate which is about a womans right to control her body. The RCC would have contraception banned if it could as it fought tooth and nail against even condoms. In some countrys where contraception is legal, such as the Phillipines, the RCC prevents it from being widely available.

The RCC still trys to control even what legislators do by refusing communion to those who support a womans right to choose.

Even on Civil Partnership just a couple of weeks ago we had a priest in Meath saying that Catholic politicians cannot oppose the teachings of the church (obviosly as far as hes concerned theres only one church).

So dont try to say that the RCC are not relevant to this.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, Dorothy, I DID refer to them as abortions above. What's wrong with you? Can't you go back and read my post? I clearly said "Therefore it is an abortion" What part of that are you having difficulty understanding?

Sigh.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 16:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You tried to imply that it was a special one. "One to save the mothers life".

You fool no one. You lot dont even support abortion in all circumstances where a mothers life is at risk. Just the couple of cases where, despite your denials, they just happen to fit in with the Catholic Churchs Double Effect teaching. Strange that.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy, I am not trying to fool anyone.

Yes, I am saying there are special circumstances where abortions are performed in this country and there is neither legal nor moral problem with them. That does not take away from the tragedy of such cases, but the key point you seem to be missing and missing and missing, or just don't want to see, is that the primary aim is to save the mother's life, not to end the child's.

Whether or not RC theology 'double effect' comes into it, I have no idea. You seem to be more of an expert on that than me, and I have never mentioned it myself. Strange, that.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At least you are no longer trying to say black is white by denying that I called the operation to end an ectopic pregnancy an abortion.

That's some progress, I suppose.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy, you said that I "don't even support all cases where a mother's life is at risk"

Now you posted that before I posted my comments on the case of teh risk of suicide, so I think I have partly explained my opinions on that matter. But since you posted that comment before I wrote about suicide, what cases that i don't allegedly support were you referring to?

I gave the example of ectopic pregnancy, as it is a life-threatening condition. But I gave it as AN EXAMPLE, and was intended to be.

I surely don't need to explain to you that examples are by definition, a non-exhaustive list?

You seem to be - against all logic - suggesting that because I gave one particular example of a case where abortion could be performed in a life-threatening situation, I do not support abortion in any other life-threatening situation.

So, apart from suicide / rape, which I have already written about, which life-threatening pregnancies did you have in mind when you wrote that?

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You use the same double effect argument the RCC use.

You only agree with vey few cases of abortions despite the fact that there are many different medical conditions which put a womans life at risk during pregnancy. Again just like the RCC.

You are not fooling anyone here.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"You use the same double effect argument the RCC use"

Am I? I wasn't aware of it. Are you a priest - (despite your name - that could be a psuedonym)? Again you seem to know more about 'double effect' than me.

And so what?

I have never alluded to 'double effect' as a basis for my arguments: perhaps you are confusing me with a poster called Philly, who in fact did.

But it's heartening to know the conclusions I have come to are supported elsewhere. Thank you.

"You only agree with vey few cases of abortions despite the fact that there are many different medical conditions which put a womans life at risk during pregnancy. Again just like the RCC"

Again, just like nothing.

What medical conditions are you talking about? I gave ectopic pregnancy as AN EXAMPLE!

I did so because I wanted to point out that it was untrue to suggest (as some posters on the thread did) that abortions are not performed in Ireland under any circumstances.

Again, against all evidence and logic you extrapolate from that to try and put words in my mouth and arguments in my mind that exist only in your imagination.

The cases other than ectopic pregnancy that I DID list as not being a valid basis for abortion - were situations like an unwanted child, a child arriving at an 'inconvenient' time or place, because the father had absconded. Now, which one of these are life-threatening medical conditions??

I don't know if there's any point even explaining this, as you are not actually debating with me but with the 'me' in your own imagination.

author by Dorothy Galepublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I have never alluded to 'double effect' as a basis for my arguments: "

But it keeps coming back to the fact that you cite cases like the RCC do. Why is that? You only seem to accept cases where the double effect cop out of the RCC can be used.

"What medical conditions are you talking about? I gave ectopic pregnancy as AN EXAMPLE! "

Hypertension, preeclampsia, kidney disease, heart problems, liver disease/hepatitis, Endometriosis, variuos types of cancer. Women have died because they were refused treatment for cancer due to being pregnant, eg Sheila Hodges

"The cases other than ectopic pregnancy that I DID list as not being a valid basis for abortion - were situations like an unwanted child, a child arriving at an 'inconvenient' time or place, because the father had absconded. Now, which one of these are life-threatening medical conditions?? "

Why should a woman be forced to have an unwanted child? So what are you gping to do? imprison the women? Or is it ok to have the abortions in the UK rather than Ireland?

"I don't know if there's any point even explaining this, as you are not actually debating with me but with the 'me' in your own imagination. "

Imho I know exactly what you are and I'm going to expose you here.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 19:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok, while your imagination goes into overdrive as to 'who I am' let me try and discuss some of the issues you raised:

"But it keeps coming back to the fact that you cite cases like the RCC do. Why is that? You only seem to accept cases where the double effect cop out of the RCC can be used"

So what? As I said, you seem to know much more about it than I do, so maybe you can tell me.

"Hypertension, preeclampsia, kidney disease, heart problems, liver disease/hepatitis, Endometriosis, variuos types of cancer. Women have died because they were refused treatment for cancer due to being pregnant, eg Sheila Hodges"

I wasn't aware of the Sheila Hodges case, and my personal experience is only with ectopic pregnancies, so I don't know much about the others, either. But from my admittedly non-expert perspective:

The first obvious point here is to ask ourselves if the conditions you listed above are immediately life-threatening? I know for certain that an ectopic pregnancy is immediately and directly life-threatening. What I mean by that is the pregnancy itself is the condition which threatens the life of the mother. There is also a very short time span - days, perhaps, sometimes hours, if not detected in time.

The conditions you listed may or may not immediately threaten the life of the mother. A person with cancer can carry a child to full term and survive the cancer, and be given treatment again shortly after the birth. That way, both mother and child have their right to life respected. I am living proof of that - my mother had cancer, didn't have treatment and here I am, sound in mind and body (whatever you may think) and my mother lived on another 30 years until in the end her heart got her. The cancer cleared up.

That's just an example - I'm not a doctor or medical consultant so I can't say a lot about the other conditions you mentioned. But from a logical and moral perspective - since that is what I assume we're discussing in relation to abortions here - in my opinion if any of the above conditions was to be such an immediate and serious threat to the mother's life that it would be likely to kill her before she carried the pregnancy full term, it seems obvious an abortion would be the only solution. You'd have to be as certain as you could be that that was the case, of course. My approach would be to respect as far as possible the lives of both mother and child, with priority given to the fact that if the mother dies, so will the child, so it makes sense to save the mother at least. That is looking at it from a rational rather than emotive view (as in it may be easier to empathize with a mother who we can see and who can speak to us rather then the unborn human that we can't). It is trying to respect the rights of all concerned as far as possible.

"Why should a woman be forced to have an unwanted child? So what are you gping to do? imprison the women? Or is it ok to have the abortions in the UK rather than Ireland?"

No, I don't think it's OK for a woman to go to the UK - or anywhere else - for an abortion for the reasons listed that we are referring to here. I don't think it's OK for a woman to have an abortion for those reasons, full stop.

Whether or not she has the child is up to her - if she procures an abortion somewhere abroad for example, I can't stop her. But I do not have to use my vote to facilitate something that goes against my conscience. What are you going to do? Force me to be a party to something I heartily disagree with? If the Irish people vote to permit abortion on demand that'll be their democratic decision. And if following this decision Irish women have abortions here, I won't do anything physical to stop them. I will continue to argue against it, as is my right. But I do not have to vote for it, or agree to it.

Everyone must live according to their consciences, and I would be going against mine if I did not do everything legal in my power to prevent something I believe to be immoral from happening. That might mean lobbying against abortion on demand (because I'm not talking about the life-saving kind here, obviously), using my vote to vote down proposals to legalize abortion on demand here, and so on. The principle here for me is like that of the person who stands by while someone is attacked on the street and does nothing to help. That would be me if I voted for, or agreed to, abortion on demand.

"Why should a woman be forced to have an unwanted child?"

Well, that depends. The first and most obvious reason is because that child has a right to life just like any other human and nobody - not even its mother - has the right to snuff that life just because it is not wanted.

Plus there are many other factors: if a child is unwanted, what was the woman - or the couple - doing engaging in activity that could result in the child's being brought into existence in the first place? That to me is like trying to have your cake and eat it: "I want to have sex, it might - despite all the precautions - result in the formation of a new person. But if that happens, I reserve the right to end that life when I choose" Remember, we are talking here (based on the examples mentioned earlier) of a person who has a child at an inconvenient moment - such as in the middle of a promising career where child rearing is frowned upon, or because the relationship didn't work out.

Is that the fault of the child? Do you think it is OK to kill the child in such circumstances? Where are the rights of the child itself in all this - everyone suits themselves: mother, father, society, except the child.

And to take one of the other examples - absconding fathers. They would be delighted with legalized on demand abortion. Rather than be obliged to stay and take their responsibilities seriously, they could just pressure the girl into having an abortion and sweep the 'problem' under the carpet, or go on to a new girl an do the same. Sounds more like "men's rights" than "women's rights" to me!

Again, is it the fault of the child? Why should the child die because the father leaves?

There are many other examples we could look at honestly, but I hope that's food for thought for the moment.

It may be that I'm wrong, it may be that you're wrong, but we are obliged to act according our principles, are we not? You are free to persuade me I'm wrong, I hope likewise you'll at least consider what I'm (actually!) saying.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Why should a woman be forced to have an unwanted child?"

We should also in fairness ask - 'unwanted by whom?'

The mother may not want it for various reasons.

What the pro-choice lobby are demanding is that she - the mother - alone have the right to decide if that child lives or dies.

What if the child is wanted by its father? By its brothers and sisters? By its grandparents? What if the WHOLE BLOODY world wants the child, except the mother - is her decision to be above the rest of the world? Where are the rights of the father to have his child? It takes two people to make a baby, but it seems the pro-choice lobby wish only one to decide if it lives or dies. What if the boot was on the other foot? What if fathers could, under the law, demand their girlfriends and wives have abortions even if the mother didn't want it? What if mothers-in-law or grandparents had this right?

Yes, I suppose some will say 'what if the boot was on the other foot and men had to carry children?' My position would be exactly the same. Because for me this is not about 'men and women' but a basic natural moral principle - that all human beings have an inalienable right to life, and this is the basis our society - if it is to function and not possibly degenerate into some of the totalitarian horrors we've seen over history - must be based.

author by SpreadYourGenespublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 04:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

by forcing a raped and pregnant girl to bear the child, in darwinian terms, you are basically rewarding the rapist by fulfilling his biological imperative to reproduce his genes.

Normally a crime is punished rather than rewarded.

Why should an already traumatised girl have to shoulder the added burden of bringing up a kid with potentially psycho rapist genes who looks like her attacker?

Aside from these considerations, have you considered the effect of all this on the mother child relationship?

It should be up to the mother to decide. It's her body and her life. You people need to mind your own business. When you lot start helping people with their myriad of hardships once they get here then I'll take the term "pro life" a little more seriously.

author by Discopublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pro-Lifer you display an absolute contempt for the autonomy of women and the bodily integrity of the individual. A woman shouldn’t be forced to continue a pregnancy that she doesn’t want regardless of her decision for it. It’s her body so it’s nobody else’s business. Not the church or the state. You are absolutely right that the pro-choice lobby are demanding that the woman be the only person with the right to decide.
Whether the father wants the child is not relevant until it is born. The father doesn’t have to carry the pregnancy and the rights of the born have to be prioritised above those of the unborn. To come up with a ridiculous hypothetical argument about fathers demanding pregnant women have abortions just shows how much you don’t get it – it’s about bodily integrity. And other people don’t have the right, regardless of who they are, to decide whether or not a woman should carry a pregnancy to full term.

author by Pro-liferpublication date Mon Jul 27, 2009 01:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I came across this report in a recent edition of the Irish Catholic (which is worth reading if even if you are not Catholic, as it covers many stories not covered by the main media, especially stories on Europe, Lisbon etc., but also stuff closer to home).

Those involved in the above debate may be interested to read the comments of Miss C all these years on. Some you will probably regard the source - The Irish Catholic - as being suspect, since I do detect a strong anti-Catholic bias in some posts, but the interview was on RTE and is simply reported here, so you can always listen to it on RTE anyway.

The main point of interest here to my mind is that Miss C now says she would have preferred to carry the baby to full term had she known what an abortion was, and would then have given it up for adoption.

Miss C  says she would have carried the child to full term
Miss C says she would have carried the child to full term

author by Discopublication date Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That is a ridiculous argument. Just because Miss C regretted a decision is absolutely no reason to continue the indignity where Irish women are forced to go overseas for termination. Or women in precarious-migration situations in Ireland are forced to carry a pregnancy to full term of undergo a backstreet abortion because they are prevented from leaving the state.

author by Irish Times Readerpublication date Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish abortion laws breach human rights, court rules,

"The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Ireland has failed to properly implement the constitutional right to abortion where a woman is entitled to one where her life is at risk.

The ruling will put issue of abortion back on the political agenda and is likely to force the Government to introduce legislation or official guidelines on access to abortion for women whose lives are at risk."

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1216/....html

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1216/breaking11.html
author by seanpublication date Thu Dec 16, 2010 18:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

personaly i don't agree with abortion. i find the picture of the girl holding the tee shirt quite saddening and finally i think we shouldn't forget that 'we' were once also as tiny and defenceess at one point and i am not a a practicing catholic or even christian might i add.

author by nnnnpublication date Thu Dec 16, 2010 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry it makes you sad Sean.

Do you have any views on the subject of the thousands of women who have to travel to secure terminations of unwanted pregnancies in Britain? Does their pain and suffering in being forced to borrow money to travel at a particularly stressful and painful time sadden you too?

author by seanpublication date Thu Dec 16, 2010 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yes nnn it does sadden me and i do not judge any woman for having an abortion. i simply think it is not right though i understand why women may have one.

author by AuntyProLifepublication date Fri Dec 17, 2010 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

this whole abortion ruling coming at the time it does is a great way of distracting the Irish public from what is happening to them at the hands of FF and the european bankers. great timing and very cynical. It will feed the media for weeks and get the banksters off the front pages. We're fools if we fall for it. Just legislate to implement what the court said to give women their proper human rights and then get on with it.

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