Repeal the 8th protest in solidarity with women in Ireland
Wednesday at 6:00pm
Irish Embassy in London, United Kingdom
Action for Ireland
Repeal the 8th protest in solidarity with women in Ireland
Wednesday at 6:00pm
Obvious Child Screening and Q&A
Email Your MEP
Spanish Justice Minister Ruiz-Gallardón has stated that the bill that would effectively recriminalise abortion in Spain will be before parliament this summer. You can email your Member of European Parliament here to show your opposition (remember to include your address/postcode!). We’ve drafted text you may wish to us:
Survey: your experience of accessing reproductive healthcare in England
We’ve developed this quick survey to help us get a sense of experiences in accessing emergency contraception and abortion on the NHS in England. Even if you haven’t needed to access these services, we’d still appreciate your feedback. Please send this link on to your networks so we get a wide sample.
Summary of changes to Ireland’s abortion law
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was passed by the Oireachtas on 11th July 2013, and on 30th July the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister, signed the Bill into law.
Members of the Dáilvoted 127 to 31 to legalise abortion in cases of medical emergencies as well as if the pregnant woman is at risk of suicide. Abortion in all other circumstances (including rape and incest) remains illegal.
The Bill includes numerous provisions that continue to restrict access to legal abortion, including stipulating that between two and three medical practitioners of varying specialties must approve the termination (except in emergency situations, wherein one physician can approve and then perform the termination). Moreover, the Bill specifies that abortions may only occur in an “appropriate institution” which only include maternity hospitals and some hospitals with emergency facilities.
Abortion Rights are concerned that these provisions, amongst others, make obtaining an abortion a very lengthy, costly and potentially stressful process for women and their families. Locational provisions disproportionality disadvantage rural women who are less able to attend an “appropriate institution”, particularly given the World Health Organisation (2008) lists abortion as one of the simplest and safest medical procedures when performed safely and legally.
40 Days for Choice: Speaking out against "saving" women
60 trumps 40 in London protest!
On Tuesday 24th September, more than 60 pro-choice activists turned out in Stratford to “welcome” 40 Days for Life back to London. 40 Days are an anti-choice group who hold 40 day long vigils outside abortion clinics to try to “save” women from making their own reproductive choices.
Previous 40 Days campaigns have handed out literature to women containing outright lies about abortion, such as claims that abortion causes cancer, and direct women away from regulated reproductive health clinics such as BPAS and Marie Stops to “crisis pregnancy centres” run by the anti-choice movement.
The demonstration against the opening event of the 40 Days campaign in Stratford was organised by Bloomsbury Pro-Choice, who have previously co-ordinated pro-choice counter demonstrations against 40 Days for Life in Bloomsbury, and are working with Abortion Rights to organise actions over the next “40 Days of Choice” (see 40daysforchoiceTumblr for more information).
The 15 members of 40 Days who attended their opening event were hugely outnumbered by the lively pro-choice protest outside, showing them that whilst they may be back, so are we..
Inquest opens into death of Savita Halappanavar
Case heard as Irish doctors reject calls for abortion rights when woman's life at risk
An inquest into the death of Savita Halappananvar, who died in October after contracting septicaemia following a miscarriage – apparently having been denied a therapeutic abortion – has opened in Galway.
Among the first witnesses to give evidence was Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband. Mr Halappanavar has consistently maintained that his repeated requests for a termination were refused over the course of several days as his wife's condition deteriorated, because a foetal heartbeat was still present and, he was told, because Ireland "is a Catholic country".
Earlier this month the Irish Health Service Executive apologised to Mr Halappanavar for the care Savita received at Galway University Hospital and the events that contributed to her death. Its draft report on the case has found there was an 'overemphasis' on the foetus and an 'underemphasis' on Savita's deteriorating health.
The inquest opens days after doctors at the annual conference of the Irish Medical Organisation voted against several motions calling for access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, foetal abnormality and risk to the life of the woman.
Northern Ireland: Progress at last
A family planning charity's legal challenge has forced the Department of Health in Stormont to promise to issue draft guidelines on abortion, after years of stonewalling and delays.
The 1967 Abortion Act does not cover Northern Ireland, where abortion is governed by an Act from 1861, and is illegal in most circumstances. As FPA pointed out in a statement, "there are no good practice guidelines to enable clinicians and women to interpret the law."
The FPA had to take the Northern Irish Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to court to extract a promise to issue draft guidelines - a process which took 11 years. The new guidelines will be published on March 7.
Outside the High Court in Belfast, Audrey Simpson, acting CEO of FPA, said: "The action now promised by the department is something that should have happened many years ago.
"It's essential that the guidance should contain clear pathways for referrals for women and directions for aftercare services which is essentially what these proceedings were all about."
Abortion Rights welcomes the DHSSPS's announcement that it will publish draft guidelines, as they are urgently needed to clarify the legal situation. We regret however that it took a legal challenge lasting more than a decade to bring the DHSSPS to this point.
Two steps forward, one step back
Following the good news on draft abortion guidelines, the pro-choice movement in Northern Ireland suffered a setback the very next day, when two MLAs announced they would seek an amendment to Northern Irish law to make it illegal for non-NHS providers to offer terminations in the province.
As the Irish Times reported, "If the amendment is carried and if there is no successful legal challenge to this move, it could have consequences for the operations of the [Marie] Stopes clinic in Belfast. It opened in October as the first private clinic to provide legal abortion on the island of Ireland."
Sinn Féin has said it will oppose the amendment. South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane said seeking to prevent abortion outside the NHS was “clearly an attempt to restrict the right of a woman to obtain a termination in life-threatening circumstances”.
The amendment will be voted on next Tuesday (March 5).
Anti-abortion sentiment dwindling, report finds
19.02.13, Natasha Fox
A survey carried out for a religious think tank has found that suppport for an outright ban on abortion is declined significantly in recent years, while pro-choice sentiment is on the rise.
A YouGov poll for the 'Westminster Faith Debates' and reported in The Guardian found the percentage of the population wanting a ban has fallen from 12% in 2005 to 7% today. The survey found support for keeping the current limit on terminations has risen by a third to a clear majority of 57%. It was found that factors such as gender, age and voting preference did not make much difference to attitudes on abortion.
Suprisingly, the study found there was no marked difference between the views of people with religious affiliations and everybody else. Among those identifying with a religion, 43% were in favour of keeping or raising the 24-week limit, compared with 46% of the general population. 30% percent wanted to see it lowered (compared with 28% while 9% supported a ban (compared with 7%). Of the religious people who were surveyed, Catholics, Muslims and Baptists are the most hostile to abortion, but only half said that they wanted to see the law changed.
Commenting on the findings, Linda Woodhead, a professor in the department of politics, philosophy and religion at Lancaster university said,
"The impression one gets from many religious leaders and spokespeople is that most religious people are opposed to the liberalising trend in society. That is just not true and statistics like this give the lie to that view."
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