AN ABORTION BILL put forward by Deputy Clare Daly has been voted down by 101 votes to 27 in the Dáil this evening.The bill was for legislating for the X Case, and the full details of the bill can be accessed by clicking here.
It would have provided an interim legislative arrangement as required by the Council of Europe, for termination of pregnancy where as a matter of probability a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman exists.
It also would have made provision for the prevention of any curtailment, hindrance or preclusion of such treatment that may arise as a result of the pregnancy of the woman.
Her condition worsened significantly during this time and she was not able to receive cancer treatment because she was pregnant. She eventually travelled to Britain for an abortion; she had to be helped on to the aircraft due to a deterioration in her condition.
Mr Boylan of Augustus Cullen Law then sued the State on her behalf for infringing her rights under the ABC case, in which the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland had breached the human rights of a woman with cancer who had to travel abroad to get an abortion.
In that case, the woman – “C” – had a rare form of cancer and feared it would relapse when she became unintentionally pregnant. However, the woman said she was unable to find a doctor willing to make a determination as to whether her life would be at risk if she continued to term.
Ms Harte’s lawyers served a statement of claim in May 2011 against the HSE, Ireland and the Attorney General. It was settled by July 2011. Mr Boylan declined to specify the amount but said it was substantial. Ms Harte died that November.
This is ridiculous: while the legislature, and hence Irish doctors, waffle about the ethics of abortion when the mother’s life is in danger (whether that danger be physical or, in the “X” case, mental), women continue to die. What’s right is right, and this defeat is an embarrassment for the Irish government.
Most of the Irish public favor some form of abortion on demand, but if the government can’t even resolve such a simple ethical (an issue that the EU demands be resolved), it looks as if abortion will remain illegal in Ireland.
Such is the power of the Catholic Church in Ireland, which of course opposes any such legislation, as well as of the ruling party, which doesn’t want to pass anything not approved by their own legislators. They have no idea what it means for someone to die while they equivocate. Every woman who dies in these situations has friends and family who love her; and even one such death is too many. I wish those legislators could put themselves in the place of these women, something they seem unable to do.