25
Nov
12

ula leaflet for 24 nov demo fails to clearly argue for women’s right to choose

The following is the text of the side of the ULA leaflet for the 24 November demonstration against austerity dealing with abortion rights. The other side was on the unions and the call for a general strike. I also have some issues with that side but this post relates to the content on abortion rights.

Abortion Rights Now

Demonstrate at Dáil, Kildare St

6pm Wednesday, November 28

Savita Halappanavar: Independent Public Enquiry

The ULA congratulates Praveen Halappanavar for his calm resoluteness at this terrible time. We support his call for an independent public enquiry into Savita’s death. Praveen and his family are entitled to this under the European Convention on Human Rights. Our government must provide that enquiry.

Legislate for X

The Labour Party must deliver on Gilmore’s rhetoric that ‘inaction is not an option’. They should immediately legislate for the X Case – which would have saved Savita’s life – by voting for the Daly Bill next Wednesday.

There will be a demonstration at the Dáil from 6pm next Wednesday, when the Daly Bill will be voted on. All who wish to ensure that no more women suffer or die because they are denied abortions, should be there so that Labour and Fine Gael can hear you. Call / email your TD today, demanding they support this Bill.

Repeal the Eighth Amendment

Legislation for the X Case is a minimum first step to ensure that women can access life-saving abortions. But the distinction between a woman’s life and her health as grounds for legal terminations in Ireland must end. The ULA will campaign for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and bring in legislation for the right to free, safe and legal abortion.

The following is from an email I sent to the ULA national steering committee list in response to the draft text (virtually the same as the final version) being circulated for comments. There was of course no reply to, or even acknowledgement of, my comments and the leaflet went out without my concerns being addressed.

==

I do have a more immediate concern however which I think is largely of a factual nature and must result in some changes. This relates to the abortion issue. Starting with:

Legislate for X Case

Labour must make a reality of Gilmore’s rhetoric that ‘inaction is not  an option’. They should immediately bring in legislation for the X Case – which would have saved Savita’s life – by voting for the Daly Bill next Wednesday evening.

This is simply not true. The doctor’s could easily have said that there was not a real and substantial risk to Savita’s life until it was too late and so legislation based on the X-case would not have saved her. The “- which would have saved Savita’s life -” must be removed.

The same problem also applies to the next paragraph:

All who wish to ensure that no more women suffer or die, due to denial of abortion, should come and make sure Labour and Fine Gael hear you.

X-case legislation would save the lives of a small number of women but it would not end the suffering, physical and/or mental, of women who are deemed not to have a real and substantial risk to their lives and so who would continue to be denied their right to choose to have an abortion.

“suffer or” should be removed.

What is actually important about Savita’s case is that she asked for a termination and was denied her right to that choice. The Cork pro-choice campaign will be holding a solidarity protest at 6pm on Wednesday (Eddie is right about the time) with the central banner reading “It should have been Savita’s choice”. That is the real lesson from this tragedy.

I also think the final section isn’t clear enough in getting across the idea of women’s right to choose and could be read to suggest the ULA is only for the a woman’s right to have an abortion when somebody else deems that there is a threat to her health as opposed to the decision being that of the woman concerned – for whatever reason. I would suggest using some of the wording from the North Kildaire motion to the branch council.

Replace:

But the distinction between a woman’s life and her health as grounds for legal abortion in Ireland must end. The ULA will campaign for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution and bring in legislation for the right to free, safe and legal abortion.

With;

The ULA affirms a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body. This includes having free and completely unfettered access to state-funded pregnancy-termination procedures and post-procedure support.  The ULA will therefore campaign for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution and for legislation to scrap sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

 

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