Ireland’s Stab At Revamping Abortion Laws Means That Suicidal Women Could Be Forced To Carry Babies Against Their Will

pregnant belly hospitalGiven that a woman in Ireland was denied a life-saving abortion and consequently died, Ireland clearly needs to revisit their abortion restrictions. Abortion is already illegal in Ireland, reportedly already with a clause about exceptions for life of the mother that is clumsily worded. A new proposal to tighten up those life-saving loopholes is thankfully on the table. Yet, this proposed legislation creates another gaping loophole. A huge one, in which suicidal women who ask for abortions and are denied them could then be tossed into the loony bin to wait out the pregnancy that they tried to terminate. GOOD TIMES.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Irish government is simply rewording what is already in print:

“This bill restates the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland,” [ prime minister, Enda Kenny] said at a news conference on Wednesday before the Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill was introduced. “The law on abortion in Ireland is not being changed.”

Under the new proposals, a single doctor would be able to approve an abortion in an emergency situation. When a pregnant woman’s life is at risk but the threat is not imminent, two medical practitioners — including one obstetrician or gynecologist — would have to sign off before the procedure could take place.

The “threats to the mother’s life” umbrella does include suicide, which the Irish plan to deal with as follows:

A woman citing the possibility of suicide as a reason for seeking an abortion would have to obtain approval from two psychiatrists and an obstetrician.

Now, for those “suicidal” women who go through hypothetical appropriate channels and ultimately get denied that abortion, where would they hypothetically go? Released back into the world to try and scrounge some money to fly to the U.K? Apparently not.

Irish Observer reports that these struggling ladies could be forced to wait out their pregnancies in a psychiatric unit, according to Health Minister James Reilly. He maintains that this not the aim of the new policy. But, still, it could happen:

“What we are talking about is committing a patient against their will, involuntarily, well of course that decision requires two doctors in any event at the moment as the law stands.

“No, that is not the intention [of the legislation]. We are leaving it to the doctors involved to use best medical practice. It would be inappropriate for me to prescribe what best practice is.”

He adds that should a clearly mentally unstable pregnant lady be denied an abortion, and then commit suicide because, maybe, she doesn’t want to be forced to carry a baby against her will, somebody will be responsible. He just doesn’t know who:

“In that situation, a court of law would decide where liability lay.”

As an American, such crazytown hits me as particularly startling given that the #1 killer of pregnant women in the United States is murder or suicide. Is this seriously what happens when an anti-choice country tries to revamp abortion restrictions?

(photo: wanpatsorn / Shutterstock)

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    • meteor_echo

      Or to more people like me who would straight out stab ourselves in the abdomen – to not have to go through with the horror of an unwanted pregnancy.

    • faifai

      Welcome to the right-wing dream for America. *Sigh*
      Those poor women. :(

    • Alisande F

      Thank you for covering this. The legislation in this country has been a long time in the making and is still such a mess.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      As my username states, I am Irish. I literally cannot express how utterly and deeply disgusted I am by my own country. A pregnant woman seeking an abortion may have to face up to six doctors. That will only serve to make her feel she is mistrusted. Hell, you can’t get two clinicians in the same room at the same time here, let alone up to six! No wonder we’re so deeply associated with shame here, eh?
      Nothing is going to change. We’ll still flock to the UK for abortion, they cannot stop us.

    • Annie

      Sooo, what about women who aren’t in control of their general faculties, get knocked up, and have to either stop the medication that keeps them from losing complete touch with reality or have an abortion?

      Or a woman in a vegetative state who is raped? Someone with the mental age of a child and a heart defect that makes pregnancy dangerous, as is sometimes the case with women who have Down’s Syndrome?

      If a woman, without the help of IVF, gets pregnant with multiples and physically cannot carry the whole litter?

      I agree with Tea, this is horrifying.

    • Annie

      “I am urgently looking for information about your services and contacts to use your services in International waters off the Irish coast. It is important to me that I get this Information as soon as possible. Please contact me soon?”

      “I am completely distressed, my period is 3 days late. I am a virgin and was only having ‘petting’ with my boyfriend, I think I got pregnant by getting sperm on my hands or on my boyfriend’s hands. I am distraught and have had several sleepless nights. I am afraid to tell her parents and have thought of suicide as an answer to my predicament. I will do a pregnancy test, my boyfriend is still unaware of my pregnancy.”

      “I don’t know if I should write in English or Polish? so I’ll write in Polish. I would like to ask how I can as quickly as possible make an appointment to use your services on open sea. Can you offer me advice as to how I can protect myself from view of the people protesting in the harbour. I am concerned that my family might recognise me. Please answer me. Thank you.”

      http://www.womenonwaves.org/

      • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

        Who down-voted this?!?! This is heartbreaking to read.

        I hope the American government doesn’t give in to this right-wing way of thinking. I’ve said this in so many posts, and I will say it again: “When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.”

        What do people think is gonna happen when you outlaw abortions? No, there won’t be creepy vans parked in every alley offering coat-hanger abortions for $20. Not at all! Never! That didn’t happen before Roe v. Wade AT ALL!!!

        I, personally, could NEVER have an abortion. But I respect the fact that not all women feel the same and I believe it is every woman’s right to choose. And should they choose abortion, they have the right to go to a clean and trusted facility and have the procedure done by professionals with medical training. Hell, I even say abortion should be free! Of course, I also think there should be at least a good reason for it. Not that “We never use condoms, I just come here to get de-babied every time because my medical card pays for it.”

      • Annie

        Of course.

        Most women don’t use abortion as contraception, though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

        Ever read textsfromlastnight.com? You’d be surprised. =/

      • Annie

        Not really, I think most of them are fake. Anyway, that’s not really representative of real life. Talk to women you know who’ve had abortions, everyone has her own story but the *vast majority* don’t just have them willy nilly.

        As someone who is personally pro-choice, though, I do appreciate your open-mindedness and grip on reality. I wish more people realized what you do; that getting rid of legal abortions will just create a bigger market for dangerous illegal ones.

    • Pingback: Former Psychiatric Ward Patient: I Don't Support Ireland Abortion Law()

    • CrazyFor Kate

      This isn’t pro-life in the slightest, it’s about punishing women.

      • meteor_echo

        This is why I call “pro-lifers” what they really are – pro-forced-birthers.

    • No doctor would

      There are a lot of comments here that don’t grasp the situation Doctors can commute everyone who is suicidal they don’t. But they will if the think the person is a danger to them selfs. Saying I’m suicidal but if you won’t help me I will go to Northern Ireland or England would be greeted with that’s good you seem to be thinking clearly. Not oh no you don’t we will keep you here till you have your child. The comments about disabled women etc who could face death are being addressed and these women will be allowed truth they may have to jump through hoops but it is a very catholic country. My husband is a doctor who is pro life and has seen many girls use abortion as birth control he sends them to a different doctor who agrees with their choice no shunning shamming just a dr so and so can help you. I’m sorry this is a bit sensational no psychiatrist would hospitalise a woman if they had planned to go elsewhere for a termination. Annie there are loads of cheap flights to UK look online some less than £20. But I would advise you to start with your mum if she is catholic she will know loads of girls caught out and will surprise you hell check the math loads of catholic women give birth3 to 4 months early. She might want you to keep it or she might help you travel you won’t know till you put her on the spot. As a catholic who went through it the fear of telling was the scariest part glad I did though.

    • No doctor would

      Commit stupid auto correct