Over 200 people came together to start building a new campaign for abortion rights in Ireland. Working groups were created for topics such as lobbying, media and fundraising. The structure and aims of the campaign were also discussed.

Aoife Dermody, one of the meeting organisers. It was clear we have the knowledge and experience, and more importantly the compassion and energy we need. We are prepared to take action to make this change a reality.” Anyone wishing to get involved can email irishchoicenetwork@gmail.com

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The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will today assess the Irish government’s action plan on the implementation of abortion law.

This action plan has been designed to address the judgement in 2010 in the case of he A, B And C vs Ireland whereby the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland had violated the human rights of a woman who had been unable to determine whether or not she qualified for a lawful abortion.

The government presented the new action plan outlining how it will implement this legally-binding judgment following an expert group report on abortion. The action plan will be assessed by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the political governing body of the European human rights authority, which is meeting in Strasbourg today.

Ireland’s human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) today welcomed the action plan promise to ensure that the judgment is “implemented expeditiously”, which the Council claims will require speedy reform of Ireland’s “wholly outmoded” abortion laws.

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Here are five key statements repeatedly made by anti-abortion campaigners. Every one of them is factually wrong:

1. Ireland is the safest place in the world for a mother to have a baby.

This claim is repeated endlessly – for the very good reason that, if true, it would be powerfully persuasive. There are, however, two enormous problems with it. Firstly, the figures on which it is based are extremely dubious. They come from a 2005 report, Maternal Mortality in 2005 estimates developed by WHO, Unicef, UNFPA and the World Bank. It does indeed show Ireland with the lowest rate of maternal death in the world at just one per 100,000 live births. This is a spectacularly good result – the average in the developed world is nine per 100,000.

The figure in Ireland’s case represents the number of deaths recorded on death certificates as having occurred during or immediately after a pregnancy. No independent expert believes these figures to be accurate. The whole basis on which they are collected is currently being changed – the new, more accurate results should be available next year. 

Read full article from Fintan O'Toole here

 
 
THE ABORTION BILL put forward by Clare Daly was defeated by a remarkable 101 votes to 27 last week, despite the blustering showboating of many TDs following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

We need legislation to allow Irish doctors to make confident decisions on the care of their patients; there’s no getting around that. Our public representatives are aware of that. The question, really, is not if legislation will be enacted, but when. Ireland’s politicians will dither, waffle on about the need for reflection, and hop from foot to foot wringing their hands, their delaying the inevitable conveniently acting as a sort of political appeasement to those who would oppose the legislation.

In short, they’ll sit on the fence up to the point where they can claim they only moved because they were pushed off.

And this is for medically-necessary abortion: termination in cases where pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, including by risk of suicide. Many of those who are advocating abortion legislation stress this. Medically-necessary. Extreme situations. Last resorts. Abortion-on-demand, we are told, is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Even the term is loaded, isn’t it? Abortion-on-demand. It suggests unreasonable women stamping their feet until they get their own way, abortion as another facet of a culture of insufferable entitlement. Its structure dissuades objection, but all the same it begs the question: what’s so terrible about abortion-on-demand?

 
 
Video with thanks to Paula Geraghty of Trade Union TV.
 
 
Putting herself on a likely collision course with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ms Creighton said she was not convinced legislation was necessary. 

The outspoken junior minister also warned that any proposed law change would need to be narrower in scope than the 20-year-old X case ruling, as issues such as time limits for terminations were not covered by it. 

"We have to be clear that, in fact, the Supreme Court decision at the moment is extremely open and extremely vague. It doesn’t provide any guidance on those issues. What the Oireachtas would have to introduce is something much, much narrower, and that would at some point be tested in the Supreme Court and that is inevitable," Ms Creighton told RTÉ. 

Full article by Shaun Connolly here
 
 
When I argued a case challenging Ireland's ban on abortion before the European Court of Human Rights in 2009, I told the story of my client, "Ms. C," who had been battling cancer when she became pregnant. Ms. C's doctors in Ireland, where abortion is illegal and lifesaving abortion is largely unavailable, refused to provide her with even basic information about the risk that continuation of pregnancy posed to her life, and so she had no option but to travel to England to obtain an abortion.

The human rights court found this to be a clear violation of my client's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and in 2010 demanded that Ireland reform its abortion laws. The case was considered a major victory for women.

But the victory exists only on paper, as is clear from the tragic case of Savita Halappanavar. Last month Halappanavar, 31, died from a pregnancy-related blood infection after doctors in Ireland refused to perform an abortion. According to her husband, as Halappanavar's health deteriorated, she had begged doctors for medically necessary treatment. Even after her doctors acknowledged that there was no chance her fetus would survive, they refused to terminate the pregnancy as long as they could detect even the faintest fetal heartbeat. Halappanavar slipped into a coma from which she never recovered.

Full article by Julie F. Kay here
 
 
"International human rights groups" have contacted the husband of the late Savita Halappanavar and have pledged to help him in his European court battle.

Praveen Halappanavar’s solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, revealed the situation to the Irish Examiner after the deadline the widower gave for an independent State inquiry to be set up passed yesterday without progress. 

Mr O’Donnell said that three days after he wrote to Health Minister James Reilly on the matter, the only response had been a note on Wednesday evening confirming the correspondence had been received. 

Mr O’Donnell said he and his client are now committing to taking a European Court of Human Rights case against the State — with the move receiving "international" support. 

"Given the huge amount of international attention this has received we do have offers of help from people in human rights groups [in relation to the case]. 

"There are a wealth of people, from Britain and elsewhere, who said they want to offer their services to Praveen. Some of these organisations are known internationally, although I don’t wish to name them yet," the solicitor said. 

Full article by Fiachra Ó Cionnaith here

 
 
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has moved to defuse public controversy and tensions between the Coalition parties over abortion by promising swift action and calling for a “calm, rational and sensitive discussion”.

However, there was adverse reaction within his own party, with a number of Fine Gael backbenchers complaining that they were being “press-ganged” into moving too rapidly to deal with the matter.

Speaking this morning, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said leaving suicide out the discussion surrounding abortion was not an option.  “The Supreme Court is absolutely clear upon this issue and the people have been absolutely clear. There were attempts made by previous Governments in 1992 and 2002 to remove suicide as an issue. The people on both occasions turned that down.”

During a private members’ time in the Dáil last night, Mr Shatter said that some citizens were more equal than others.

He moved to clarify his comments today. “When men in this country require medical treatment there are no barriers to their obtaining it," he said. "In these particular areas, for example, there are barrier to women obtaining treatment and in that sense they are less equal as citizens in one particular area of our life.”


Full article here

 
 
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter says it is "not an option" to leave out the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion.

Fine Gael backbenchers are concerned about the inclusion of suicide in the forthcoming expected legislation on abortion in limited circumstances.

Mr Shatter says decision in the Supreme Court in the X case and subsequent court cases are clear on the question on suicide.

"It is not an option to leave it out," he said on RTE's Morning Ireland.

The minister said "the people have been absolutely clear" too in referenda in 1992 and 2002 on this question.

“The Supreme Court is absolutely clear about this issue and the people have been absolutely clear," he said.

Full article by Fionnan Sheahan here