Friday, July 12, 2013

Doctors for Choice on legislation

Doctors for Choice welcomes the end of 21 year filibuster however Criminalisation and Chill factor for Doctors remains in Bill.

“The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill is expected to pass later today following an adjournment at 5am. Whilst women and doctors have been waiting over 21 years for legislation on the The X Case judgement, this Bill does little to help women or doctors.

This Bill would most likely not have saved Savita Halappanavar. This Bill will not provide women with choice in the case of a fatal fetal abnormality or a pregnancy resulting from a criminal act- despite the overwhelming majority of the population supporting choice in these limited circumstances. In addition, an obstetrician will certify the mental health risk of women, though they are not trained in this area, and an inquisition-style panel of up to 7 medical practitioners will certify whether a woman can access an abortion.

Critically, the criminalisation of doctors and women with a 14-year prison sentence, for what is a standard healthcare procedure anywhere else in the world, will heighten the ‘chill factor’ in Ireland.

This passing of this Bill is but a pyrrhic victory. It is doubtful if the legislation will meet the ‘accessible and effective’ test of the A, B and C V’s Ireland case at the European Court of Human Rights. The Bill must be improved in the Seanad. We must also campaign for a repeal of the 8th Amendment, which has had such a toxic effect on women’s health.

We are committed to campaigning to make this Bill a better Bill for our patients and to repealing the 8th amendment’.