Let no more women die …

In response to Savita Halappanavar’s needless and shocking death, due to being denied a lifesaving abortion in Galway Hospital this October, I have written to my local TDs and reminded them that it has been over twenty years since the Irish people voted to protect the rights of the mother as well as that of the unborn child, and telling them that it is time our government stepped up and fulfilled its duty to protect the rights of women in Ireland.

If you are a resident in Ireland are eligible to vote and believe that NO WOMAN SHOULD DIE NEEDLESSLY, I ask you to take time to  go to this webpage and contact your local TDs. The process is simple and will take hardly five minutes of your day.

Thank you. Please pass this message on. Also, if your TD gets back to you and you want to publicly acknowledge their response, send it to me, I will paste it below (or you can put it in the comments.)* (post continues on Pg 2)

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8 Responses to Let no more women die …

  1. Very prompt response from Olivia Mitchell (Dublin South) this morning:

    Dear Claire,

    Thank you for contacting me on this issue.

    I personally fully support the introduction of legislation/regulation in line with the decision made by the Irish people in at least two referenda, and I will certainly be encouraging the Government to deal with this issue when the Expert Group report is available.

    Please find attached a speech made by me in the Dáil last April regarding this issue.

    With kind regards,

    Olivia

    [with speech going into further detail attached]

  2. ShivX says:

    Siobhan,

    Thank you for your email and for getting in touch. I share your concerns and will ensure they are raised at Parliamentary Party level. Once the Expert Group has brought forward their report, the real debate will begin at Parliamentary Party level and I will ensure that your views are expressed strongly. Attached for your information is the official Government response.

    Thanks again for getting in touch.

    Government Response
    As committed to in the Programme for Government, an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, was established in January to study the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the ABC v. Ireland case. In that judgement, the European Court held that the Irish State had failed to legislate to implement existing rights to lawful abortion when a mother’s life is at risk.

    Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution states that: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. “

    The interpretation of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution arose in the “X case” in 1992. A majority of the members of the Supreme Court of Ireland held that, if it were established, as a matter of probability, that there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, such a termination was lawful.

    The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case confirmed that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court ruled that “no criteria or procedures have been… laid down in Irish law… by which that risk is to be measured or determined, leading to uncertainty…” and held that further legal clarity was required.

    Ireland has signed and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 46 of which states that signatories agree to abide by any judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties. Ireland is therefore under a legal obligation to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland, and must put in place a legislative or regulatory regime providing effective and accessible procedures whereby pregnant women can establish whether or not they are entitled to a lawful abortion in accordance with Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case.

    In order to address the judgment, and to fulfil a commitment included in the Programme for Government, the Government established an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, with a view to making recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed.

    The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September with recommendations on a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for expeditious action in light of the ECtHR judgement.

    The Government believes that this is the appropriate forum in which to examine this complex and sensitive matter.

    When the Group finalises its report later this year the Government will then decide how to proceed.

    Míle buíochas,

    Noel Coonan T.D.
    Tipperary North

    Constituency Office:
    Bank Street
    Templemore
    Tel: 0504 32544
    Mobile: 086 2427733
    Fax: 0504 56796

    Dáil Eireann
    01 6183842
    Email: noel.coonan@oir.ie

  3. For the past 12 months I’ve sent several emails to all three North Tipperary TD’s – to date I’ve always had quick replies from Noel Coonan [as in from him and not just some automated reply] the most recent this morning which read as follows:

    “Cliodhna,

    Thank you for your email and for getting in touch. I share your concerns and will ensure they are raised at Parliamentary Party level. Once the Expert Group has brought forward their report, the real debate will begin at Parliamentary Party level and I will ensure that your views are expressed strongly. Attached for your information is the official Government response.

    Thanks again for getting in touch.

    Government Response
    As committed to in the Programme for Government, an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, was established in January to study the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the ABC v. Ireland case. In that judgement, the European Court held that the Irish State had failed to legislate to implement existing rights to lawful abortion when a mother’s life is at risk.

    Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution states that: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. “

    The interpretation of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution arose in the “X case” in 1992. A majority of the members of the Supreme Court of Ireland held that, if it were established, as a matter of probability, that there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, such a termination was lawful.

    The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case confirmed that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court ruled that “no criteria or procedures have been… laid down in Irish law… by which that risk is to be measured or determined, leading to uncertainty…” and held that further legal clarity was required.

    Ireland has signed and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 46 of which states that signatories agree to abide by any judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties. Ireland is therefore under a legal obligation to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland, and must put in place a legislative or regulatory regime providing effective and accessible procedures whereby pregnant women can establish whether or not they are entitled to a lawful abortion in accordance with Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case.

    In order to address the judgment, and to fulfil a commitment included in the Programme for Government, the Government established an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, with a view to making recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed.

    The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September with recommendations on a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for expeditious action in light of the ECtHR judgement.

    The Government believes that this is the appropriate forum in which to examine this complex and sensitive matter.

    When the Group finalises its report later this year the Government will then decide how to proceed.

    Míle buíochas,

    Noel Coonan T.D.
    Tipperary North

    Constituency Office:
    Bank Street
    Templemore
    Tel: 0504 32544
    Mobile: 086 2427733
    Fax: 0504 56796

    Dáil Eireann
    01 6183842
    Email: noel.coonan@oir.ie

    I’ve had two automated replies from the Parliamentary Assistant to Michael Lowry T.D. though I have sent more then two emails and to date no reply of any sort from Alan Kelly.

  4. Response from Tom Hayes TF Tipp South

    Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

    The Taoiseach confirmed in the Dáil this morning (Wednesday, 14th November) that last night the Expert Group established to examine the judgement in ABC v. Ireland [2010] delivered its report to the Department of Health.

    As you will be aware, this Expert Group was established pursuant to the Programme for Government to study the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the ABC v. Ireland case. In that judgement, the European Court held that the Irish State had failed to legislate to implement existing rights to lawful abortion when a mother’s life is at risk pursuant to Article 40.3.3° of the Irish Constitution.

    The Expert Group is chaired by Mr. Justice Sean Ryan and comprised of experts in the fields of law and medicine. It was asked to make recommendations on a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for expeditious action in light of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights.

    Now that the Report has been delivered to the Department of Health the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, will examine the report and bring it to Government for discussion.

    The Government is required to send a response to the Council of Europe on progress made in terms of complying with the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights before 30 November next.

    Please be assured that the importance of this issue is fully recognised by Fine Gael

    Yours Sincerely,

    Tom Hayes T.D.
    Constituency Office

    Oireachtas email policy and disclaimer. http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/about/oireachtasemailpolicyanddisclaimer/ Beartas ríomhphoist an Oireachtais agus séanadh. http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/ga/eolas/beartasriomhphoistanoireachtaisagusseanadh/

  5. From Róisín Shortall:

    Dear Ruadhri,

    The Programme for Government negotiated by both Labour and Fine Gael on forming government contains the following commitment:

    “We acknowledge the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights subsequent to the established ruling of the Irish Supreme Court on the X-case. We will establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government on how this matter should be properly addressed. We acknowledge the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights subsequent to the established ruling of the Irish Supreme Court on the X-case. We will establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government on how this matter should be properly addressed.”

    The Expert Group’s report was indeed long overdue but I understand that Minister James Reilly actually received the report last night. I hope that there will be no further delay in addressing this matter and that the Government will implement the Group’s recommendations at an early date.

    I thank you for contacting me on this important issue.

    Kind regards,

    Róisín Shortall

  6. Dear Kate,

    Thank you for your email regarding legislation on the X Case.

    I am shocked at the tragic news published today about the death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway that underlines the urgent need for legislative clarity.

    I fully support the introduction of legislation to address the X Case and to implement the European Court of Human Rights ruling on abortion. This is a commitment the Labour Party made during the election, was included in our election manifesto and reaffirmed this year at our Party Conference.

    On 29th November 2011 the Government approved the establishment of an Expert Group. The first meeting of the expert group took place on 30 January 2012. The group comprises of experts in the fields of obstetrics, general practice, law, public policy and professional regulation and it is chaired by a judge of the Irish High Court. I understand that the Minister for Health received the report yesterday. It would be inappropriate for me to pre-empt the recommendations of the Expert Group at this stage.

    However, I share your view that we need legislation on this issue and I will be representing that viewpoint.

    Yours Sincerely

    Kevin

    Kevin Humphreys TD
    [Dublin South East]
    (01) 6183224
    kevin.humphreys@oir.ie

  7. From John Lyons TD
    Hi Ruadhri,

    Thank you for contacting me on the issue of legislating for the X Case. I have been contacted by a huge number of constituents in the last 24 hours on this issue as the details of the tragic death of Ms Savita Halappanavar have emerged. I share the serious concerns that so many people have expressed to me and I want to assure you that implementing the recommendations of the Expert Group reports is a key issue for the Labour Party in Government.

    As you are aware, the Programme for Government negotiated by both Labour and Fine Gael on forming government contains the following commitment:

    “We acknowledge the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights subsequent to the established ruling of the Irish Supreme Court on the X-case. We will establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government on how this matter should be properly addressed.”

    I understand that this report was presented to the Minister for Health on Tuesday. The shocking and tragic news of the death of Ms Halappanavar underlines the importance of this matter. It also highlights the need to provide legal certainty and legal clarity, for situations like this, and I have no doubt that the Government will act on foot of the Group’s recommendations as a matter of urgency.

    I am in agreement with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore’s comments on this matter yesterday which stated:

    “It’s a heartbreaking case and I must say I was very upset reading it and hearing about it. We need in this country to provide legal certainty, legal clarity, for a situation where a woman is requesting a termination of pregnancy in circumstances like this and that’s why we decided to establish the Expert Group to look at the ABC case and to make recommendations to Government on what steps we can take to deal with that. That group has now completed its work, and has submitted its report to Minister for Health. We need to give our response to the Council of Europe by end of November, so I expect we will be considering the Expert Group report between now and end of November and dealing with it then.

    “This issue has been with us now for 20 years and this is the first Government that has decided that were are going to deal with it. We put place a process, an Expert Group chaired by Judge Ryan to address all of the issues, to make recommendations to us. That Expert Group looked for an extension on the period of time they needed to consider the issues. It is a complex and sensitive area. They have now completed their work, submitted their report to Minister for Health and we will deal with it promptly.

    “We need to provide legal clarity….. Before this incredibly tragic and heartbreaking case we had already determined as a Government that we were going to deal with this by having the Expert Group and getting their recommendations.”

    Again, I appreciate you contacting me on this issue. I share your very strong feelings and I will be working with my party colleagues to act on the recommendations of the report as matter of priority.

    Please do feel free to call me on 618 3280 if you would like to discuss this matter further.
    With best wishes,

    John Lyons TD
    Dublin North-West

    01 618 3280
    johnlyonstd.blogspot.com
    facebook.com/JohnLyonsDublinNorthWest
    twitter.com/JohnLyonsTD

  8. Dessie Ellis completes my three TDs replying.

    Ruadhrí a chara,

    Thank you for your email.

    I was very upset to hear of the tragedy of the death of Savita Halappanavar. She died because the state failed to legislate for X. We cannot wait any longer.

    Sinn Féin supports legislating for X case and believes that in the case where a woman’s life is at risk including from suicide but also in the case of rape or incest the woman must be allowed to decide her fate.

    To this end we supported the Medical Terminations Bill before the house earlier this year and will support any similar legislation which is in line the policy of Sinn Féin as outlined above.

    It is not acceptable that a constitutional right has been denied for so long, it is not acceptable that we have not put our house in order following such a tragic episode as the X case. Thank you again for your email and your work to highlight this issue.

    Gerry Adams TD yesterday called on the government to bring forward legislation to prevent future tragedies during Leaders Questions, Mary Lou McDonald has today echoed that call.

    Le meas,

    Dessie Ellis TD

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy9wIYvf2no – Gerry Adams raises tragic death of Savita Halappanavar

    Dessie Ellis, Teachta Dála
    Baile Átha Cliath Siar ó Thuaidh
    Guthán: (01) 618 3006
    Riomh Phoist: dessie.ellis@oir.ie
    http://facebook.com/dessie.ellis
    http://twitter.com/cllrdessieellis
    http://www.dessieellis.ie Oireachtas email policy and disclaimer. http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/about/oireachtasemailpolicyanddisclaimer/ Beartas ríomhphoist an Oireachtais agus séanadh. http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/ga/eolas/beartasriomhphoistanoireachtaisagusseanadh/

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