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Abortion Legislation: Should the risk of suicide be included under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.
The bill has just been published and you can access it on the Department of Health website as a PDF download, click on the link below.
First published:Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 20:38
The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week as the debate over publication of the detailed legislation was at its height.
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The statement from the Catholic bishops opposing the legislation was issued on Tuesday.
Asked if they were for or against the heads of the Bill to legislate for the Supreme Court X judgment of 1992 permitting abortion where a mother’s life is in danger, 75 per cent said Yes, 14 per cent said No and 11 per cent had no opinion.
Supporters of both Coalition parties were the strongest backers of the legislation with 79 per cent of Fine Gael voters favour; 78 per cent of Labour; 77 per cent of Sinn Féin and 74 per cent of Fianna Fáil supporters.
People over 65 were the least enthusiastic about the legislation with 60 per cent in favour and 26 per cent against.
The 25 to 34 age group was the most strongly in favour but there were large majorities across all age cohorts.
The best-off social categories were strongest in support of legislation while farmers and the poorest DE social group were the least enthusiastic.
In regional terms Munster was strongest in favour, followed closely by Dublin with voters in Connacht Ulster least supportive of legislation.
There were big majorities for legislation in all regions, social categories and age groups.
The survey was undertaken last Monday and Tuesday among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.
The result shows a small increase in support for legislation to give effect to the Supreme Court judgement compared to the last Irish Times poll in February conducted before the heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill were published.
In that poll people were asked in principle if they supported the introduction of legislation to give effect to the X case decision, including the threat of suicide. In response 71 per cent said yes, 11 per cent said no and 18 per cent had no opinion.
Voters were also asked if abortion should be permitted in six specified circumstances. 89 per cent said it should be allowed where a woman’s life is at risk.
Asked if abortion should be permitted in cases where the foetus is not capable of surviving outside the womb, 83 per cent said it should.
Some 81 per cent said abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or abuse, while 78 per cent were in favour in cases where a woman’s health is at risk.
Asked if abortion should be allowed where a woman is threatening suicide 52 per cent said Yes, 29 per cent said No and 19 per cent had no opinion.
Finally, when asked if abortion should be permitted where a woman deems it to be in her best interest, 46 per cent said it should not,
39 per cent said it should and 15 per cent had no opinion.
Article from The Irish Times – http://www.irishtimes.com/news/poll-suggests-overwhelming-support-for-proposed-abortion-legislation-1.1426365
These include a provision giving the Minister for Health power to suspend institutions deemed to be operating the Act inappropriately.
The minister will also publish an annual report setting out how many terminations have been carried out.
Other changes include expanding the number of hospitals allowed carry out terminations.
It will also broaden the category of psychiatrist allowed decide whether a pregnant woman’s life is at risk from suicide.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore welcomed the Bill’s publication saying, “If this Bill is passed, every one of the tens of thousands of pregnant women who are admitted to hospital every year will know that any action which may be needed to save her life in an emergency will be taken.
“If this Bill is passed there will be no need for worry, no reason for doubt on the part of the woman, her family or the medical professionals concerned,” he said.
Minister for Health James Reilly briefed the Fine Gael parliamentary party at Leinster House.
Party chairman Charlie Flanagan said the meeting was calm and constructive.
He said the minister went into some detail about the contents of the legislation.
He said concerns were expressed, some of which were addressed and a number of members do have difficulties with what is proposed.
Mr Flanagan said the Bill will be introduced to the House next Thursday.
TDs and Senators said they received assurances about the possibility of regular Oireachtas scrutiny of the workings of the Act.
One TD said the health minister answered all the questions put to him and was very assured.
There will be no guillotine used and a period for reflection will be allowed before committee stage.
The Bill will be back to the Dail on 11 July and extra sitting days will be allowed if necessary.
Two doctors will have to certify where there is a physical threat to the life of the mother, and three in cases of suicidal ideation.
Those three doctors will include the woman’s obstetrician and two psychiatrists, including one specialist with experience of dealing with the mental health of pregnant women.
Ipsos/MRBI poll shows majority in favour of legislation
An opinion poll to be published tomorrow shows that three quarters of voters approve of the Government legislation.
However, the Ipsos/MRBI poll for the Irish Times found a smaller proportion – 52% in favour of allowing abortion in cases of threatened suicide.
1,000 voters were polled on Monday and Tuesday.
Asked if they approved of the Heads of the Bill published by the Government, allowing for abortion where a woman’s life is at risk, an overwhelming majority, 75% said yes, with 11% undecided.
But when asked if they approved of abortion on the grounds of a threat of suicide, one of the provisions of the legislation, only 52% said they did, with 29% opposed and 19% undecided.
There was higher support for abortion in other circumstances; 89% where a woman’s life is at risk, 83% where the foetus can’t survive outside the womb, 81% in cases of rape or incest, and 78% where there was a threat to the health of the woman.
But where a woman claims an abortion is in her best interests, just 39% would support an abortion, with 46% opposed.
Taoiseach says legislation provides clarity
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Cabinet discussions had been constructive and coherent.
He earlier defended the legislation and said he is a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic, rather than a Catholic Taoiseach.
Speaking in the Dáil, he said the Government will act strictly in accordance with its Constitutional obligations and inside the law.
He said he was providing certainty and clarity and said that the legislation is about saving lives not ending them.
Mr Kenny said he is being branded by some people as a murderer who will have the death of 20 million babies on his soul.
He has received medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood and telephone calls, he said.
The Taoiseach was speaking in response to independent TD Mattie McGrath, who said the Government is proposing abortion legislation that will fundamentally change the law.
Article from RTE Website – http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0612/456075-abortion-legislation/
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM VARIOUS SOURCES:
DOCTORS FOR CHOICE PRESS RELEASE, ISSUED AT 11.14PM, WEDNESDAY THE 12TH OF JUNE.
Dr Mark Murphy said that ‘Doctors for Choice welcome the majority support for abortion in the IPSOS/MRBI poll in today’s Irish Times. We strongly believe that abortion should be decriminalised and solely considered a health matter between a woman and her doctor. We urgently need to repeal the 8th amendment’
Richie Keane, Coordinator, Doctors for Choice
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY & REMARKS BY INDEPENDENT TD MATTIE MCGRATH, ARTICLE EXTRACT FROM THE IRISH TIMES.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has received letters written in blood which claim that he is a murderer because of the forthcoming abortion legislation.
Mr Kenny told the Dáil he acknowledged the issue was a sensitive one. But he said: “I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer. I’m going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies. I’m getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system and it’s not confined to me.”
Rejecting criticism of the Government’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, which gives effect to the X-case Supreme Court judgment issued 21 years ago, he told the Dáil he was a Taoiseach who happened to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach.
Mr Kenny said his job as Taoiseach “is not confined to any sector of the people, it is for all the people. Therefore I am proud to stand here as a public representative, who happens to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach. I am a Taoiseach for all the people and that’s my job,” he said to applause from the Government benches and Sinn Féin.
Mr Kenny was responding to Independent TD Mattie McGrath who called on the Taoiseach to reverse his decision not to allow Fine Gael TDs have a free vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Mr McGrath pointed to the 40,000 people who demonstrated last weekend against abortion and the comments of the Catholic hierarchy, who said people were being misled about the true nature of the legislation.
The Tipperary South TD asked: “Do you understand Taoiseach why a growing number of people simply do not believe your repeated claim that this Bill is pro-life? Nothing could be further from the truth.”
SENATOR RONAN MULLEN IN THE SEANAD, ARTICLE EXTRACT FROM THE IRISH TIMES
Senator Ronan Mullen (Independent) warned a “sad new chapter’’ would open in Irish life if the Government forced the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill through the Oireachtas.
“Things will never be quite the same again,’’ Mr Mullen said. “The pro-life movement will grow in strength and this much is clear.’’
Mr Mullen called for a Seanad debate on abortion before the legislation came before the House.
There should also be a debate on the quality of engagement by the Government with the public, the facts and the language, he said.
Mr Mullen claimed the Coalition was engaging in spin, starting with the title which mentioned protection of life during pregnancy.
“There is widespread concern this is about directly targeting innocent human children,’’ he added. “It has nothing to do with the sad facts of the Savita case.’’
He said the legislation was all about how the suicide ground would be exploited and turned into abortion on request.
DECLAN GANLEY, SPEAKING AT A PUBLIC MEETING ON WEDNESDAY EVENING.
Mr Ganley said the Government’s planned abortion legislation would “legalise the taking of innocent human life”. TDs who shared that view should not allow themselves to be whipped by their parties.
Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton writing on the 25th of April – http://www.lucindacreighton.ie/2013/04/25/25-april-2013/
I hope that, notwithstanding the strong and genuinely held views on both sides of the debate, we can respect the right of everyone to speak freely and honestly about their hopes and their concerns.
I fully support steps (regulatory or legislative) to give certainty to pregnant mothers and doctors in cases where there are medical complications and a woman’s life is at risk. That makes absolute sense. Why would I, or anybody else, want to see a woman’s life endangered in any circumstance?
I do have concerns about the proposal to legislate to for suicide as a ground for abortion. Legislating for suicidality worries me, because as 113 consultant psychiatrists said clearly today, such a step has “no basis in medical evidence”. Surely we should legislate on the basis of medical facts, and be guided by the experts who know their patients and their conditions better than anyone else.
The statement of the 113 consultant psychiatrists reads:
“As practising Psychiatrists we are deeply concerned at the Government’s stated plan to legislate along the lines of the X-Case, as this will mean legislating for suicidality. We believe that legislation that includes a proposal that an abortion should form part of the treatment for suicidal ideation has no basis in the medical evidence available.”
I have been accused repeatedly of being some sort of a fanatic or fundamentalist. Anyone who knows me – my friends, my family, my colleagues – knows that is simply nonsense. For the record, I do not come to this debate with any religious or idealogical ‘hang-up’. Like 85% of the population I have been brought up as, and describe myself as a Catholic. I am not a particularly devout one and I am not diligent in attending religious ceremonies. So I suppose I am like most Irish Catholics in that respect.
My support for human life is not based on any blinkered ideology. When I was a student, I would have regarded myself as liberal on the issue, being in favour of abortion. I suppose I simply bought into the accepted notion that a foetus is simply an extension of a woman and not a person.
However, I have come to believe that I was wrong. And I don’t change my view lightly. My opinion is, I suppose, shaped by a number of factors, personal experience with family members and friends, a more objective analysis of the arguments on both sides and of course the facts, which are all important. The clear view of those practicing psychiatrists is most convincing. I cannot ignore either, the very compelling experience of having dealt with so many parents going through adoption procedures, who have been through IVF and are doing everything they can to support human life. Life is precious. We cannot change that.