The Government announced today that a combination of legislation and regulations will be introduced to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case.
Minister for Health James Reilly presented a memorandum to this morning’s Cabinet meeting. The decision was taken to follow this route – the fourth option from the expert group on abortion - rather than proposing guidelines, an option favoured by anti-abortion campaign groups.
A statement released by the Department of Health said: "Having considered the report of the of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland the Government has decided that the implementation of this judgement by way of legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue."
In a statement, the Government said the drafting of legislation, supported by regulations, will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case. "It was also agreed to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area," it said.
Read full article here
Mr Halappanavar objected to the inclusion on the panel of three employees of the hospital and within 24 hours they had been dropped amid concerns of a conflict of interest.
The replacements are: Professor James Walker, Professor and honorary consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in St James Hospital in Leeds, Dr Brian Marsh, consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and immediate past-Dean, Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine of Ireland and Professor Mary Horgan, Consultant Physician in Cork University Hospital and Professor in the School of Medicine, University College Cork.
Ireland's President Michael D Higgins says he hopes women will be safer in the wake of the death of an Indian dentist after a miscarriage.
He expressed his wish that Irish women will get the medical services they are entitled to internationally after Savita Halappanavar, 31, died 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
Her husband Praveen is battling the Irish Government and health chiefs to hold a sworn, public inquiry into her death, which he claims happened after she was denied an abortion on medical grounds.
Mr Higgins, on a three day trip to Liverpool and Manchester, rejected suggestions that Ireland's reputation around the world has been damaged by the controversy.
"I think that what is very important and what is very moving to me as president is to see the enormous response among the Irish public to the sad death of the wonderful Savita and how tragic it all is," Mr Higgins said.
"My wish, frankly, is that there be some form of investigation which meets the needs of the concerned public and meets the needs of the family and meets the need of the state."
At least 10,000 people marched through Dublin on Saturday demanding reform of abortion laws. Further protests and candlelit vigils have taken place in New York, India and elsewhere, including another demonstration at Ireland's Dail parliament tonight.
Mr Higgins urged respect for the Irish constitution, which gives equal right to life to the mother and unborn child, and for a 2010 European court ruling which found a woman living in Ireland had her human rights violated by being forced to travel overseas for a termination for fear she would suffer a cancer relapse during pregnancy.
"The Irish constitution and later European court cases have to be respected and we have to move on," he said.
Ms Halappanavar died in Galway University Hospital on October 28 after losing her baby. She contracted septicaemia.
Over 2,000 attend another vigil and protest at the Dail. We will not be ignored. Never again! The next protest is on Wed 28th at 7pm - details HERE.
Tweets during Sinead Redmond's emotional speech
Sinead Redmond, Pro-Choice activist and heavily pregnant talks about the 8th amendment as a '152' year old relic. #Savita
New campaign @SavitasLaws http://www.savitaslaws.com/ and Facebook #Savita #rtept #legislatenow
Redmond talks about website 'Savita's Laws' established this week. #Savita
Pregnant speaker says civil and political opinion should have no role in her care #savita #dail
That last line came from a speaker who is 8 months pregnant. "My life and health are worth protecting." #Savita #LegislateForX
Very moving speech by Sinead Redmond & what I feel as we in the fucking dark ages #savita
Great emotional address from @sineadredmond calling for immediate legislation & removal of 1861 act #Savita #SavitasLaws #NeverAgain
"This is not a time to be calm. This is a time to be angry. A woman died a preventable death in an Irish hospital in 2012" #Savita
"I cannot sleep with rage, with fear"- 8 month pregnant Sinead Redmond #Savita
Sinead Redmond, of Unlike Youth Defence, says "we need movement and we need it now. Never again." #savita
Sinead Redmond cries "SHAME ON THEM!" on the steps outside Leinster House. Crowd erupts with shouts of 'shame' #Savita
"Civil and criminal law has no place in my pregnancy, in my medical treatment"- Sinead Redmond's voice breaks with emotion #Savita
Video of Clare Daly at the protest tonight
Photos from the march tonight
| || |
THE eminent UK obstetrician chairing the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar co-authored a report which called on countries with restrictive abortion laws to look at more liberal regimes.
How anybody thought an investigation panel into the death of a person in a hospital controlled by the Health Service Executive could include medics from that hospital and a representative of the HSE itself would be beyond belief were it not devised by the hapless James Reilly.
So too is the absence of any clear legal basis for investigation, made worse by the absence of legal expertise on the panel.
A commission of investigation such as that constituted under Judge Yvonne Murphy to inquire into child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese should have been instituted. Such an inquiry, limited to the circumstances surrounding the death of Savita Halappanavar, would be brief, inexpensive, conclusive and credible.
If, following yesterday’s removal of the University Hospital Galway consultants from the panel, another cobbled-together panel proceeds, there are likely to be legal challenges, complaints about procedures, refusals to co-operate and, finally, a report (if the process does not collapse) that will have limited, if any, authority.
Whatever the Government does on legislation or otherwise on the X case judgment is also likely to be a fiasco, because the complexity of the issues to be addressed are such, largely because of difficulties with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the X case (if a possible suicide is a justification for abortion, then how is a possible death from other causes not a justification?).
And that complexity arises, in the first instance, from the terms of the 1983 abortion amendment. The case for amending this amendment is now compelling and this will require the Irish people to reconsider their mindset on abortion.
A SERIES of events has plunged the HSE probe into the death of Savita Halappanavar further into shambles.
The agency was forced to ask three doctors from Galway University Hospital to step down from the inquiry, and it has now emerged the man leading the investi- gation previously helped to write a report advocating abortion.
At the same time, Savita’s husband, in an interview with the Irish Independent, confirmed that he has no intention of co-operating with the HSE investigation.
SAVITA Halappanavar was just 11-years-old when the X case judgment was handed down. Today, she’s a martyr to the political cowardice that, for two decades, refused to implement that ruling.
One such woman, Gráinne Bray, on RTE’s The Frontline on Monday, spoke in harrowing detail of how doctors refused to intervene in her pregnancy for fear of harming her seven-week-old twin foetuses.
"From the day I did my pregnancy test I was in acute pain, but I was turned away from A&E several times because I wasn’t bleeding and I wasn’t miscarrying. They couldn’t help me.
"One night I collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital, but they still couldn’t intervene because the foetal heartbeats were still there. That went on for another week. I was in acute pain, had an elevated white cell count, fever, drenched in sweat — they could not intervene.
"Eventually, we lost the babies and I was brought down to theatre … when they opened me up, the surgeon said he couldn’t see any internal organs I was so full of pus … the consultant told my husband that if the foetuses hadn’t died when they did, I would have been dead within a week," she said.
Mrs Bray isn’t alone. According to Dr Mark Murphy, who has published research in this area, there have been many cases when mothers, with a real and substantial risk to their lives, were forced to travel abroad for a termination of their pregnancy.
Dr Murphy, in his research, found that 9% of GPs had managed a pregnant patient with a life-threatening medical condition, but recorded only one instance of an Irish doctor performing a termination in an Irish hospital — in a case of severe preeclampsia.
"All the other cases travelled abroad for a termination despite the fact their GP felt they had a real and substantial risk to their life," he said.
These threats to life included pregnant women with cancer who required an abortion to avail of treatment like chemotherapy; women with severe cardiovascular disease requiring termination to prevent maternal ill health and those at severe psychiatric risk, like rape victims.
So, desperately ill women in these appalling situations are handed their medical files and told, "you may want to travel" — the euphemism used when women are exported, with no consideration given to the potential impact on their psychological health, to access abortion services abroad.
Not to be flippant here, but I can identify ONE pretty clear problem off the top of my head: Stop letting ancient mythology dictate the medical care of modern human beings, especially when those human beings do not even subscribe to that particular mythology. Stop letting women die because of some paternalistic notion about the sanctity of their reproductive organs—as though a woman's uterus isn't a body part that deserves medical care, it's a magical box filled with treasure that somehow belongs to the fucking Pope. If you're a doctor, don't kill your patients because of an invisible dude in the sky that you've never met. Or, if that's your thing, open an "invisible dude in the sky hospital," and give people a heads-up that they're not going to get adequate, just, unbiased medical treatment there."
THE MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has recognised the need for a transparent, independent inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway University Hospital – but added that the process needed to be expedited in order to ensure no further risk is posed to women being treated at the facility.
Responding to questions put to him at the Joint Committee on Health and Children this evening, Reilly said that ‘justice not only needed to be done, but needed to be seen to be done’.
“This is a very difficult and traumatic time for the family of Savita Halappanavar and I know that it’s going to be very difficult for them in relation to whole procedure,” he said. However, he added that he had a “duty of care” to women across the country to expedite the process so that if any further risks at the hospital remain they can be addressed.