One small step…

Hooray! After an eight year campaign and a legal case by the Family Planning Association, the Health Department have at last issued a few brief guidelines about how an NI woman can obtain an abortion, though of course not in our God fearing Province. At least I think they have. The guidelines aren’t specific about the information available – we’ll have to wait for that. And Jeffrey Donaldson’s heroic ( not) resistance continues on behalf of the DUP, supported no doubt by the equally staunchly pro-life Sinn Fein. The BBC reports:

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he and his party colleagues were unhappy with some of the guidelines. “We had a number of concerns that we raised with the health minister,” he said. “Some were resolved, some remained unresolved and for that reason our ministers voted against the guidelines at the executive.”

I presume the vote was essentially a gesture and the guidelines, ordered by the Court of Appeal are operative. Audrey Simpson of the FPA welcomes the guidelines – but with basic reservations.
From the guidelines
Care pathways should be in place for all women considering a termination of pregnancy and the Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency and HSC Trusts should work together to ensure that such pathways are in place. All women should have access to written information about termination of pregnancy. Health and Social Care organisations should work together to develop regional leaflets which explain when termination of pregnancy can be provided in Northern Ireland within the current legal framework and also provide more detailed information for woman considering a termination of pregnancy.

From Audrey Simpson the Family Planning Association

I think it’s the first time the Department of Health has had to acknowledge that women in Northern Ireland are no different from women in the rest of the UK,” she said. “But,” said Audrey, “fetal abnormality still isn’t considered grounds for abortion here. Consequently, Northern Ireland women are living under a prehistoric Victorian law created at a time of workhouses and child labour. This law has devastating effects on women’s mental, physical health and wellbeing. It is at complete odds with progressive healthcare and discriminates between women in Northern Ireland and women in the rest of the UK…
(NI women) want to access abortion services and in fact they are accessing abortion services.”

  • ABC

    Brian

    You are wrong. The law on abortion remains completely unchanged regardless of FPA’s best attempts to spin their defeat.

  • salem

    There should be equality for those women here in Northern Ireland as their counterparts in the United Kingdom have. If not we give equality in regards to access – we must install those care and support networks for those women.

    I still find it shocking that in certain areas or clinics and hospitals – some staff will not pass out the Morning after pill due to religious beliefs ! Bernie Kelly of precious life once claimed that anyone who took the morning after pill was a murderer ! So therefore I must be a murderer as i have taken it three times !

    Also the inequality of access for terminations has now become a class issue. Those who can afford the trip to england and those who cannot.

    Whatever Politican who claims that they represent the majority of people in Northern Ireland – arent representing me!

    I support this move and i hope that FPA keep up the good work for the equality for women of NI !

    B

  • SGC

    ABC

    I totally agree the law is as it was “no change”. These guidelines are really for the medical profession and will separate those doctors and nurses who believe in abortion and those who don’t. Will now protect those in the medical profession who have perhaps in certain circumstances been forced to be involved in either the act of abortion or in their participation of this act against the unborn this now allows them not to be forced to.

    I suppose this guidance will again be tested by the FPA as they seem determined to get abortion on demand at all costs. Let’s hope that the courts will in future protect the life of the unborn as it is a gift of God.

  • sceptic

    it is a gift of God.

    He’s a mighty fucker then?

  • ngg

    is it too much for people to understand the idea that your human rights do not, CAN NOT trump those of another living human being. just because you want something to be nonhuman does not make it so.

    if we had a vote, it would likely be the will of the majority that unborn humans be spared the pleasure of being cut to pieces and pulled out the womb.

    the sad truth about this debate is that those claiming “reproductive rights” are actually allowing themselves to be inducted into the worlds biggest death cult.

    and specifically to salem,

    if you took the morning after pill. you ended the life of a human being. what do you call yourself if not a murderer?

  • Brian Walker

    ABC, I am not wrong. From what I wrote, it is completely clear that the law has not been changed. Your opposition to abortion shouldn’t blunt your ability to read simple English.

  • 6 County Prod

    Maybe the video of this little twelve year old girl will talk some sense into those who support a woman’s right to ‘terminate’ the life of her unborn child.

  • salem

    NGG – what an ignorant response !

    I call myself a Sensible Mature Woman – not a murderer !

    I dont have to justify my reasons for using the morning after pill – neither should any other women or girl.

  • “Maybe the video of this little twelve year old girl will talk some sense into those who support a woman’s right to ‘terminate’ the life of her unborn child.”

    Good video. “out of the mouths of babes and sucklings…”

  • Harry Flashman

    “Hooray!”

    Indeed hooray! More babies to be disemboweled, decapitated, dismembered and eviscerated.

    Hooray! Hooray again!

  • JC

    NGG – if we are in fact murderers then what do you propose the punishment should be?

  • meah

    to those that would criminalise abortion, would you maintain the status quo, i.e. that any woman that receives an abortion be sentanced to something approaching life in prison, as the current law would imply? Do you believe that no reform of this law is necessary?

    p

  • ngg

    salem/jc

    murder is mrder.

    i dont plan on suggesting a punishment for your crime.

    if you had a shred of humanity your guilt would be enough.

    this is not a matter of debate. if i came on here and suggested rape was ok in certain cases i would, quite rightly be attacked.

    but ask yourself if these poor tortured mutilated children would prefer any treatment to the treament thier own mothers have been conditioned to dish out.

    a mother is a sacred thing. instead you choose to butcher or pioson your own kids.

    its worse than rape its murder. you are (imo) guilty of that.

    how you sleep at night is a wonder to me.

    conversation over. go convince yourself that your still human on your own.

  • salem

    NGG – oh my oh my !

    I am still human and still a good person !

  • 6 County Prod

    Everyone against abortion, please Raise Your Hand.

  • Pete

    ngg,

    “conversation over. go convince yourself that your still human on your own.”

    My goodness, what a reasonable person you are.

  • salem,

    Just in case you get the idea they’re all agin you. I’m not.

    I’m not going to get into any discussion with the neanderthals, but suffice it to say that I think that abortion should be freely available north ad south (and in Malta too, if anyone there is reading this).

  • salem

    Thank you Horseman – I am not concerned by ignorance of NGG and others !

    Again this just proves that they cannot hold a debate or discussion about Abortion without becoming hysterical!

  • percy

    this is an issue that unites caths and prods, and they’re both totally out of kilter with the rest of Great Britain, ergo a united ireland is the sensible way to resolve this matter.
    Go your own way!

  • joeCanuck

    without becoming hysterical!

    Precisely. They think that by calling names and appealing to irrational emotion (murder, baby killers etc), that they can persuade, or bully others into doing the same.

  • percy

    joe,
    most of the anti-abortionist bigots are quite happy to support blowing someone away for political gain, so their argument about protecting life just doesn’t wash with me.
    also what happens when a child is born and its life-chances, poverty etc doesn’t even get considered.

  • joeCanuck

    Everyone against abortion, please Raise Your Hand.

    I do believe that is all or nearly all of us.
    But some of us are pro-choice. That is, every woman should have control of her own body. It’s really nobody’s else business but hers.

  • percy

    indeed joe,
    The reason we have family planning is to plan families. D’oh

  • Driftwood

    If the British Medical Association (the experts) say it’s OK, then it’s OK.
    The morning after pill is freely available (including by internet). The people here referring to murder etc are pathetic. Abortion is no different to using a condom. hardly a big deal. So unless the anti-abortionists are also against contraception – every sperm is sacred!- they are hypocrites.

  • 6 County Prod

    Joe: ‘every woman should have control of her own body. It’s really nobody’s else business but hers.’

    Ah right, but do they have any idea of the harm that they are causing themselves?

  • The Third Policeman

    Leaving aside the wider abortion debate, (and please let’s do just that, people on both sides go absolutly ape shit buck mental and the whole thing just descends to a shouting session right away) but lets look at the guidelines for a minute.

    Why are these guidelines only being brought out now? And why did it take an eight year campaign to help clarify what’s already enshrined in law? I’m assuming its only for abortions to save the mother’s life, and that annoys pro-choicers, but the NHS has guidelines on everything, so why not this? And even from a pro-life point of view, the abortions these guidelines deal with surely do not fall into the murder category. So what we’re seeing here is the Dept of Health finally getting round to issuing guidelines on something even the Catholic Church considers a medical procedure. So who held this whole thing up?

    Or am I missing something? Will the guidelines mention whether Ryanair or easyjet does the best deals on a trip to England to get one done?

  • ngg

    wow

    i really must remmver to take my moral lead from people who kill thier own babies.

    and perhaps i can gey huam rights lesson from gerry adams!

    its funny to get called a bully by people who dont believe in bullying, just murdering innocent kids.

    allso a bigot is a great insult when you get it from someone who believs poisoning babies is a “right”

    finally it is not unreasonable to expect mothers to preserve the life of thier own offspring.

    it is unreasonable to demand no death penalty for killers, but freedom to butcher your tiny baby.

    murder is murder.

  • Peter Fyfe

    percy,

    MOST of the anti-abortionist bigots are quite happy to support blowing someone away for political gain

    Are you having a laugh, that is an absurd sweeping satement. Does the catholic church support this? I certainly never heard a sermon supporting it.

    The reason we have family planning is to plan families.

    what if I wish to plan for my future by myself and it would greatly help if I killed somebody who got in the way of that. Just because the agency has a dressed up name does not make it harmless to hundreds of children. And you cant be planning all that well if the result is you need to kill your own child. That sounds like a serious lack of planning to me.

    also what happens when a child is born and its life-chances, poverty etc doesn’t even get considered.

    Do you mean like a jew in nazi germany where the alternative was persecution? Its the most absurd arguement you are doing the child a favour by killing it.If i see a poor homeless alcoholic with not much hope in life, can I kill him? Most certainly not. How stupid do you think people are to even believe for a second, murder is in the child’s interest?

    Driftwood

    “So unless the anti-abortionists are also against contraception – every sperm is sacred!- they are hypocrites.”

    I never studied biology past double award science. So its been a while but im pretty sure the human sperm is not a human life and without fertilising an egg has zero potential to be a human life.

    Abortion is no different to using a condom

    Just saying it does not make it true. Abortion is the killing of a fertilised egg(child). They need nothing more than nutrients from the mother to survive, surely every parent’s duty even out of the womb. A condom on the other hand will prevent a child being created hence no need to kill it afterwards when the mother decides letting their child live does not suit their lifestyle. It really is not hard to understand one is prevention, which I personally have no problem with, the other is killing, correcting a mistake, family planning, call it whatver you want but I assure you driftwood, you are wrong, they are not the same.

  • ngg

    the saddest part of this is the fact that the people who believe abortion (or cold blooded murder) is ok, are on the wrong side of history.

    in the future our ancestors will regard us as barbaric monsters.

    imagine we have the cheek to attack islamic butchers, while at home we murder our own future generation.

    “pro child murder” advocates are the modern version of slave traders, telling the world that blacks are really subhumans.

    its pathetic that people with intellects allow themselves to be perverted by this.

  • Ms S Dogood

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 has amended the Abortion Act (AA) 1967 from a 28 week destruction limit to 24 weeks, and it is likely the AA 1967 will be amended again via the same 1990 Act to reflect modern technologies – 20 weeks. But hold the front page in Northern Ireland we abide by the 1929 Infant Life (Preservation) Act and follow the case law of R v Bourne [1938] 3 All ER 615:

    A young girl, not quite 15 years of age, was pregnant as the result of rape. A surgeon, of the highest skill, openly, in one of the London hospitals, without fee performed the operation of abortion. He was charged under the Offences against the Person Act 1861, s 58, with unlawfully procuring the abortion of the girl.

    The jury were directed that it was for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the operation was not performed in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the girl. The surgeon had not got to wait until the patient was in peril of immediate death, but it was his duty to perform the operation if, on reasonable grounds and with adequate knowledge, he was of opinion that the probable consequence of the continuance of the pregnancy would be to make the patient a physical and mental wreck.

    In conclusion, it appears that thanks to pro-life pressure groups we can destroy a foetus up to 28 weeks in NI but not in any other part of the UK. Elsewhere its 24 weeks and likely to decrease!

  • Comrade Stalin

    percy,

    most of the anti-abortionist bigots are quite happy to support blowing someone away for political gain, so their argument about protecting life just doesn’t wash with me.
    also what happens when a child is born and its life-chances, poverty etc doesn’t even get considered.

    Very well said. I have never understood why the concern for the magic and wonder that is a human life stops as soon as it is able to breathe fresh air.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Note the weasel words – terminate, abort, procedure, choice. JUST KEEP IT SIMPLE. Try- squash,vacuum,poison and kill.

  • 6 County Prod

    It always amazes me how liberals think nothing about terminating the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. Survival of the fittest and all that, eh?

  • Gregory

    “Again this just proves that they cannot hold a debate or discussion about Abortion without becoming hysterical!”

    Both sides are emotive, how could it be otherwise?

    Gregory

  • TwilightoftheProds

    How many of the anti abortionists are opposed on

    A) religious grounds – ie ‘ensoulment’ from conception, ‘divine gift’ etc

    B)..or simply being shown gruesome videos at school by clerics with little or no experience of adult relationships

    C) or some thoughtful philosophical or social position related to human well being.

    For most anti abortion activists its simply A, although they try hard to screen it with B. In that circumstance they can keep their perverted desert fairytales and oddball musings of nomads out of my century. And take their shock horror voyeuristic pictures with them. I swear they get their rocks off on taking umbrage and waggling pictures of small dead bodies.

    People who reason on C are worth listening to. But still I’ll save my concern for fully sentient creatures that can reason and express emotion. Enough of them are suffering and they have fully developed brains.

    Save the aid and sympathy for people in a third world slum. Or at least deal with some of the the reasons that land women with unwanted pregnancies. Don’t criminalise them.

  • Danny Boy

    Absolutely, Twilight! We need to recognise that women make decisions for an infinite variety of valid reasons, not just because they are A) naive, deluded fools who will regret it later and should therefore be protected (by us, whoever ‘we’ are) from making their own choices or B) amoral hallions who knock themselves up for the sheer joy of having their wombs hoovered.

  • Harry Flashman

    Folks, slicing up human babies in their mothers’ wombs is kind of an emotive issue, n’est ce pas?

    As regards hypocrisy I think it amazing that the same people who go all weepy at the thought of a serial killer being painlessly and humanely executed and who wait outside US prisons holding candle light vigils seem to be so dismissive of the concerns other people have about dragging a fully developed baby’s head out of the birth canal and sticking a fork in its brain.

    Now that there’s some class of hypocrisy folks.

    It is in fact worth bearing in mind however that most ant-abortionists are also opposed to capital punishment, they at least have consistency on their side.

  • Gregory

    “I swear they get their rocks off on taking umbrage and waggling pictures of small dead bodies.”

    Small dead people is it?

    Gregory

  • Rory Carr

    “It is in fact worth bearing in mind however that most ant-abortionists are also opposed to capital punishment…” – Harry Flashman

    Well it would be worth bearing in mind, Harry, if we knew it was indeed a fact. But we don’t know that, do we?

    In the U.S., for example, there does appear to be a strong correlation between pro-life Republicans and pro-capital punishment Republicans, at least in the public mind. While it would be wrong to lump all right-wing views together into one neat package so that one has to buy into all or none this would also hold true for your above linking of opposition to abortion to opposition to capital punishment.

    Indeed the willingness of pro-lifers to sanction the murder of staff at clinics where abortions are performed suggests that pro-lifers are rather less than wimpish when it comes to ending fully developed human life.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Comrade Stalin, I see you agree with percy’s ridiculous point’s, could you answer my questions to him, please? I am just wondering how you can back this up with facts

  • Defendus

    Ms S Dogood

    If you read the Abortion Act 1967 you will see that you can abort your child to FULL TERM in the UK for Disabililty or Helath of the mother.

    In 1990 as well as reducing the time limit on the Abortion Act to 24 weeks for social abortions the Infant Life Preservation Act was decoupled fro the abortion act thus allowing for the abortions to full term on the above two grounds.

    The Bourne Case does not apply directly to the Child Destruction offence as Dr Bourne was prosecuted under the Offences Against the Person Act. Althought the Judge “imported” the defence from the Child Destruction offence (In the Infant Life Preservation Act) that does not mean that the Bourne case is precedent for a Child Destruction case. The Defence to the Child Destruction is statutory and therefore subject to a narrower interpreation than Bourne.

    The guidelines are weak as they do not properly explain the defences or the law and lead people to think that abortion of a child “capable of being born alive” (Child destruction) is allowed on the same grounds as Bourne (Therapeutic). Not so.

    Also Bourne is only a case at firat instance and therefore may well be overturned in another prosecution.

  • GH

    There is a lot of ignorant comment on this thread. To reduce the level of ignorance, it might help if people were to read the newly published guidance before commenting on it. It is available to download here: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/hss-md-9-2009-attachment.pdf

    As you will see, it does not change the law. However, it does make it clear that it is NOT only when a woman’s life is in immediate danger that she has a right to an abortion under the law here. The guidance says that women here have a right to end a pregnancy that threatens their physical or mental health. Many doctors, however, are unwilling to admit this and deny women who have a right to a termination here the medical treatment that they request. Now, women will be able to vindicate their rights, using the guidance to force a doctor to refer them to someone who will look at her medical needs, rather than let their own religious views decide for her.

    As for the commentator who – like many anti-abortionists – pretends he is concerned that abortion damages women, it would be instructive for you to read what the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have to say about issues like post-abortion depression, the alleged links to breast cancer etc. On this link:
    http://www.rcog.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigning-and-opinions/briefings-and-qas-/human-fertilisation-and-embryology-bill/brie-4, you will find the SCIENTIFIC evidence which says there is NO link between abortion and breast cancer and that psychological damage after abortion is no greater than after childbirth.

  • Dev

    ‘if you had a shred of humanity your guilt would be enough’ – so ngg, in your opinion the ‘murder’ (as you see it) of an unborn child should be accompnied by nothing more than a sense of guilt by the ‘murderer’? Do you feel the same about all examples of murder or just abortion? If you think other murders should be treated differently (with say a custodial sentence) then why this special exemption for what you clearly consider to be murder???

    To those who seem to think the admittedly gruesome nature of some abortion procedures justifies a ban, do feel the same about open heart surgery? There are lots of medical procedures that would be almost vomit-inducing to most of us who don’t work in the medical profession but that doesn’t mean they should not happen.

  • Laura

    Joining the ranks of the pro-choice commenters.
    Those who oppose abortion most often do so because of religious delusions. Hindering women’s rights on this issue is outdated (as evidenced by the majority of developed countries where abortion is legal) and so too are the religious delusions upon which those bigoted convictions are based.

    ngg who believes us to be on the wrong side of history is ignoring the evidence from progressive nations and an increasingly liberal, open-minded public.
    It is bigoted, self-righteous viewpoints like theirs which are on the wrong side of history. There is no escaping that.