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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