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Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case
national | gender and sexuality | news report Wednesday November 14, 2012 23:57 by Elric
Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case
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Take a position - you hold with the decision of the X case or you do not but at all times please exercise humanity for the mother who carries the child and if mental health issues apply please acknowledge right to decide.
Consider today's Irish Times article. 'Suicidal woman allowed to get abortion'
In the UK, the Judge says that 'a woman cannot be barred from abortion even "if mentally unwell"' As the Irish bill on mental capacity is yet to be introduced, it greatly surprises me that in the constant debate about suicide in Ireland presently, that not much attention is given to the issue of 'mental capacity' and the person's right to have or not have a child.
Mark Hennessy, the London Editor of the Irish Times reports:-
A woman who is mentally ill and who states 'she will commit suicide if forced to continue with a pregnancy, CANNOT BE BARRED FROM HAVING AN ABORTION.....' A judge in London has ruled.
Let us take perspective urgently here in Ireland based on this.....'the woman, who is mentally ill, cannot be prevented from making the choice to have an abortion....' Surely, this is a basic human right that people in Ireland need to grasp before this legislation is passed. The X case has existed for 20 years now and should be enacted in legislation. The Church ought to stand ashamed for their threats to excommunicate members of our Government who fail to adhere to their CREDO. Times thankfully have changed.
The Judgment (9 pm last night) was granted quickly taking account of the 24 week bar to abortion limits on pregnancy. Mr. Justice Holman said 'It had to be established that the woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, lacks the mental capacity before she could be stopped by the courts, even though he accepted that she is "mentally unwell". In Ireland we need to note this Judgment on behalf of the many women with neuro-psychiatric implications who may become pregnant and need to make choices based on their life circumstances. Judge Holman went on to say that "Under the law, the woman is entitled to make a decision "WHICH MAY BE UNWISE" OR WITH WHICH OTHERS DISAGREE "INCLUDING MYSELF" if she is shown to have enough capacity to know her own mind......'
The psychiatrists in this case tried to state that the woman did not have the mental capacity because of her mental health problems eg bipolar, with paranoia and other problems. The psychiatrists put forward that in time the woman could regret the choice of abortion and would prefer to have sent the child forward for adoption but the Judge listened to the woman and acknowledged her capacity and right to choose in the circumstances.
The woman spoke and she said "I want it (the abortion as many with mental health problems can and will say) more than ever. In the situation that I am in, (8 years with bipolar and complications informs you of your circumstances), the idea of me having a baby is crazy', she said, before insisting she wanted to part from her husband and her mother and "start a new life". The woman acknowledged that choosing an abortion was not taken lightly but also said that she had no regrets relating to an abortion she had chosen to have 18 months earlier. Her regrets were that she became pregnant. The other point to note is that the father was not her husband.
This case is worth reading.
Mental health and anxiety are stigmatised and it is an elite group of people who make judgments in Ireland to intervene and bully vulnerable people. We need to first deal with the stigma and mental health before we start threatening to imprison our medical profession to 14 years for making a decision to facilitate an abortion in Ireland in line with the X Case
Hippocrates says: 'Do No Harm'. Remember this is a paradox. For a woman making a decision to have an abortion because she lives with neuro-psychiatric complications...the doctor who understands her situation making a decision to carry out an abortion is alleviating harm to the woman who basically feels she would not be able to cope. Mental health is a life long sentence and choice is essential - it does not take those self-made God-like psychiatrists and the likes of the Iona Institute or Opus Dei for that matter to make the decision that the woman has no right to choose.
"Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case"
Where are the people? What have they to say to Elric who wrote in November 2012 and to Comyn who wrote the recent posting? The hot potato called Abortion is causing dissent and anger but the realities of those who should have a right to make a decision, especially when it concerns mental health and a potential suicide. Certain politicians are being sent hate mail by diehards and yet too many people lack the moral compass to participate in the debate especially in the light of the "Zavita" travesty of justice.
Legislate the X case into law is the nub. Google in the recent article by Dearbhail McDonald, legal editor, the Independent. Retired Judge Catherine McGuinness, said on the final days of the Oireachtas committee hearing 'that most women will travel abroad for a termination rather than apply to secure a termination under the Protection of Life Pregnancy bill'. Shame on us. Why the silence in the Irish Media about the recent decision in the UK, as stated in Comyn's posting?
Mrs Justice McGuinness also said that it was "disappointing" that the proposed definition of the unborn does not cover the foetus incapable of independent life'. Add to this that Dr Ruth Fletcher, Director of the Research Centre for Law Ethics and Society at the Keele university in the UK who said that 'the legislature needed to exclude from the proposed definition of the unborn, foetuses with lethal abnormalities that would not have an independent life'. She further emphasised this point by saying "Foetuses are the bearers of biological life and future persons, but this is not the same kind of life as that of a breathing, feeling, thinking women".
Are people aware that the Pro Life campaign have significant media clout and people like Barrister William Binchy hold the view that 'there was no obligation on the Oireachtas to legislate for the X case, when he described it as a "wrong decision". This is a barrister saying that the Supreme Court decision is basically wrong! It is necessary for us to consider the suicides which have happened in Ireland where a mother can cope no longer and not only takes her life but is often so depressed that she sees no option worthwhile in leaving her children alive, so makes the decision to end all lives.
Raped or incest. Check out Cardinal Meisner for his view.
Abortion is about a woman's personal choice.
Mental health provision is the cinderella of our society. It is about being vulnerable and unwanted. It is about being stigmatised.
Yesterday yet again a mother of twins who sought help was neglected. This woman is now dead. These children are without a mother. It is suicide. Why do the Pro-Life people and the Catholic Church act in such a self righteous way by harassing those who promote the bill in a most ignorant way. Debate is about each side putting forward their views. The conclusion surely must be in the best interests of the people who it applies to.
The X case legislates to make provision for suicide. The learned Judges made their decision, we have had 20 years to debate it and remove the provision, but we have not. Our mental health provision has deteriorated significantly since then and the lack of community provision at primary health care is inadequate to meet demand. This leaves it (community mental health provision) intrinsically linked to the Bill and the right to suicide.
Ireland is sheltered or we can choose to be because we export those who choose to have an abortion to England or elsewhere. We have heard no discussion about the legislation that applies in the UK, Israel, the US and other countries where children who are born with certain abnormalities and who actually sue their parents for making the choice to carry the pregnancy to full term?
We need to be diverse in our attitudes to making decisions about the choice women make when they decide to have an abortion. For instance, a psychiatric case history may often be the outcome of a 'precipitating event'. Nobody seems to consider that for some women, the precipitating event could be caused by the anxiety of being pregnant. The woman may choose to have the abortion but also the precipitating event may mean a psychiatric health history going forward also.
Today Minister Lucinda Creighton is seeking advice on the 'right to life of the unborn' aspect from the Attorney General.
But what about the realities of the times we live in.
Last week it was reported that a young woman was raped by a man in the Dublin 8 area. She was reported to be deeply shocked and distressed naturally.
If we go one stage further: what if this woman is pregnant?
The legislation as it is does not provide for her to have an abortion?
Is this fair? Does the Mental Capacity Bill have provision here?
'Knowledge is no load' and this legislation has been already postponed for near 20 years; yet still people are at loggerheads and extremism is practiced by certain fanatics who are sending obscene post to ministers and those who are open to more discussion.
The proposed legislation excludes: pregnant as an outcome of rape; pregnant as an outcome of incest; the issue is whether being suicidal would be sufficient threat to the health of the mother to cause her commit suicide, and 'murder' the foetus; It is mooted by the pro-lifers that a suicidal provision would open the floodgates and people would abuse the health system and the integrity of the professionals, basically creating an abortion on demand environment in Ireland.
We need to bear in mind that the medical professionals who breach the proposed legislation, if enacted, could be seriously compromised. A criminal sentence of 14 years (perhaps less) surely must breach human rights and totally undermines the patient doctor contract/relationship. In Ireland for decades by sky and sea, our women have travelled to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. It is a reality. Is it equitable for a mother whose child in her womb is dead to be forced to carry it to full term? Surely, it is only humane for her to be facilitated with a termination in her home country.
In the 1950's we have the case of Mamie Cadden (abortionist) who went to prison and the back street abortions carried out by private clinics for those who could afford to pay. Prior to this abandoned babies were found in ditches. Century Ireland the RTE archive details news events back in 1913. Cases of infanticide appear weekly. A woman was imprisoned for concealment of pregnancy and died in Mountjoy prison and yet now who would think of a prison sentence for concealing a pregnancy.
Desperation/poverty/fear/lack of mental capacity and the perceived realities provide the woman with basic rights about choice with legislated parameters that is if they travel to other jurisdictions that permit abortion. We are part of the EU and abortion is a really sensitive issue but we must understand the tragedies that occur when people fail to make certain decisions. Today's paper reports about a 26 year old woman who has been arrested for attempting to murder her son. Why? She chose (and we don't know what frame of mind she was in) to destroy her child by leaving him wrapped in plastic bags where 'the drains of the building merged with the manhole'. The 2 day old child survived after 40 hours. He is reported to be seriously ill, and has a broken arm. We do not know if this little boy will have cerebral palsy or another disability but we do know that the mother will be charged for attempted murder. Could this have been prevented? Why did it happen? Could a woman in Ireland as a result of being raped or due to incest or because she was suicidal have had an abortion? Morally. There is no right or wrong answer.
Today's Herald 24th June 2013 reports about the woman with special needs (referred to by Comyn in the earlier posting) who was 'Raped' in the Portobello area of Dublin. The suspect is a 31 year old man originally from Pakistan...the Gardai arrested him in dawn raid on a flat in the South Circular Road, Dublin 8. The obiter dictum goes further to say, that the young man was released. The victim, a young woman in her early 20's who has Down Syndrome. The question raised by Comyn is what if this rape results in a pregnancy, how would the proposed legislation provide or fail to provide for her needs? The proposed legislation excludes rape, excludes incest and proposes to undermine the rights of a mother who is suicidal and who has made the decision that she would not be capable of rearing a child. If the mother is suicdal she may be racked with real fears of the consequences of being forced against her will to have the child and worse again, if the professionals decide, to induce the birth, the fear of the damage done to the child as a result of admitting to being suicidal.
The learned Judges at the Supreme Court in the X case paved the way for the legislation. Objectivity and experience created the judgment, 20 years has created the time for much discussion. Debate in the House should be welcomed but people need to voice their opinions to enable a humane approach to the choice of a woman to have an abortion in Ireland if certain conditions apply to her.
Stand ashamed those psychiatrists who lack the humanity, conscience, compassion and understanding and who are opposing the inclusion of suicide as grounds for abortion in the new legislation.
A group of psychiatrists, including the Mater Hospital's Professor Patricia Casey are calling for an EGM of the College of Psychiatrists relating to the submission to the Oireachtas committee hearings on abortion that supported the proposed legislation. These elites of our society claim that the views of all its members were not taken account of by the College of Psychiatrists. What are they saying - unanimity is what they want? If the majority decided, why is this not enough? Perhaps there is too much peer pressure from the Church via the Iona Institute and for that matter Opus Dei.
The arrogance is astounding. These priveleged cohorts in our society have written a letter to the other members of the College of Psychiatrists and stated that: 'The submission presented at the oral hearings made no mention of the concerns of 34 members who responded to the call for views. Instead, it supported the legislation, saying abortion may be necessary in rare cases'..... What do they not grasp about a majority decision? The College of Psychiatrists emailed all 684 members of the Oireachtas committee hearings...they received only 34 responses. The decision following the council meeting was a "unanimous submission".
A feud among psychiatrists makes the plight of the women who are seeking the protection of the State and the medical profession who administer to these women a further contrivance between the Church and State for the Church to superimpose their excommunication doctrine as a threat to those who according to our proposed legislation should have the option to make a choice particularly if suicidal to have an abortion without having the trauma of travelling to the UK.
In my view, the legislation should go a stage further and allow for foetal abnormality where the baby is deceased, having known a woman in this situation, it is inhumane, if not quite barbaric. Also in the case of rape or incest, the legislation should provide for these women on the basis of human rights. No-one has tackled the question where the woman with down's syndrome who was raped recently and if it were the case that she became pregnant. If it was her choice, surely it would only be humane to allow her to have an abortion in this country.
Theocracy is rigid and the fact that it has undue influence on the medical profession still for a country that has become secular is most disturbing. What have we learned from the Savita tragedy and the report?
10 pm tonight.
The bullying stops.
A midwife writes in today's independent her views on our archaic approach to women who have to travel to England to exercise their 'right to choose'. She invokes that all encompassing bullying power of those in clicks entangled with the Catholic Church who use their power and influence, and have done so not for the benefit of those who make the decision to have an abortion. Take the Mother and Child scheme and Dr Noel Browne. The fears that drove the Church against this was that women would become empowered to discuss issues relating to family planning, sex, abortion with their husband or other professionals ie doctors thereby weakening the control of the Church.
Letters written to the newspapers can often be most enlightening. Take for example a letter by Virginia Lopez Calvo, Co-ordinator, Central America Women's Network, London N1. The title is: 'Women denied abortion rights'. Immediately, we think of Ireland and the Catholic Church. What do we share with those in South America? Well in El Salvador the cry is "Let me end my pregnancy, one woman's plight grips El Salvador", this surely is what women in Ireland who are suicidal, victims of rape, victims of incest, are crying out for in our country The letter goes on to say that women face 'similar repression in the neighbouring countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Gautemala (the latter two 'allow therapeutic abortion to save the mother's life'). Anti-Abortion goes further in these countries and they ban the use of morning-after pill and restrict the content of sex education.
Ireland exports the problem. Some say as many as 5,000 people a year travel to England, North of Ireland, Spain or Holland. This is the safety valve that South American countries (ruled mainly by the Catholic Church) don't have. If we in Ireland did not have this 'exit strategy', we would be on par with the ignorance that prevails and causes such hardship for women. Consider the following as a quote from the letter:-
"In the Central American region, 95% of all abortions are unsafe and a leading cause of maternal death. As religious extremists abuse their power to deny basic freedoms, campaigners will step up our battle for women to have control over their own bodies".
As pointed out in earlier postings about Mamie Cadden and the many private nursing homes of the 1950's and abortions, we have progressed in Ireland but do we want elites in the Catholic Church like Opus Dei usurping the rights for women that people have fought hard to achieve.
Clarity, transparency, are the words that come to mind is what is essential with the introduction of the highly controversial legislation concerning the Life During Pregnancy Act which came into existence this month.
What happens? The new abortion legislation is passed into law but shamefully without 'clinical guidelines'. Why? Embed it with lacunae so that women are distracted from their choice and assuaged to continue with a pregnancy because those who are supposed to help them decide are indecisive because they may have religious biases or other controversial belief systems.
Let us re-state what this legislation is about:
But what happens when the situation arises and the three doctors fail to agree (high probability, I would suggest). The pledge/promise is that a panel will exist and the woman will have the right to appeal to the review panel. However, this procedure is embedded in layers of bureaucracy and is still being created. The Act states that this panel must be established and maintained by the monolith of bureaucratic policies and procedures - the HSE but this time there must be at least 10 medical practitioners involved in the decision making process. At this point, we have totally forgotten the sensitivities of the woman who needs to make a decision under the auspices of said act. This makes it blatantly obvious why the Act introduced this month has opted to not include the required "clinical guidelines". To add to the maze of non decision and isolation of the woman who needs to support in her decision, the Act goes on to state that:-
Already the College of Psychiatrists will not support the panel as they await the 'guidelines implementation' committee reports. Likewise, the lack clarity is contributory to the fact that the RCSI has placed nobody on the panel albeit they will make no comment about same.
From the X case to legislation. 1980's to 2014. It is surely unacceptable to provides such layers of bureaucracy to making a decision by implicating the HSE and 10 general practitioners plus. Surely three medical professionals is enough. To be suicidal and desperate for resolve deserves some humanity surely. The guidelines are urgently required.
The legislation was deliberately made unworkable to maintain the status quo, whilst pretending to do something about the x case to score political points. We fell for it as usual.
It's laughable to believe that a woman will bother hanging around to get the ok from three psychiatrists to have an abortion here when she can just hop on a plane.
As it currently stands, Savita Halipanaver would still have died under current legislation.
Plus ca change.