Tag Archives: reproductive rights

Timeline: Ireland’s Reproductive Choice History

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What’s Ireland’s abortion history in a nutshell?

1861: The Offences Against the Person Act means that all abortions in Ireland are illegal. This is a British law as Ireland is under occupation at this time.

1921: This law is maintained when Ireland gains independence, even though the UK at this stage reviewed and repealed their law on the matter.

1983: This is a turning point. Women and human rights activists felt things would change, contraception is being legalised, divorce law is on the horizon and, surely, abortion laws would catch up with the rest of the world? No. In 1983 we voted in a referendum to change the Irish Constitution to include the 8th Amendment/include Article 40.3.3 to stipulate the ‘right to life of the unborn’ to be equal to that of the ‘mother’.

1988: High court ruling finds that the supply of information is also illegal, but this ban is appealed.

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The Pro Choice Movement Today: Why Do We Still Need to Protest?

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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.

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