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Monday, March 27, 2023

What Ireland’s History With Abortion Can Teach Us About After Cry America

Wade, a 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the US since 1973, the nation could find itself on a path similar to the trod committed by the Irish people from 1983 to 2018. A draft decision signed by the majority of Conservative Justice was leaked in May 2022, and indicates that the court may do the same.

Abortion was first banned in Ireland as an offense against the persons act of 1861. This law became part of Irish law when Ireland gained independence from the UK in 1922. In the early 1980s, some anti-abortion Catholic activists focused on liberalization. The same may be true of abortion laws in other Western democracies, and in Ireland.

Read more: What’s Next for Abortion Rights After the Supreme Court Leak?

Various Catholic organizations, including the Irish Catholic Doctors Guild, St. Joseph Young Priest Society and St. Thomas More Society, formed the Pro Life Amendment campaign. He began promoting the idea of ​​making Ireland a model anti-abortion nation by banning abortion not only in law but in the country’s constitution.

As a result of that effort, a constitutional referendum was passed in 1983, ending a bitter campaign where only 54% of eligible voters voted. Ireland’s Eighth Constitutional Amendment recognizes the “right to life of the unborn and” [gave] With respect to the mother’s equal right to life.”

This religiously motivated anti-abortion measure is similar to anti-abortion laws already in place in some US states, including Texas, which bans pregnancy after six weeks, and Kentucky, which limits private health insurance coverage of abortions.

What happened 35 years after the referendum was passed in Ireland was the fight to legalize abortion. It involved several court cases, proposed constitutional amendments and intense advocacy, ending with another referendum in 2018, re-amending the Irish constitution to legalize abortion up to 12 weeks’ gestation.

real life results

Even before 1983, people living in Ireland who wanted a legal abortion were already traveling to England, known as the “abortion trail”, because abortion was also criminalized in Northern Ireland. Was. In the wake of the Eighth Amendment, a 1986 Irish court decision declared that abortion counseling was also prohibited.

A significant examination of abortion legislation came in 1992. A 14-year-old rape victim, who became pregnant, told a court that she was contemplating suicide after being forced to carry her rapist’s child. The judge ruled that the threat to her life was not great enough to justify allowing the abortion. That decision barred her from leaving Ireland for nine months, effectively forcing her to terminate the pregnancy.

On appeal, a high court ruled that the young woman’s suicidal thoughts were in fact a life-threatening condition to justify legal termination. But before she could have an abortion, she miscarried.

The case prompted efforts to pass three more amendments to the Constitution of Ireland. One, declaring that suicidal intentions were not grounds for abortion, failed. The other two passed, allowing Irish people to travel to obtain abortions, and distributing information on legal abortion in other countries.

emergency treatment

Even with these adjustments, the Eighth Amendment sometimes restricted the ability of medical professionals to provide life-saving care to patients during pregnancy-related emergencies.

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, aged 31 and 17 weeks pregnant, went to a hospital in Galway, Ireland. There doctors determined she was having an abortion. However, because the embryo still had a detectable heartbeat, it was protected by the Eighth Amendment. The doctors could not intervene – in legal terms, to end his life – even to save the mother. So she was admitted to the hospital for pain management while waiting for the miscarriage to progress naturally.

Over the course of three days, as her pain worsened and the symptoms of infection increased, she and her husband requested hospital authorities to terminate the pregnancy due to health risks. The request was denied because the fetus still had a heartbeat.

By the time the fetal heartbeat could not be detected, Halappanavar had developed a massive infection in her uterus, which had spread to her blood. After suffering organ failure and four days in intensive care, he died.

This was probably not the only time someone suffered or even died as a result of the denial of abortion in Ireland. But the hype surrounding the case inspired a new wave of activism aimed at repealing the Eighth Amendment. In 2013, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act was signed, which did not completely repeal the Eighth Amendment, but legal abortion that would protect the life of the mother.

It is estimated that around 170,000 people traveled from Ireland to seek legal abortion between 1980 and 2018.

In 2018, a referendum that repealed the Eighth Amendment was passed by a whopping 66% to 34% margin. As a result of the repeal, legal abortion is now permitted during the first trimester, which covers the cost of public healthcare.

Same situation in America

As a social work professor who conducts research on reproductive health care, I see many parallels between what happened in Ireland between 1983 and 2018 and the current US situation.

People in America are already traveling long distances, often to other states, on a trail similar to Irish abortion.

In both the US and Ireland, the people who need help paying for abortions are mostly single people in their 20s who already have an average of two children, as I noted with some abortion funds. According to the accompanying research, there are charitable organizations that help people cover up often. Affordable abortion expenses.

Unlike the United States, Ireland is moving away from political control over private life. Its history gives some lessons. For decades before 2018, pregnant people in Ireland faced forced pregnancy, suffering and even death, similar to what pregnant people in the US could face if the cry is reversed.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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