Press Release & Podcast: Group of organisations to raise common points and reservations regarding Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill
Following the Oireachtas hearings with medical and legal experts on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, a group of 11 organisations not represented at the hearings come together today at a press conference to demand a range of changes to the proposed legislation. Representatives of the organisations collectively called for the following amendments to the Bill:
Criminalisation: the proposed legislation replaces the Offences against the Person Act 1861 rather than repealing it. The government must repeal the relevant sections of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and decriminalise abortion. Criminalisation does not work; it causes pain and suffering to women, is incompatible with international human rights norms and according to the ECHR has a chilling effect on women and doctors
2. Risk of loss of life from self-destruction
There is no medical or clinical justification for the requirement that a panel of doctors authorise an abortion on grounds of risk to life arising from risk of suicide due to an unwanted pregnancy. The requirement of a second psychiatrist does not apply when a pregnancy is not involved. The Mental Health Act 2001 requires only two medical practitioners to authorise the involuntary detention of an individual on mental health grounds, including risk to life by suicide. The proposed legislation requires up to seven practitioners to assess risk to life by suicide due to an unwanted pregnancy and authorise a termination on grounds of such a risk to life.
An arbitrary distinction is being drawn between physical risk to life and risk to life arising from risk of suicide due to an unwanted pregnancy. The current proposal requires unanimity between an obstetrician and two psychiatrists for the approval of abortion, giving the obstetrician – with no competence in suicide assessment power of veto over two consenting psychiatrists. Consultation with the woman’s GP should only take place with her prior consent.
3. Conscientious objection
There should be an explicit duty to treat in a medical emergency regardless of any conscientious objection. Legislative provision must be made to ensure that medical professionals are required to declare anti-choice views, and that they have a duty to absent themself from any panel deciding on abortion. Any panel should only consist of non-conscientious objectors. It must be ensured that non-objecting providers are accessible and available throughout the country.
4. Formal medical review procedures
A two-week review period is unrealistic and could result in serious and potentially fatal repercussions. Best international practice is that a decision is made within 3 days. Realistic timeframes must be included in the new legislation.
5. Broaden the scope of the legislation to include fatal foetal abnormalities and pregnancies resulting from rape and incest.
Organisations supporting these changes include:
National Women’s Council of Ireland, Action on X, Abortion Rights Campaign, Doctors for Choice, ICTU Women’s Committee, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Family Planning Association, Irish Feminist Network, Termination for Medical Reasons Group, Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group and Galway Pro Choice Group
What: Press Conference – Common points and reservations on Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill
When: Wednesday, 22nd May, 10:30 am
Where: Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin
Listen to a podcast of the press conference here:
When: 10am – 5pm, Saturday, May 19th
Where: Sean O’Casey Community Centre, Dublin 3 (map)
Why: To assess where the feminist movement is today, what its future holds, and what we can learn from the past
Facebook Event link here
The IFN invites you to an all-day event on the theme ‘Feminist Activism in Ireland: Past, Present and Future’ to be held on Saturday, May 19th.
Join us for discussions on successive feminist ‘waves’ in Ireland, and what they contributed and continue to contribute to gender equality in this country.
The conference aims to create a dialogue between the different generations of feminists, and will place current campaigns in the context of the movement as a whole. While showcasing new, recently established feminist organisations, the conference will also assess the continuity of feminist activism over the decades. We hope that such a holistic reading of feminist activism in Ireland will prove fruitful for the future progression of the movement.
The conference will be structured chronologically, focusing on the first wave of feminist activism in Ireland, the second wave, newly formed feminist organisations and the future of the movement.
10 - 10.30: Registration/Coffee
10.30 - 10.45: Introduction by Dr. Clara Fischer, Irish Feminist Network, and Poetry Reading by Catherine Phil
10.45 - 11: Keynote Address I: Mary Lou McDonald, TD and Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin
11 - 11.45: Feminist Activism in Ireland: The First Wave
Dr. Mary McAuliffe, President, Women’s History Association of Ireland, and UCD Women's Studies
Dr. Margaret Ward, Director of Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Belfast
Mamo McDonald, Honorary president of Age and Opportunity, former president of the Irish
Chair: Dr. Mary Cullen, Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, TCD, and co-founder of the
Women’s History Assocation of Ireland
11.45 - 12.15: Q&A
12.15 - 1: Feminist Activism in Ireland: The Second Wave
Grainne Healy, Chairwoman of Marriage Equality
Susan McKay, author, journalist, founder member of the Belfast Rape Crisis Network, and former
CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland
Anne Speed, founding member of Irish Women United, Socialist and Trade Unionist
Chair: Anthea McTiernan, Editor of The Ticket, The Irish Times
1 - 1.30: Q&A
1.30 - 2.15: Lunch
2:15 - 2.30: Keynote Address II: Salome Mbugua, CEO of AkiDwA
2.30 - 3.15: Feminist Activism in the Present: Recent Developments
Alison Spillane, Irish Feminist Network
Dr. Jennifer DeWan, Cork Feminista
Emma Brannlund, NUIG Feminist Society
Chair: Ailbhe Smyth, Feminist Open Forum
3.15 - 3.45: Q&A
3.45 - 4.30: Feminist Activism in the Future: Thematic Groups
Feminism in the University
Feminism and Reproductive Rights
Feminism and Migrant Women’s Rights
Feminism and Young People
Feminism and Gendered Economic Inequality
4.30 - 5: Facilitated Discussion on Thematic Groups & Close
We hope to see you there!
We have managed to secure limited childcare facilities for this event, and places are reserved specifically for lone parents. They will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please note that we will not be able to accommodate infants. Information on the facilities here. ***Childcare cancelled due to lack of demand***
For any other special requirements, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you as best possible.
Tickets for this event available from here: http://entertainment.ticketsolve.com/shows/126524819/events
Further information on how to get there:
The Centre is located only 5 minutes away from the Luas Spencer Dock Station. Further details available from here:
The Centre is serviced by the 151 Bus, which leaves from Eden Quay. Further details from here:
One of our co-ordinators, Emma, will be meeting folks at 9.30am at the Spire on O'Connell Street to get the Luas to the Centre. Please join her if you feel unsure of where you're going.
The Centre has a car park, and there is also ample on-street parking in the area that people can avail of. To figure out the route from wherever you are, check out google maps and click 'get directions':http://g.co/maps/6mwvc
Any questions? Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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