Abortion case in Ireland

There’s a very serious and interesting appeal case going on in Ireland at the moment. A girl, Miss D, who is age 17, wants to travel to England for an abortion, but is being prohibited from doing so by the courts. Abortion is still illegal in the Republic of Ireland unless there is a risk to the life of the mother, but many women travel to England or Wales each year to have terminations, and they do so legally.

The current case involves a a young girl who is in the care of the Health Service Executive, and who is carrying a foetus which, apparently, will not be able to survive outside the womb. Logic would suggest that this is an open and shut case – what is the point, after all, in continuing with the pregnancy? – but not so in Catholic Ireland. The elements of her case are threefold:

1. She is challenging the court order placing her in care, because it restricts her leaving the country.
2. She is challenging the Health Service Executive’s decision instructing the gardaí (police) to stop her leaving the country.
3. She is challenging the Health Service Executive’s decision to refuse to let her travel to terminate the pregnancy unless there’s a risk she’ll commit suicide.

I understand that the main impediment to her termination is simply that she’s in care and that the Health Service Executive has been granted a court order against her travelling for an abortion. In any other circumstances, she would have been allowed to go without question; it seems that the Health Service Executive is really just trying to protect itself by stopping her. As if she doesn’t have enough to contend with…

The case has gripped all of Ireland, unsurprisingly, and could have many political ramifications because the Taoiseach (prime minister) recently called for a general election. I’m not sure that the abortion laws will ever change in Ireland, but it’s high time they were revisited. Perhaps now they will be.

In any case, the appeal is being heard tomorrow, and I’ll be keeping a keen eye. And, as it happens, I’m going to be in Ireland so I’ll be able to hear a lot more about it than I would here. Naturally, Irish pro-lifers are protesting the appeal with all their might, but I’m hopeful they’ll make little difference. And, unless I just haven’t noticed, the Church is being suspiciously quiet on this.

I’m vehemently pro-choice in case you hadn’t noticed. In fact, I don’t even stop at ‘pro-choice’: I’m say I’m pro-abortion and be done with it. Because I am.

Fingers crossed.

— —

[Edit: Thankfully, it seems that she’ll win her appeal. I hope so]

7 responses to “Abortion case in Ireland

  1. as much as I love Ireland and the Irish people, sometimes they make me want to bump my head against a wall…the girl is 17, the baby doesn’t stand a chance, where is the problem and who is the state to tell her what to do with her child…

  2. This is my problem with the whole freakin’ debate. If a person finds abortion to be wrong, then that person need not ever have an abortion. If their advice or opinion is asked for, they are free to explain why they feel that particular way. However, that should be the extent of their influence. To control the law, the health service or other “free” persons in pursuit of a religious ideology is plain wrong, and where is the EU in all of this? Isn’t there some sort of standard that might be upheld in terms of access to healthcare for all citizens equally? I’m not saying each and every person can do anything they like, but with other ‘crimes’ e.g. actual murder, a person isn’t prevented from committing it, only punished after the fact. So why should these draconian measures be applied to someone who isn’t breaking the law of her country, and is in fact trying to take great pains to avoid doing so. Oh, I’m rambling. Pesky Ireland.

  3. Ah, but religious ideology is used to govern the masses across the world, always has been and always will be for many amny generations to come. So therefore seeking an unbiased opinion on what is a highly emotive subject will always prove to be impossible.

  4. You’re both right. Lola, it frustrates the hell out of me too, but Ireland has operated like this for years, for precisely the reasons that Rich has said. Presumably, if the High Court doesn’t overthrow the decision, she’ll go to the Supreme Court in Ireland, and after that she could take it to the EU. Her chances, however, of the EU stepping in at this stage appear to be low. I’ll admit that I don’t know as much about how these things work as I should, but it seems that the EU is generally slow to intervene in these matters.

  5. As someone who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Ireland’s lack of abortion clinics I always feel like I’m allowed to have an opinion on this kind of thing. Despite the existential paradox, I couldn’t agree with you more. You’re not a person till you’re in my phonebook, to quote Bill Hicks…

  6. Mod, you certainly are allowed to have an opinion on this, but it’s refreshing to see someone being able to move past their own experiences in these sorts of debates. For example, a number of [female] commentators at home (and it’s not in the media as much as I thought it would be, as it happens) are playing the ‘men can’t understand because they’ll never have to experience pregnancy’ gender card which I find really to be very unhelpful parochial logic.

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