Despite spending in the region of a million euro and getting the backing of the catholic church its now clear that the anti-choice extremists of Youth Defence & the Pro Life Campaign were resoundingly defeated when the Dail finally voted though legislation implementing the X-Case judgment of 21 years ago. This time last year they were confident that they already had enough Fine Gael TD's on board to block the required legislation but they reckoned against the wave of public anger that followed the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was denied a potentially life saving abortion in a Galway hospital.
12th June saw the publication of the The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 on which the Dail votes this evening. In this piece of legislation, it states,
"It shall be an offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life"
"A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or both."
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."
For years we were aware that the failure of successive governments to legislate could result in a tragedy but when the first reports started to circulate that this had happened we were horrified. How did we come to this point?
Anti-choice bigots are going into a frenzy to try and prevent the Irish government legislating for abortion provision in the republic as required by the X and C judgements. But they are ignoring the reality that 1000 plus women are already obtaining abortions in the republic every year and are simply making that decision for themselves. The bigots 'keep Ireland abortion free' crusade was fake even before the opening of Marie Stopes in Belfast, the false slogan is presumably designed to fool the US donors whose donations the bigots salaries and offices depend on. But it is having tragic consequences for women in Ireland as those unable to access abortion pills are left without access to abortion.
A video being circulated on the internet shows Youth Defense anti-choice posters being sprayed with paint. Over the last month more and more bill boards from the anti-women anti-choice organisation Youth Defense have been appearing all over Dublin. It appears they have spent hundreds of thousands of euro in their latest campaign targeting women who have had abortions. In the last days we have seen or been sent photos of their posters that have been altered all over the city and just now we received notification of the video below which shows several of these sites being covered with paint or torn down.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled on the ABC case finding in favor of one of the three women who brought the cases and has said that the government has failed to legislate for abortion under the X case. The court found that the government had violated the rights of the woman who had a rare form of cancer and who had to travel to Britain for an abortion. This puts pressure on the government to legislate for abortion under the conditions of the 1992 “X” case. In the aftermath of massive street protests against the de facto internment of a 14 year old rape victim ('X') to prevent her traveling to Britain for an abortion the Supreme Court was forced to allow X to travel and ruled that terminating a pregnancy is lawful where the life of a mother is at risk.
Workers Solidarity Movement position paper on Abortion Rights as amended at November 2010 National Conference
Three speakers talk about the pro-choice struggles in Ireland they were involved in over the last three decades. These include the 1983 anti-referendum campaign, the Womens' Information Network, the SPUC v students case, Dublin Abortion Information Campaign, X-Case, Repeal 8th Amendment, 1992 Referendum, Dublin Abortion Rights Group, Alliance for a No Vote, 1998 referendum, Choice Ireland and the D-Case.
A detailed history with photos of pro-choice struggles in Ireland from the 1980's to 2007 and the involvement of Irish anarchist in those struggles. Includes the 1983 referendum (and those in 1986, 1992 & 1995) as well as the X-Case, the D-case and the Women on Waves ship. Written by a participant in almost all (if not all) of the events described.
IMAGE: DAIC picket at Dail with the then illegal abortion information number
The Republic of Ireland has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world. At present abortion may only be performed where continuation of pregnancy poses a 'real and substantial' risk to a pregnant woman's life - about 5 cases per year of 50,000 pregnancies. In reality a woman must be dying before a lifesaving abortion can be performed.