Saturday Rants

Today sees the start  of my series of rants. I’ve been reading a lot over the  last few weeks about things that piss me off and I’ve decided to write about them. To do my bit to raise awareness. If you don’t want to read that’s fine 😀 And I apologise for all the links, I just think it’s easier, this post is already long enough without my trying to explain all the legalities and ins and outs of everything. (A lot of them are Wiki, but they pull all the news stories together).

Warning – This weeks post discusses abortion.

Ireland had a general election on 26th of February, five weeks on and we still don’t have a government. Because there was no overall majority the last lot are caretaking until they can decide between themselves who is actually going to be in charge. A typically Irish situation. There was an initial vote to see if the Taoiseach (prime minister) was going to carry on, he lost but is staying until they vote in a new one sometime after their Easter hols.

I had planned to talk about feminism for my first post but there has been a lot of talk in the last few days about abortion reform. Amnesty International Ireland are currently holding a two week protest to make sure abortion reform isn’t ignored while the parties fight it out. Every day 12 people, who represent the number of women and girls known to travel outside of Ireland for abortion services, will stand outside the Dail (parliament) buildings. And every day another 12 will join them.

Ireland has an appalling record when it comes to the treatment of women and children, from the Magdalene laundries to the mother and baby homes, from forced adoptions and testing of vaccines on children in these homes to the barbaric practice of symphysiotomy (more details here ) There still isn’t a statutory right to records for those who were adopted. I’m not going to spend ages on these topics in this post but I’ll probably have another rant about it soon.

I also remembered this whilst I was writing, Ireland is not the worst

In Northern Ireland there is a life sentence for the woman, her doctor and the midwife. Although I did read an article yesterday which shows a softening of attitude.

Abortion is a very touchy subject in Ireland even to the extent that when I went back into full time education it was one of the subjects we were discouraged from talking about. And I’d like to say just to be clear that I haven’t had an abortion. I was offered one when I was pregnant with my daughter because of antibiotics I took for a kidney infection before I knew I was pregnant, they had been known to cause deformities in lab animals, but there had never been a case in humans. This was in the UK, it wouldn’t have even been mentioned here. She’s now a happy and healthy 27. But I fully support the right of any woman to make her own choices.

During the election campaign not one candidate came to my door, I had a couple of canvassers and plenty of leaflets but that was it. And when all the parties are offering almost exactly the same things how can I ask about the things that are important to me? The main one I wanted to ask about was the eighth amendment. And not one leaflet mentioned it. For those of you who don’t know anything about Ireland and abortion the eighth amendment, which was introduced in 1983, states – ‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.’ A new law was passed in 2013 allowing abortion in very limited circumstances – when the woman’s life is at risk or she is suicidal. Details of the whole ridiculous mess can be found here

Fatal foetal abnormalities, rape or incest are not grounds for abortion. An unlawful abortion carries a jail sentence of fourteen years, for the woman and the doctor. Every year approximately 5,000 women travel, mostly to Britain, to access abortion services. It is now allowable to seek help and advice although some advice clinics are there solely to prevent the woman travelling by intimidating her. The UN and Amnesty have both called Ireland out over its stance on abortion and there are increasing calls for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment. A couple of cases have really brought things to a head in the last few years:

October 2012 -Savita Halappanavar, 30 years old died from complications of a septic miscarriage at 17 weeks, cause of death, septicaemia and organ failure, whether she would have survived if the foetus had been removed earlier is a matter of dispute. More details here

March 2014 – Miss Y, an asylum seeker, raped in her home country, arrived in Ireland and found out she was pregnant. She claimed to be suicidal, but because of the usual breakdown in the system she had to continue the pregnancy until her baby was delivered by caesarean at 25 weeks. More details here

9 December – A woman who was 17 weeks pregnant was declared brain dead. She was kept on life support while her family had to fight through the courts for her to be allowed to die. At one point the solicitor for the baby said she had no right to dignity as she was brain dead. More details here

A new piece of legislation that was passed after this case was The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 which includes a section on Advanced Healthcare Directives – which means you can decide how you want to be treated if you lose the ability to make decisions e.g. A do not resuscitate. All well and good, unless you’re a pregnant woman. Even if you decide on being allowed to die, being brain dead or for whatever reason, if you’re pregnant, the doctors must ignore your wishes. You can read more here 

The whole situation makes me so angry as some of you may have noticed on Twitter. But I’m not going to apologise for trying to do my bit to change the barbaric treatment of pregnant women in this country. The government needs to man up, as it were, stop pussy-footing around the issue because they’re scared of losing votes and allow women to decide what to do with their own bodies.

20 thoughts on “Saturday Rants

  1. My blood boils! We really are second class citizens in the fucking country!
    This is plainly and simply a human rights issue.
    Women are suffering psychologically and physically and the politicians are too scared to address it.
    In typical irish fashion we bury our heads and export our problems. Thousands of women travel every year to access what should be a freely available choice.
    All we ask is to be granted autonomy over our own bodies.
    I hope this is read by many people outside of Ireland who may be unaware of our shameful history… The real shame is that is continues to this day.
    Well down for highlighting this civil rights travesty.
    I’m behind you 100%.
    Angry Kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂
      I’ve been getting more and more wound up about the way they continue to ignore it. And then when there was the whole farce about Trump making his statements about abortion, RTE reported and completely ignored what’s happening here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Kittykat-bitsandbobs and commented:
    I read this excellent post from Cherrytart and felt compelled to share it here.
    I share her views on this topic and think it is important to raise people’s awareness of the situation we have here in Ireland.
    For the record, as a nation, we have been pretty progressive on several social issues: we were the first country in the world to introduce a levy on the use of plastic bags in 2002, in 2004, once again, we were the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces, and in May last year we voted to make same-sex marriage legal.
    So, why is it we are reformist in terms of environment, health and gender equality? Could it be those topics are more fashionable? Easier to talk about?
    Is the historic, and on-going, maltreatment of women and children in this country not ‘sexy’ or trendy enough for our politicians to address?
    Read Cherry’s article and decide for yourself.
    My response to it is at the end in her comments section.


  3. I haven’t read the whole article yet. I am going to, because it’s an important subject. But I just wanted to say: a woman was jailed in the USA for having a miscarriage too. It’s not just El Salvador, and it gets worse in countries where abortion is legal, women are made to suffer and their rights are being infringed upon in the most subtle ways, presenting as ‘for the good of women’.
    We need to keep on fighting, even when things are legal, so I can only imagine how bad it is when things aren’t.
    I think most people don’t want to understand: the fact abortions are legal doesn’t mean there are more of them preformed every year. It just means they are safer for the woman. It’s easy to forget that.
    Thanks for the rant.
    I’ll come back later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment 🙂
      I think that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Legal abortion is safe. Criminalising it, or restricting access causes a lot more harm.
      I know there are lots of things I haven’t covered in the post, like the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the US, but I wanted to try and concentrate on the situation here in Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And rightfully so!
        I only know that the situation in the US is only getting worse. All because of religion too. Ugh!
        As I said, I haven’t had time to read the full article yet, but I vividly remember a midwife telling me, 15 years ago, that she’d had a woman in her hospital aisle, in quarantine so that others wouldn’t catch the deadly disease she was dying from. Contracted during a botched up abortion (this was before it was legal in my country). A mother of 5 already, she just couldn’t see how she would take care of one more. 5 children became motherless when she died. All because religion said she couldn’t have access to either contraception or abortion. 😦
        So it’s not just Ireland. We need to keep fighting. I have never had an abortion either, but I support the right of every woman to choose, based on her circumstances. Because I know that it’s not a decision most take lightly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am an English man, and I knew some of these horror stories but not all of it. This pevlic separation thing sounds like torture of the vilest kind, as does making a rape victim bear the resulting child. Maybe we have gone too far in the other direction in England ~ I assume the ‘morning after pill’ is unavailable in Ireland, because it’s often used as first line contraception here…
    I’m just a man, so I have no real right to comment, but I guess I am ‘pro-choice’ in that it’s the woman’s body and mind, so it should be up to her to decide ~ within what limits as to term I know not.
    I believe this is a small part of a much bigger minefield, in so far as the Curch in Ireland, (and elsewhere), is concerned. I am Anglican by denomination, but I gave up on even that broad-minded church because of innumerable instances of hypocrisy.
    These days I am spiritual, but not religious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment 🙂
      I’m English too, I’ve been in Ireland since 2001. It wasn’t something I even thought about, but lately it’s become a huge issue here, even though a lot of politicians try to ignore it. I don’t think it’s going to go away this time, I hope not anyway 🙂
      The morning after pill is available here from GP’s and pharmacies but can be expensive and some may not be in a position to get it. I’m in favour of a woman having the right to choose, but I agree with you about England. I have read stories about some women having numerous terminations which I find worrying.


  5. I eally don’t get the point of keeping a brain dead woman alive. If science wasn’t so advanced, she would die, and so would the foetus, as it can’t survive by itself yet. So… it’s not quite alive, is it? Using a woman’s body as an incubator feels soooo wrong!
    Thank you for stepping up and making sure these issues are discussed.
    Good luck with changing things in Ireland. Let’s empower women. All women, pregnant or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was more a case of the doctors being scared of having to face legal action, which is how messed up things are here, so the government ‘clarified’ things. It’s obscene.
      Here’s hoping things get better for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re right to be angry! I still find it depressing and very worrying that women are still consistantly treated as inferior, that our rights are eroded, that we are not seen as fit to make decisions about our own bodies and our own futures.
    The issues that Ireland face are tragic ones – for a wonderful, forward facing country in so many ways to be shackled by these outdated laws is depressing in the extreme. Still the church has such a strong hold on the state, on the mindset of a nation.
    Abortion is not an easy issue for anyone involved, but to with hold it is not the answer. Balanced care, information and advice is the answer. Not medieval, paternalistic control.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Precisely. Education and choice are what is needed. Some Irish people still don’t know that there is a prison sentence for illegal abortion which I find quite scary in a country which has come such a long way in a short space of time. Many people have lost a lot of patience with the influence that the church still seems to have, but an awful lot of it boils down to the fact that so many politicians are terrified of being seen to back any reform in case it loses them votes. They need to actually wake up and listen to what is actually going on in the country. Try and spend a little time in the real world 🙂
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There must be an endemic conservatism in the leaders for them to assume the Irish people believe in these policies and laws. Do you think there’s the propect of a referendum on the subject? The same sex marriage one won the day, didn’t it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The latest is that when the government is finally in place they’re going to have a ‘Citizen’s Forum’ to discuss holding a referendum. They seem to want to make sure they can’t be accused of approving abortion reform, some have already said they are in favour, braver than the rest. Hopefully there will be one in the not too distant future.
        And yes the same sex marriage one was passed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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