#Reilly legislation on abortion: It’s truly idiotic

You didn't expect this.

And the abortion debate rumbles on …. Yesterday Health Minister James Reilly denied that it was ever being proposed that the opinion of six doctors would be stipulated in legislation covering abortion where there was a risk of suicide. This morning, Fionnan Sheahan published details of the draft legislation: • “One obstetrician and two psychiatrists have jointly certified that, in their reasonable opinion, there is a real and substantial risk of loss of the pregnant woman’s life from self-destruction and … Read more

Sinn Féin and abortion – two more motions challenging the party’s current stance

For the second year in a row, motions about abortion have been submitted to the ard fheis. The Ard Chomhairle has its own motion this year around legislating “to give effect to the 1992 judgement of the Supreme Court in the X Case”. But the motion from headquarters is joined by two others that largely reflect last year’s unsuccessful attempts to liberalise the party’s standpoint on abortion. The simplest of the motions is adapted from last year’s unsuccessful “articulate, campaign … Read more

Anti-abortion farce takes over Assembly

How sad and how typical it is that local parties are uniting to impose an unnecessary ban on a non-existent threat. The Marie Stopes clinic has said it will carry out medical, not surgical, procedures only up to nine weeks gestation and only within the existing legal framework of private abortions. They have made it clear they must operate within the NI legal framework and ” want to be regulated.” Fiddling while the place is burning  is becoming the Assembly’s speciality. … Read more

The moment of quickening

Patsy McGarry has an interesting article in the Irish Times today on the surprisingly fluid nature of the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion: … some of the church’s greatest teachers and saints believed no homicide was involved if abortion took place before the foetus was infused with a soul, known as “ensoulment”. This was believed to occur at “quickening”, when the mother detected the child move for the first time in her womb. In 1591, Pope Gregory XIV determined it … Read more

Short roundup on the #Savita case…

With as little comment and ado as possible… – Alex Massie notes the irreducible paradox of how the law as it stands was caught out by circumstance: Clearly, doctors did not think Mrs Halapannavar’s life was in danger. Equally likely: this delay helped kill her. – In the Irish Times, James McDermott notes: It is far better for the Oireachtas to debate legislation in a calm and coherent manner rather than for courts to have to develop the law on … Read more

The pro-choice lobby’s exploitation of the Savita tragedy could backfire badly

The old saying “hard cases make bad law” should be heeded as much by progressive campaigners as by fusty lawmakers. Because it is equally true that tragic cases make bad reforms. The pro-choice activists currently holding up photos of Savita Halappanavar, while calling on the Irish authorities to legislate for some forms of abortion in order to “protect women’s lives”, could unwittingly help to give rise to an Irish abortion law that negates women’s autonomy rather than accentuating it. It … Read more

The principled barbarity that can happen in a “Catholic country”

Excellent reporting by Kitty Holland and Paul Cullen in the Irish Times, that is all the more compelling for being dispassionate. Who will raise as voice against such shame? The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should be over in a few hours. There followed three days, he says, of the foetal heartbeat being checked several times a day. “Savita was really in … Read more

Don’t play legalistic games with abortion

Strange – or maybe not so strange – that the overwhelmingly male Slugger blogosphere tends to  prefer the sectarian dingdong  to difficult social issues like abortion which the Assembly and the legal establishment between them actually affect. But if constitutional issues are your bag, there’s now something in the subject for you too. After the opening of the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast under an actually progressive unionist Dawn Purvis, the Attorney General John Larkin  weighed in with an offer to … Read more

Abortion clinic opens in Belfast…

NORTHERN Ireland is to get its first abortion clinic next week. In one of the biggest stories of our generation – and one which will unite hardline Protestants and Catholics – it’s reported that Marie Stopes will open for business in Belfast next Thursday, with the help of former PUP leader Dawn Purvis. The organisation says it will operate within the framework of the law here, but that will do little to assuage the anger of opponents, who will see … Read more

‘New facts’ in abortion debate

In recent years I’ve tried to track the long slow path to easing the bans on abortion in both parts of Ireland. And while I support it, I know full well it is no magic bullet so to speak. And so in the cause of disinterested debate and acknowledging the existence of many awkward facts, I draw attention to this anti-abortion article by Ruth Cullen in the Irish Times. I suspect this is no clincher and I’d be keen to hear … Read more

“Ireland must enact an abortion law” orders the European Court of Human Rights

As expected, the European Court of Human Rights has just ruled against the Irish State’s refusal to enact an abortion law. The ruling is precise and appears to dismiss the Irish government’s case in detail, adding that the State has  failed to uphold a woman’s constituional rights.  RTE reports that : the ECHR concluded Ireland had breached the woman’s right to respect for her private life given the failure to implement the existing Constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland. The … Read more

Service not available in Northern Ireland

Channel  4’s decision not to broadcast the Marie Stopes ‘Are you late?’ TV advert in Northern Ireland raises questions about what information it is criminal to distribute here.  The Chief Executive of Marie Stopes International told the Guardian that ‘the advertising of abortion facilities, their contact numbers or addresses is against the law in Northern Ireland.’ The fact that the advert in question does not contain the word ‘abortion’, and is for an organisation that provides a wide range of … Read more