Sunday, 22 March 2009

Abortion is a reality - deal with it.

Is it not about time that we stop being such hypocrites – something many Irish people excel at – and belatedly introduce abortion rights in this country?

According to the Safe and Legal in Ireland Campaign website, “at least 123,258 women traveled from Ireland to the UK for abortions between January 1980 and December 2005.”

That’s a lot of women surreptitiously undergoing what is an already traumatic procedure, without any support or back-up care from the State, which takes the usual Official Ireland "what we say rather than what we do" approach to the issue.

Last week, new guidelines were issued in Northern Ireland which should have the effect of making it easier for women there to access terminations locally, although legally they are only allowed when "it is necessary to save the life of the woman or if there is a risk of serious, long term damage to her physical or mental health.”

Here, in the Republic, abortion is allowed only where the actual life of the woman is in danger. Indeed, in the past the State has attempted to prevent individuals travelling to other EU States for terminations; as in the 1992 “X-case” , when it attempted to prevent a 14-year-old who had been raped accessing an abortion in Britain.

According to the Safe and Legal in Ireland Campaign, “the ban on abortion in Ireland is the most extreme in Europe. Abortion is criminalised, attracting a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Irish law makes no provision for legal abortion when a woman has a severe foetal anomaly, is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or experiences serious complications from pregnancy that threaten her health or well-being.”

While the decision to have an abortion should never be taken lightly and should always be an informed one, there will always be crisis pregnancies - and as long as there are crisis pregnancies there will be abortions. It is about time that the Irish State recognised this simple reality and provided this facility for its citizens, rather than forcing them into late-stage, crisis abortions abroad.

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2 comments:

Ella said...

A worthy subject indeed.

During the 80s I was an economic migrant in London and as such was contacted on more than one occasion by acquaintances from the old sod, as they needed to come to Britain to get an abortion. I never refused a request like this and Mr Ella was also happy to oblige.

The circumstances in which Irish women cross the water to have an abortion are awful. They are generally doing it without the knowledge of any of their immediate family and friends and quite often without the knowledge of their partner. They had to come up with a real good excuse for disappearing for several days. These women usually had to take the boat to Holyhead and then the arduous trek down to London. In the 80s the cost of a flight to London was 100s of pounds, well out of the reach of all but a few. They had to find the price of an abortion (about STG 140) in those days in a private clinic. Many of them had to find accommodation for a couple of nights, unless they were lucky and knew a friend of a friend who lived in the UK. This friend would generally book an appt with the abortion clinic. The only advice I ever gave anybody who actually had an abortion was to listen to the people at the clinic and take their advice. The most important bit of advice proffered by these clinics was to use contraceptives in the future, this was assuming the woman chose to go ahead with the abortion. I digress here a little but I remember a woman saying to me after having an abortion that it was only a one off she wouldn’t be needing contraceptives again. She was adamant about this and therefore didn’t need advice from strangers in the use of contraceptives. Guess what less than 6 months later she was back at my place for abortion number 2. She was not the only woman to whom this happened. The problem of course was they were so brainwashed in to thinking that what they were doing was wrong that they believed in fact that it was wrong and they believed they would never do it again.

This believing that they were indeed doing wrong was only reinforced with the proliferation of groups like Youth Defence (right wing Catholic outfit). On my visits back to Dublin I’d regularly see this particular grouping with a stall at the bottom of Grafton Street. Tellingly these stalls were generally “manned” by nuns and young men. 2 groups that really probably never have the need for an abortion. I’m happy to report here that I did assist in the destruction of one such stall and scampered leaving devastation in my wake.

It is not very pc to say this, but ultimately abortion is a woman’s choice and it should be available in Ireland as and when necessary. Don’t get me wrong I most certainly don’t advocate abortion as a form of contraception. But I don’t see why the religious beliefs of nutters should impinge on my right to choose.

Abortion is a reality. It should be legal. This will help stamp out back street abortions and enable women to stay at home rather than have to travel for the procedure.

Ella.

ainelivia said...

Personally I would ban Catholicism, that might actually allow many of us to make up our own minds.

The strangle-hold in Ireland upon the freedom of its women to decide what is best for them is hypocrisy, and unfortunately is only matched by the lunacy of the leader of the Catholic Church declaring that condoms should not be used by Africans.

Lets all grow up and see that the self-interest, lunacy and downright hypocrisy of the clergy etc in Ireland is something that is easily overcome. Say No to them.. remind them of the abuses of their kind in Ireland, remind them of their committment in Christ to charity, if all else fails, send them all off on the missions. Make Ireland Europe's religious free zone.

That should leave the population of Ireland free to learn to live making their own decisions.