Protest! This Saturday, May 18th at 4pm (Dame St, Dublin)
This is a historical few weeks for reproductive justice in Ireland. It’s an important time for human rights in this country. For the first time we are actually getting some kind of abortion legislation drafted. This is a good thing for human rights, yes?
Well, symbolically it is good. But practically it is a total disaster.
But we are creating abortion legislation (The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013), this is good…right?
Basically, this legislation is moot. Ineffective.
The 8th Amendment to the Constitution (fundamentally equating the right to life of the unborn to the right to life – not health – of the woman, thus allowing abortion in such restrictive and ambiguous circumstances that it doesn’t happen) makes it very hard to legislate in any meaningful, practical, accessible way. Urgh.
Repealing and/or reviewing the 8th Amendment to the Constitution is the REAL battle here. We must push for that or proper, accessible, clear and effective legislation will NEVER be a reality. That’s the real battle and we must keep our focus on that over the coming months. But for now, this is what we have and I guess at least it’s the first, tiny step in some kind of meaningless, dysfunctional direction, or something. Urgh.
What DOES this legislation say?
- It says that in a medical emergency where the woman’s life is in danger, there must be one medical practitioner to approve an abortion to save her life. Why do they have to approve my life being saved? Such a weird thing to ask a doctor to do! Doctors are there to save lives. Also, part of the problem with the 8th Amendment is trying to determine when someone’s life is ‘at risk’ (ruled a violation of rights by the ECHR in 2010), and this all sounds like a similar rhetoric which will be difficult to practically act on.