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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:48 am 
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tigerpants wrote:

Yes, it's the offences against the person act 1861 which outlaws abortion in both Ireland and NI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offences_a ... n_Act_1861

A Marie Stopes clinic was opened recently in Belfast, but only offers medical abortions (up to 9 weeks, I think), so anyone living on the island of Ireland needs to travel (probably to the UK) to obtain a termination after 9 weeks.

I'm sickened and angered by this whole situation. I was at the protest outside the Dail yesterday, and I will go on the march to be held on Saturday.


Yes, we're allowed medical abortions here on the NHS. A lot of people aren't happy about the Marie Stopes clinic opening, including some NHS doctors. I imagine they suspect the 'danger to mental health' element may feature in more abortions there than are accepted on the NHS, just my own hunch.

There is still a lot of misogyny in the North too but thankfully we don't have to suffer all the sins of a catholic country. There is a brutality towards women on both sides of the border, women and children have suffered so many wrongs at the hands of the catholic church here over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:51 am 
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This is so, so sad.

As 8ball said this definitely happens to all kinds of women in Ireland, not just women of colour, but I think that it is quite possible that in this case race was an issue.

I think that this article does a really good job of explaining why the language used towards Savita and her partner whilst they were at the hospital were racist http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2012/11/the_killing_of_

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:15 am 
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forking appalling.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:17 pm 
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I went to the rally at the Dáil (Ireland's Parliament) last night. Very moving. There's another vigil and march on Saturday afternoon. There is a genuine, palpable surge of outrage, grief and action at the moment in response to this.

As far as the race issue goes, to be honest, it did not occur to me initially that this could have been racially motivated or influenced...which could just be evidence of my white privilege/obliviousness. My feeling was that it didn't matter what race she was, the law really is that draconian and it could have happened to a woman of any color or creed.

But knowing that the doctor reportedly said to her "this is a Catholic country," and that she was Hindu... that's awful. A political commentator/stand up comedian friend of mine made the very good point that if an Irish woman was denied lifesaving medical care abroad for religious reasons there would be uproar.

I do still feel like this could have happened to a white, native Irish woman, though, because the "Catholic country" statement and dogma isn't an us-vs-foreigners stance, it's a traditional church-vs-secular state/science/rationality/progress/modernity/equality/women/you-name-it stance. Ireland is slowly shaking off the crippling yoke of the Church and its terrible history of abuse (occasionally aided by state collusion/complicity) but it still really has its fingers in a lot of State business due to really old laws. And there's a long history of abuse of pregnant, laboring and postpartum women by medical professionals in this country. (Forced hysterectomies, forced symphisiotomies.)

So basically: I'm of the opinion that race was not the only reason this happened to Savita, given the laws and church culture that have inflicted similar horrors on Irish women for decades... but also, given that context, her being a POC and of a different faith certainly didn't help. It's a forking disgrace. We are raging.

Hope that all makes sense, I'm still trying to figure out how to articulate this.


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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Sadly, those guidelines (a present heartbeat) are the same in Catholic hospitals in the US. I imagine there are many parts of the country with no alternatives. It's a big part of why religious exemptions in laws are so misguided and stupid.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:49 pm 
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jojo wrote:

I think that this article does a really good job of explaining why the language used towards Savita and her partner whilst they were at the hospital were racist http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2012/11/the_killing_of_


Thank you so much for posting this. Its spot on and I am grateful to have read it. One of the things that happens when you're a POC seeing racism, is that you really made to question your own responses, bc there is so much privilege at work. Thank you for posting it.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:14 am 
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jojo, that's an excellent piece. I missed that before I wrote my reply above and I think its suggestion that intersectionality is the way to look at this is right on.


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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:40 am 
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megs wrote:
jojo, that's an excellent piece. I missed that before I wrote my reply above and I think its suggestion that intersectionality is the way to look at this is right on.


I think that's what's at the crux of it. To be honest, in my varied experiences of the ROI (lots of family there and a life time of holidays/trips), that statement is just as likely to be aimed at me if I was unfortunate enough to find myself in that terrible position. All it would take is a different accent, it doesn't even need to be a different colour of skin. I think the 'this wouldn't happen to a white woman' argument is denies the history of white Irish women who have been subject to the misogyny and religious dogma involved in these situations. It also denies the real threat that these women still live under. Women in Ireland have been abused and brutalised under the reach of the Catholic country for countless years. There's always a chance that there was racism involved, but it's doubtful that is the reason she died, history has shown that women don't need to be POC to suffer under these laws.


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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:45 am 
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Big yes to what Fezza said about the accent and not just skin color. In my experiences and observations in both the Netherlands and Ireland, accent and your country of origin have more to do with racism than skin color. This is really, really glaring in the Netherlands--a Somalian who speaks excellent Dutch and/or English will be treated *very* different from a Somalian with noticable accents. It's a weird sort of racism from the US perspective. (I use Somalia as an example just because there is a large population of Somalis in NL and I repeatedly observed this sort of treatment)

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:51 am 
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It's Xenophobia really isn't it, which is rife in certain parts of Ireland, North and South.


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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:36 am 
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As Matt has asked that race not be part of this debate, I feel uncomfortable posting that you are dismissing the impact of racism from a place of privilege, but given that you are continuing to dismiss it, I feel like I have to say something.

I am not saying that bad things don't happen in NI to women. Clearly they do. But here there was a sense that her race impacted her treatment. The law is clear, but in practice every law is applied by people who either apply it strictly or find some wiggle room for people they have empathy and compassion for. Racism is often subtle, but powerful. If the MD had seen a woman as being like his mother, wife or sister, he may have intervened earlier or found a way to alleviate her suffering or realize how dire the situation was. But she occurred as other (much as poor women, foreigners, or young women or lesbian-identified women may and so no one felt the need to advocate for her and so the full brunt of the law was applied, even though this was a case that could have gone a different way.

Intersectionality means two types of oppression are at work, both sexism and racism in this case. And if you feel better calling it xenophobia that is fine, but here she is identified as being Irish, its just that her race makes her foreign

And LW, I am a POC who speaks perfect German. It definitely would seem to an outsider in Germany that I am treated way better than an Indian woman who can't speak German. And of course on some level its true: people were less rude to me to my face but on others, I still received a lot of soft racism (including people advising me and my partner not to have children because they would have no culture or identity). Just because it seems to you that the POC who have no language challenges are treated better doesn't mean that they don't also experience racism.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:01 am 
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I said "not just!" The xenophobia is hostile and overt enough that it is impossible not to see plainly.

I don't know if anybody remembers Pim Fortijn, the assassinatied Dutch politician? He was openly espousing that sort of thing and was very, very popular because of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:19 am 
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Here come the conservative opinions:
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analy ... 95315.html

I'm trying to find data on how often similar cases have occured. I know there have been at least several that I've read about in the last few years.

Wouldn't these deaths be officially listed under other causes than maternal?

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:45 am 
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Tofulish, I don't want to offend you (or anyone else), and none of my comments were at all meant to be dismissive. It's just that all women in Ireland have considered these issues at one time or another and I think that most would consider that this could happen to them, or their daughters.

My feelings on this stem a lot from talking to my cousin on the phone the other day. My aunt has gone through the national health system for breast cancer, and got everything from completely shitty care to wonderful care. And she is a nurse who knows lots of people! My cousin (her daughter) had a baby last year. She lives in rural Cork (rural Cork is RURAL; even the sheep think its the middle of nowhere)) and has a (foreign) husband who is an unemployed builder. None of us have any doubt that something similar could have happened to her at the hospital she went to for care. She did not have the means to go elsewhere. Her prenatal care was pretty crepe and appointments were hard to get in the appropriate time frames. Luckily she had no serious complications and was on bed rest for the last month, but she was scared because her baby was ginormous. All the 6-9 month clothes we sent were already too small as a newborn!

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:58 am 
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You know, the problem I have with calling it xenophobia (ie a fear of foreigners) is that in this case (and others) the people who are being victimized are nationals of the country (ie not foreigners). But the white population considers them to be foreign because they aren't white. And that to me is racism.

That said, this is a terribly sad case and clearly there needs to be a shift in the laws so that medicine and compassion aren't handcuffed by restrictive, outdated and religious laws.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:16 am 
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fezza wrote:
megs wrote:
jojo, that's an excellent piece. I missed that before I wrote my reply above and I think its suggestion that intersectionality is the way to look at this is right on.


I think that's what's at the crux of it. To be honest, in my varied experiences of the ROI (lots of family there and a life time of holidays/trips), that statement is just as likely to be aimed at me if I was unfortunate enough to find myself in that terrible position. All it would take is a different accent, it doesn't even need to be a different colour of skin. I think the 'this wouldn't happen to a white woman' argument is denies the history of white Irish women who have been subject to the misogyny and religious dogma involved in these situations. It also denies the real threat that these women still live under. Women in Ireland have been abused and brutalised under the reach of the Catholic country for countless years. There's always a chance that there was racism involved, but it's doubtful that is the reason she died, history has shown that women don't need to be POC to suffer under these laws.

I'm not comfortable dismissing the real experience of women who live in Ireland and placing my very different American experience over the top, as if our experiences with race are some sort of universal. I don't feel that Tofulish has really listened to what Fezza and the others have said.

The experience of women in Ireland under the rules of the Catholic Church is well documented. In the end, this happened because she was a woman.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:32 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
As Matt has asked that race not be part of this debate, I feel uncomfortable posting that you are dismissing the impact of racism from a place of privilege, but given that you are continuing to dismiss it, I feel like I have to say something.

I am not saying that bad things don't happen in NI to women. Clearly they do. But here there was a sense that her race impacted her treatment. The law is clear, but in practice every law is applied by people who either apply it strictly or find some wiggle room for people they have empathy and compassion for. Racism is often subtle, but powerful. If the MD had seen a woman as being like his mother, wife or sister, he may have intervened earlier or found a way to alleviate her suffering or realize how dire the situation was. But she occurred as other (much as poor women, foreigners, or young women or lesbian-identified women may and so no one felt the need to advocate for her and so the full brunt of the law was applied, even though this was a case that could have gone a different way.

Intersectionality means two types of oppression are at work, both sexism and racism in this case. And if you feel better calling it xenophobia that is fine, but here she is identified as being Irish, its just that her race makes her foreign

And LW, I am a POC who speaks perfect German. It definitely would seem to an outsider in Germany that I am treated way better than an Indian woman who can't speak German. And of course on some level its true: people were less rude to me to my face but on others, I still received a lot of soft racism (including people advising me and my partner not to have children because they would have no culture or identity). Just because it seems to you that the POC who have no language challenges are treated better doesn't mean that they don't also experience racism.

I also want to point out that there are a lot of may, might, and could statements here. Posters brought up other women who suffered because of Ireland's refusal to change their abortion laws. Your experience as a American woman in Germany does not really tell us much about what happened in Ireland.

The death occurred because Irish law paralyzes doctors. They were unable to make the decision that may have saved a woman's life. Trying to shoehorn other issues on top of this clouds the real issue for the women who live in Ireland.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:34 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
You know, the problem I have with calling it xenophobia (ie a fear of foreigners) is that in this case (and others) the people who are being victimized are nationals of the country (ie not foreigners). But the white population considers them to be foreign because they aren't white. And that to me is racism.

I think you have stated this excellently.

I think it's interesting that the majority of posters in this thread are White women and many of them are telling Tofulish she must be wrong. I have absolutely no doubt that all women in ROI face misogyny and that it is often deadly. I also have no doubt that women of colour in ROI are facing more than one hurdle to getting appropriate care.

I am, frankly, made very uncomfortable with the outright dismissal of race as an issue by White people who have many (often subconscious) reasons not to see it.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:40 am 
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j-dub wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
You know, the problem I have with calling it xenophobia (ie a fear of foreigners) is that in this case (and others) the people who are being victimized are nationals of the country (ie not foreigners). But the white population considers them to be foreign because they aren't white. And that to me is racism.

I think you have stated this excellently.

I think it's interesting that the majority of posters in this thread are White women and many of them are telling Tofulish she must be wrong. I have absolutely no doubt that all women in ROI face misogyny and that it is often deadly. I also have no doubt that women of colour in ROI are facing more than one hurdle to getting appropriate care.

I am, frankly, made very uncomfortable with the outright dismissal of race as an issue by White people who have many (often subconscious) reasons not to see it.


It is equally interesting that an American woman is telling women in Ireland that they must be wrong. They are telling her that there are more subtle issues at play than can be viewed from the relative comfort of a land without those sort of laws.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:52 am 
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I find it very dismissive of you to say that I haven't been listening to people because if you read our posts, I think we all agree that this is a tragedy, it happened because the laws in Ireland are very hard on women and are outdated and a handcuff on medical professionals who need to provide services to them. My only difference from fezza is that I think race was a factor as well. Yes it could absolutely have happened to a white woman, but that doesn't mean that race wasn't an issue, esp when you have Catholics telling a Hindu patient that "this is a Catholic country" which seems very othering to me and other commenters. I have provided a carefully thought out response to other people's posts, and while you are certainly welcome to your opinion that my experience isn't relevant, I do think that it is unfair to dismiss my opinions saying that I just am not listening, when in fact I am merely disagreeing on one facet of the story and in agreement on the remainder.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:06 pm 
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This is a wee bit semantic but I don't think xenophobia has to be someone from a different country. It's the fear of things foreign. You can live in the same country and be considered foreign, you can be the same race and sex and class and be considered foreign. It is certainly true here in the US and people can be treated very badly due to location, accent, etc. I'd think this would be true in most if not all countries and Scotland, Ireland and England have a very complicated history in that regard that I don't know enough about to speak towards.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:10 pm 
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I'm not saying that the interpretation of "this is a Catholic country" in the article is wrong, but many people in Ireland now are pretty secular. Irish people, especially the younger generation are not going to mass, certainly not in droves. There is currently a real push between the old hard liners who are clinging to strict Catholocism and everybody else who mostly dislikes the pope. (mention the pope to my gram, you better just put the phone down and come back in 45 minutes when she as worn herself out)

I don't know that anybody in my extended family has been inside a church for anything other than a funeral in decades. My mom and her siblings went to Catholic schools, but after that, all 9 of them cut ties with the church. If you look at the demographics, there is a huge seismic shift among attitudes towards religion around my mom's generation, and even more with the 30 and under crowd. Add to that a lot of immigration and attitudes towards religion are not matching up between the populace and government. It's a very weird thing. There is also a lot of political apathy. Anyway, my point is that you can hear "this is a Catholic country" in all sorts of situations ecause traditionalists and hard liners are pushing back against encroaching secularism. Birth control and women's health issues are pretty much the poster example of this. You can get condoms and birth control, but it's not always going to be easy and yo cant expect doctors to be helpful. My cousin in sheep country goes to Czechoslovakia for her shots because it's easier and she has access through her husband. My British aunt goes to London. They don't want to deal with the crepe.

So maybe there is a more sinister interpretation, or maybe it's the way things are for women period.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:10 pm 
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OK, I don't want to lock this but it also appears that the discussion is batting back and forth without really convincing either side.

Can we just accept that we all have different experiences that will flavour our reading of this situation and move on?

Thanks

Mat.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:18 pm 
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I am curious if there are other instance in which Irish doctors are afraid to act because of the law. Are prosecutions common in the ROI under the 1861 law or is the fear such that no one acts

It seems that people with the means to leave for reproductive care do so but class is always an issue with health care.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish lady dies after she was refused an abortion
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:49 pm 
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I don't know if everyone is familiar with Ireland and it's curious gender policies.
Quote:
The Magdalen laundries were workhouses in which many Irish women and girls were effectively imprisoned because they were perceived to be a threat to the moral fiber of society. Mandated by the Irish state beginning in the eighteenth century, they were operated by various orders of the Catholic Church until the last laundry closed in 1996. A few years earlier, in 1993, an order of nuns in Dublin sold part of their Magdalen convent to a real estate developer. The remains of 155 inmates, buried in unmarked graves on the property, were exhumed, cremated, and buried elsewhere in a mass grave. This triggered a public scandal in Ireland and since then the Magdalen laundries have become an important issue in Irish culture, especially with the 2002 release of the film “The Magdalene Sisters.”


Here's an account of a survivor of the Magdalene Laundries.

Here is some testimony from women who were forced to go to England for an abortion even after receiving word that there were serious issues and that their babies would die. After being told that your child would die, I cannot imagine being told that I had to carry it to term because of other peoples' religious beliefs.

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