Hi, folks. It’s been a while since I’ve written about this. In one sense I took a break from it: I needed a breather; I laid down my pen and did what I could to help fight for a Repeal of the 8th Amendment in other ways. It wasn’t much, nor was it ever much; there are a lot of other people making #repealthe8th happen and not only keeping it alive but making it a ferocious and unignorable thing. A Repeal will happen, regardless of who wants it or not. It must happen. It simply must.
It will happen. It – not so simply – will.
If you’re reading this you may already know the situation in Ireland. But if not, women are not allowed to have an abortion here, except in very – very – special circumstances. Want to know what those circumstances are?
The law says that a woman can have an abortion when her life is at risk, including by suicide. After being raped, Miss Y arrived in Ireland in April 2014 around the time she found out she was pregnant. In July she tried to get to the UK, and was arrested, whereupon she was taken back to Ireland:
She said that she felt suicidal, and the two psychiatrists on the panel decreed that she indeed was suicidal. She then went on hunger strike. The HSE obtained a High Court order to hydrate her. The baby was delivered via caesarian section at 25 weeks gestation over the weekend of 2/3 August 2014.
Forced rehydration. No termination of pregnancy, despite being allowed by law.
And it gets worse.
In December 2014 a dead woman was placed on life support to keep her organs going. She was in her late 20s. But because of a foetus in her womb, she was not allowed the dignity of passing on in peace. Her family were not allowed to say goodbye. Instead, this woman’s situation was dragged through the High Court, in front of all the media and the public, casting their own thoughts and aspersions on the issue.
Due to concerns by doctors at the Dublin hospital about the legal implications of her pregnancy, arising from the State’s obligation to vindicate the right to life of the unborn in Article 40.3.3. – the 1983 anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution – she has remained on somatic life-support treatment.
This is the law in Ireland for women. And, trust me, this is only a tiny taste of it.
Forced-feeding? Prolonged life-support? It’s all part of being pregnant in Ireland