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Thread: History of X-case Referenda

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    Default History of X-case Referenda

    Leaving out of this the question of travel by pregnant women, and access to abortion information to same, which were decided by referendum in 1992, the 'substantive issue' of abortion from the X-case, particularly the question of the grounds of threatened suicide being used to justify an abortion, was put to the people in two referenda:


    1992

    This was introduced by Albert Reynolds' government and voted on on the same day as a General Election, with the main government spokesman on the issue being Padraig Flynn the Minister for Justice. The wording they proposed was:

    "It shall be unlawful to terminate the life of an unborn unless such termination is necessary to save the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother where there is an illness or disorder of the mother giving rise to a real and substantial risk to her life, not being a risk of self-destruction."
    This obviously does rule out the question of suicide but it proposed to enshrine, for the first time in Irish law, the concept that a direct abortion of the unborn could be lawful in certain circumstances. The pro-life side in Ireland was always adament that there were no medical circumstances whereby a direct abortion like this is ever necessary, as opposed to some very rare unfortunate cases where an unborn may indirectly die as a result of some very necessary treatment given to the mother.

    This distinction is very clear if you think about it from the point of view of a doctor or nurse. If you are saying that an abortion per se is what is medically wanted then you go in and administer a lethal injection to the foetus or whatever and induce the abortion, in the other scenario doctors and nurses are not provided with equipment, drugs or procedures whereby they ever intentionally kill the foetus, but unfortunately the foetus may die sometimes when they are working frantically to save the life of the mother, an unfortunate outcome that they cannot prevent.

    So at that level the distinction is clear and this wording scandalised many pro-life doctors and nurses and the pro-life campaign in general was united against it for this reason, even though it did address the suicide point in the way they would have liked. All the pro-life groups campaigned heavily against it and Bishop Desmond Connell in Dublin had letters read out at mass giving out about it etc etc. It was defeated then by 65% to 35%.


    2002

    In March 2002 Bertie Ahern put forward another referendum on this question. This time the wording to be included, and the accompanying legislation which was to be specially linked to the wording in the constitution, was incredibly complicated, too much so to go into in detail here.

    The wording is so complicated that its hard to figure out exactly what was going on but it was favoured by quite a lot of people as genuinely closing the door on the suicide issue for example. The problem was that it was so complex and people just didn't trust Bertie Ahern on the matter.

    Also one specific issue was the question of whether or not life begins at conception or at implantation of the fertilised egg in the womb. The pro-life, and nearly all Church groups, always went with the former concept whereas this referendum, and the legislation surrounding it and comments by Micháel Martin, the Minister for Health, on the issue at the time, enshrined the idea that the latter was to be the new concept in law. This in the opinion of many on the pro-life side opened the door particularly to drugs that can induce abortion but before the fertilised egg has been implanted, and also to scientific experiments and uses etc of fertilised eggs outside the womb. This was then also a red line which caused many pro-life groups to oppose the referendum.

    So in practice the pro-life campaign split straight down the middle for this referendum. It was favoured by people like William Binchy, Des Hanafin and Caroline Simons, and they fronted a Pro-Life Campaign in favour of the referendum, and the Church was also largely in favour or neutral on it. It was opposed by many pro-life groups and personalities including Youth Defence, Mother and Child Campaign, Dana, Alliance for All Life, Christian Socialist Party, Christian Democrats and Human Life International. Here is an example of a pro-life leaflet against the 2002 referendum:
    Leaflet from ‘Ireland For Life’ -Vote No -2002 Abortion Referendum | Irish Election Literature and you can read about Youth Defence's opposition to it here: History : 2002 | Youth Defence .

    This wording was rejected by 50.42% to 49.58% showing that a united pro-life campaign would certainly have meant that the referendum would have passed.

    In any case when you look down through that history you can see that any idea that the Irish people have already rejected the concept of ruling out the X-case judgement by referendum is false, they were never given a clear pro-life wording that they could accept or reject, instead the politicians of the day played all their vote splitting tricks on them to deny them holding any such referendum. The rest of the time since 1992 the pro-life side, if you look at the history of the Pro-Life Campaign or Youth Defence say, were always lobbying political parties to be allowed to put forward a referendum completely shutting the door on the X-case but they were never allowed do so.

    That I think is the authentic history.
    Last edited by scolairebocht; 18th May 2013 at 04:18 AM.

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    Politics.ie Member talkingshop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post
    Leaving out of this the question of travel by pregnant women, and access to abortion information to same, which were decided by referendum in 1992, the 'substantive issue' of abortion from the X-case, particularly the question of the grounds of threatened suicide being used to justify an abortion, was put to the people in two referenda:


    1992

    This was introduced by Albert Reynolds government and voted on on the same day as a General Election, with the main government spokesman on the issue being Padraig Flynn the Minister for Justice. The wording they proposed was:



    This obviously does rule out the question of suicide but it proposed to enshrine, for the first time in Irish law, the concept that a direct abortion of the unborn could be lawful in certain circumstances. The pro-life side in Ireland was always adament that there were no medical circumstances whereby a direct abortion like this is ever necessary, as opposed to some very rare unfortunate cases where an unborn may indirectly die as a result of some very necessary treatment given to the mother.

    This distinction is very clear if you think about it from the point of view of a doctor or nurse. If you are saying that an abortion per se is what is medically wanted then you go in and administer a lethal injection to the foetus or whatever and induce the abortion, in the other scenario doctors and nurses are not provided with equipment, drugs or procedures whereby they ever intentionally kill the foetus, but unfortunately the foetus may die sometimes when they are working frantically to save the life of the mother, an unfortunate outcome that they cannot prevent.

    So at that level the distinction is clear and this wording scandalised many pro-life doctors and nurses and the pro-life campaign in general was united against it for this reason, even though it did address the suicide point in the way they would have liked. All the pro-life groups campaigned heavily against it and Bishop Desmond Connell in Dublin had letters read out at mass giving out about it etc etc. It was defeated then by 65% to 35%.


    2002

    In March 2002 Bertie Ahern put forward another referendum on this question. This time the wording to be included, and the accompanying legislation which was to be specially linked to the wording in the constitution, was incredibly complicated, too much so to go into in detail here.

    The wording is so complicated that its hard to figure out exactly what was going on but it was favoured by quite a lot of people as genuinely closing the door on the suicide issue for example. The problem was that it was so complex and people just didn't trust Bertie Ahern on the matter.

    Also one specific issue was the question of whether or not life begins at conception or at implantation of the fertilised egg in the womb. The pro-life, and nearly all Church groups, always went with the former concept whereas this referendum, and the legislation surrounding it and comments by Micháel Martin, the Minister for Health, on the issue at the time, enshrined the idea that the latter was to be the new concept in law. This in the opinion of many on the pro-life side opened the door particularly to drugs that can induce abortion but before the fertilised egg has been implanted, and also to scientific experiments and uses etc of fertilised eggs outside the womb. This was then also a red line which caused many pro-life groups to oppose the referendum.

    So in practice the pro-life campaign split straight down the middle for this referendum. It was favoured by people like William Binchy, Des Hanfin and Caroline Simons, and they fronted a Pro-Life Campaign in favour of the referendum, and the Church was also largely in favour or neutral on it. It was opposed by many pro-life groups and personalities including Youth Defence, Mother and Child Campaign, Dana, Alliance for All Life, Christian Socialist Party, Christian Democrats and Human Life International. Here is an example of a pro-life leaflet against the 2002 referendum:
    Leaflet from ‘Ireland For Life’ -Vote No -2002 Abortion Referendum | Irish Election Literature and you can read about Youth Defence's opposition to it here: History : 2002 | Youth Defence .

    This wording was rejected by 50.42% to 49.58% showing that a united pro-life campaign would certainly have meant that the referendum would have passed.

    In any case when you look down through that history you can see that any idea that the Irish people have already rejected the concept of ruling out the X-case judgement by referendum is false, they were never given a clear pro-life wording that they could accept or reject, instead the politicians of the day played all their vote splitting tricks on them to deny them holding any such referendum. The rest of the time since 1992 the pro-life side, if you look at the history of the Pro-Life Campaign or Youth Defence say, were always lobbying political parties to be allowed to put forward a referendum completely shutting the door on the X-case but they were never allowed do so.

    That I think is the authentic history.
    That's pretty much correct, although you 'll get very few to agree with you on this.

    I disagree with some of way you put things. For instance I don't agree with you that the 1992 and 2002 referenda wording didn't effectively shut the door on the x case. The wording proposed then would have excluded the suicide option, and only permit a termination if there was a substantial medical risk to the life of the mother, which most people understood would be the case anyway. And I disagree with you about political tricks, I mean in fairness the government weren't going to go down the road of some catholic wording about only allowing medical treatment, and then end up with another x case in a few years, with some woman being denied a direct termination where there was a substantial medical threat to her life!

    However you are certainly correct that it is false to say that the Irish people have voted for abortion on grounds of suicide.

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    If the truth mattered to those who wish to see abortion available you'd have proven a point, but the sad fact is it doesn't, they have what they want and that will do them.

    Concerns for the will of the people and genuine democracy be damned.

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    Don't let facts get in the way of the current bloodlust...

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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post
    Leaving out of this the question of travel by pregnant women, and access to abortion information to same, which were decided by referendum in 1992, the 'substantive issue' of abortion from the X-case, particularly the question of the grounds of threatened suicide being used to justify an abortion, was put to the people in two referenda:


    1992

    This was introduced by Albert Reynolds government and voted on on the same day as a General Election, with the main government spokesman on the issue being Padraig Flynn the Minister for Justice. The wording they proposed was:



    This obviously does rule out the question of suicide but it proposed to enshrine, for the first time in Irish law, the concept that a direct abortion of the unborn could be lawful in certain circumstances. The pro-life side in Ireland was always adament that there were no medical circumstances whereby a direct abortion like this is ever necessary, as opposed to some very rare unfortunate cases where an unborn may indirectly die as a result of some very necessary treatment given to the mother.

    This distinction is very clear if you think about it from the point of view of a doctor or nurse. If you are saying that an abortion per se is what is medically wanted then you go in and administer a lethal injection to the foetus or whatever and induce the abortion, in the other scenario doctors and nurses are not provided with equipment, drugs or procedures whereby they ever intentionally kill the foetus, but unfortunately the foetus may die sometimes when they are working frantically to save the life of the mother, an unfortunate outcome that they cannot prevent.

    So at that level the distinction is clear and this wording scandalised many pro-life doctors and nurses and the pro-life campaign in general was united against it for this reason, even though it did address the suicide point in the way they would have liked. All the pro-life groups campaigned heavily against it and Bishop Desmond Connell in Dublin had letters read out at mass giving out about it etc etc. It was defeated then by 65% to 35%.


    2002

    In March 2002 Bertie Ahern put forward another referendum on this question. This time the wording to be included, and the accompanying legislation which was to be specially linked to the wording in the constitution, was incredibly complicated, too much so to go into in detail here.

    The wording is so complicated that its hard to figure out exactly what was going on but it was favoured by quite a lot of people as genuinely closing the door on the suicide issue for example. The problem was that it was so complex and people just didn't trust Bertie Ahern on the matter.

    Also one specific issue was the question of whether or not life begins at conception or at implantation of the fertilised egg in the womb. The pro-life, and nearly all Church groups, always went with the former concept whereas this referendum, and the legislation surrounding it and comments by Micháel Martin, the Minister for Health, on the issue at the time, enshrined the idea that the latter was to be the new concept in law. This in the opinion of many on the pro-life side opened the door particularly to drugs that can induce abortion but before the fertilised egg has been implanted, and also to scientific experiments and uses etc of fertilised eggs outside the womb. This was then also a red line which caused many pro-life groups to oppose the referendum.

    So in practice the pro-life campaign split straight down the middle for this referendum. It was favoured by people like William Binchy, Des Hanfin and Caroline Simons, and they fronted a Pro-Life Campaign in favour of the referendum, and the Church was also largely in favour or neutral on it. It was opposed by many pro-life groups and personalities including Youth Defence, Mother and Child Campaign, Dana, Alliance for All Life, Christian Socialist Party, Christian Democrats and Human Life International. Here is an example of a pro-life leaflet against the 2002 referendum:
    Leaflet from ‘Ireland For Life’ -Vote No -2002 Abortion Referendum | Irish Election Literature and you can read about Youth Defence's opposition to it here: History : 2002 | Youth Defence .

    This wording was rejected by 50.42% to 49.58% showing that a united pro-life campaign would certainly have meant that the referendum would have passed.

    In any case when you look down through that history you can see that any idea that the Irish people have already rejected the concept of ruling out the X-case judgement by referendum is false, they were never given a clear pro-life wording that they could accept or reject, instead the politicians of the day played all their vote splitting tricks on them to deny them holding any such referendum. The rest of the time since 1992 the pro-life side, if you look at the history of the Pro-Life Campaign or Youth Defence say, were always lobbying political parties to be allowed to put forward a referendum completely shutting the door on the X-case but they were never allowed do so.

    That I think is the authentic history.
    The X-case was decisive in this story.

    It opened many eyes, and better still it forced into the open what was being swept under the carpet - abortion is legal in Ireland for anyone who can afford to cross the Irish Sea.

    It was fairly clear that the likes of Charles Haughey and Albert Reynolds wanted Harry Whelehan to keep shtum and let anyone who wanted feck off to London and have their abortion there, not in Holy Ireland.

    But Whelehan, oddly for a usually complaint Fianna Fail tool, took his job as Atorney-General seriously in this regard and ordered that a sexually abused and pregnant young girl be prevented from going to England for an the abortion she and her parents said they wanted.

    What really got to people was talk of X-raying women before and after they went abroad to make sure they did not have an abortion.

    Besides that, the Catholic right had been fighting protracted legal battles to close down referral clinics like the Well Woman Centre, and preventing Student Unions from giving abortion advice. Over time, their strong arm tactics against the centres and the students made them very unpopular.

    Call it hubris - with annual revelations in the Catholic Church over sexual scandals, the crowd who had claimed to have "solved" Ireland's abortion problem in 1983 had set themselves up for a mighty fall. They have been on the retreat ever since.
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post
    Leaving out of this the question of travel by pregnant women, and access to abortion information to same, which were decided by referendum in 1992, the 'substantive issue' of abortion from the X-case, particularly the question of the grounds of threatened suicide being used to justify an abortion, was put to the people in two referenda:

    In any case when you look down through that history you can see that any idea that the Irish people have already rejected the concept of ruling out the X-case judgement by referendum is false, they were never given a clear pro-life wording that they could accept or reject, instead the politicians of the day played all their vote splitting tricks on them to deny them holding any such referendum. The rest of the time since 1992 the pro-life side, if you look at the history of the Pro-Life Campaign or Youth Defence say, were always lobbying political parties to be allowed to put forward a referendum completely shutting the door on the X-case but they were never allowed do so.

    That I think is the authentic history.
    This isn't really about history is it - aren't there enough topics on this issue already?

    I doubt it needed another soapbox.
    I am in line for a smiting probably sooner than I expect. Apparently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post

    This distinction is very clear if you think about it from the point of view of a doctor or nurse. If you are saying that an abortion per se is what is medically wanted then you go in and administer a lethal injection to the foetus or whatever and induce the abortion, in the other scenario doctors and nurses are not provided with equipment, drugs or procedures whereby they ever intentionally kill the foetus, but unfortunately the foetus may die sometimes when they are working frantically to save the life of the mother, an unfortunate outcome that they cannot prevent.
    What?

    This is nonsense. A termination is a termination.
    They don't use magic to terminate a foetus in the cases of threat to life.
    In the case of pre-eclampsia the cure IS termination of the pregnancy which means the death of the foetus.
    Do you honestly think that removing a foetus at 17 weeks is not killing it?
    It's not a side effect. It's a direct effect.

    Quit dancing around the issue and stop pretending these are not abortions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gebra View Post
    What?

    This is nonsense. A termination is a termination.
    They don't use magic to terminate a foetus in the cases of threat to life.
    In the case of pre-eclampsia the cure IS termination of the pregnancy which means the death of the foetus.
    Do you honestly think that removing a foetus at 17 weeks is not killing it?
    It's not a side effect. It's a direct effect.

    Quit dancing around the issue and stop pretending these are not abortions.
    If for medical reasons the foetus has to be removed, then that is done and every effort is also made to save the life of the baby. This "procedure" has nothing in common with an abortion as we know them to be.

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    Politics.ie Member Al Gebra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonic View Post
    If for medical reasons the foetus has to be removed, then that is done and every effort is also made to save the life of the baby. This "procedure" has nothing in common with an abortion as we know them to be.
    There is no effort sufficient in the case of a foetus below 21 weeks. You are aware of the phrase futile medical care?
    If you terminate a pregnancy at this stage it is killing the foetus. Medical science is currently unable to sustain life at that gestational age.
    The death of the foetus is not a side effect but a direct effect.
    The procedure has everything in common with it. The reasons may differ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonic View Post
    If for medical reasons the foetus has to be removed, then that is done and every effort is also made to save the life of the baby. This "procedure" has nothing in common with an abortion as we know them to be.
    At 17 weeks? What effort do they make to save the life of the baby at 17 weeks? Remove it and it dies, there is no effort they can make to save it- it can't live outside the womb.

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