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Yesterday I wrote a diary with my emails to Irish government officials about the tremendous violation of human rights that occurred under their watch: the preventable death of Savita Halappanavar.
I sent emails to the 3 relevant Irish government officials and to a bunch of the government tourism bureau offices:
This morning I got a reply from an aide to Eamon Gilmore, Deputy Prime Minister (known in Ireland as the Tánaiste). My understanding is that he is from the Labour Party which is more sympathetic to changing the law but is not, unfortunately, the party now in power. Here's what I received:

Thank you very much for your email with regard to the case of Savita Halappanavar.   I will bring your correspondence to the attention of the Tanaiste.

This matter was raised with the Tanaiste at Leaders Questions in the Dail yesterday.

He said "I want to take this opportunity to express my own deepest sympathy to the family of Savita Halappanavar.  This is an appalling loss, which I think has rightly touched the hearts of all of the Irish people.  It is, of course, true to say that we do not yet know the full circumstances of what happened, but anybody who listened to Savita's husband  yesterday has to be deeply concerned by his very dignified and moving account of what happened to Savita.

This is one of those issues where we are all reminded of our duty as legislators.  It is not a moment for shrill voices.  It is a moment for respect, first of all, for a grieving  family, for dignified discussion and for determined action.

I do not think we, as a country, should allow a situation where women’s lives are put at risk in this way.  We must deal with the issue and bring legal clarity to it…. There have been six Governments in this State since the Supreme Court judgment in 1992 and they have not dealt with it.  This will not be the seventh. “

You can view his speech here -

The Tánaiste’s strong statement has been picked up across a range of media outlets. A selection is included below.

Best wishes

Doreen Foley PA to
Eamon Gilmore TD
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade  

I watched some of the discussion in the Dáil Éireann (parliament -- lower house and principal chamber) using the link in the above email. They're all so polite as they talk about the unconscionable treatment of Savita.
While Mr. Gilmore (the Tánaiste) certainly seems to be calling for some resolution on this, they don't seem to understand that every day they delay there is a chance of some other poor woman suffering Savita's fate.
Apparently they've sat on their hands for 20 years. I have little faith that they will take the action needed now.
Please -- anyone who's interested, send letters and emails. If you go to my original diary, there are email addresses and names after the squiggle.

Originally posted to Fruit of the Date Tree on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sinn Fein (22+ / 0-)

    and their leader Gerry Adams are putting forth legislation that aims to fully implement a 1992 judgment by Ireland's Supreme Court - this judgment allows for a "health of the mother" exception as I can understand it.

    None of the status quo parties in Ireland, FF or FG, will dare to go up against the Catholic church - Sinn Fein has a lot of experience with this going back before the H-Block hunger strikes.

    More here:

    Now I don't know but I been told/it's hard to run with the weight of gold
    Other hand I heard it said/it's just as hard with the weight of lead

    by ekthesy on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:31:54 AM PST

    •  this is better but still doesn't protect women. (11+ / 0-)

      The problem, as I understand it is that Savita's condition for the first few days was viewed as not clearly or immediately life-threatening, maybe "only" a threat to her health. By the time the fetus died and was removed, it was too late, she had already developed septicemia.
      Unfortunately, Gerry Adams' statement that

      It is about specific cases where a woman's life is at risk and where medical practitioners are tasked with making medical judgments without legal protection.
      is limited to a woman's life being at risk.
      So if a pregnant woman comes in with a health problem being seriously exacerbated by the pregnancy, once again the doctors will need to make a judgment about whether the pregnancy is life-threatening or merely health-threatening.
      It's absurd!
      And what about someone with cancer (I've heard of several cases like this) in which the pregnancy speeds up the spread of the cancer. The woman's life might not be immediately threatened -- maybe the pregnancy will mean she dies a year or two later instead of having cancer in a stage still amenable to treatment.
      Can you imagine prostate cancer treatment being decided on this basis? Since prostate cancer rarely kills quickly, a pro-life argument might be that the man still has functioning sperm production and his life isn't in immediate danger. No male legislator would find this acceptable.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:55:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes health-threatening (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, meralda, mookins, Larsstephens

        and life-threatening are exactly the same thing, as in the cancer example you gave above.

        What about a woman whose pregnancy causes her kidneys to fail? If she goes onto conventional dialysis she's got a 1 in 4 chance of dying in the first year, leaving her infant without a mother. That's still death by superstition and negligence, just delayed.

        I can't comprehend the kind of thinking that regards women as no more than livestock. I just can't. Thank god I'm an atheist, because the thought of being reincarnated as a woman in a place like that terrifies me.

        Surely the influence of the Church is waning as the younger generation comes up? The Vatican is criminal for requiring this but I don't suppose they'll ever see the blood on their hands.

        When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain

        by Late Again on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:56:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The journey of a thousand miles (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, FarWestGirl

        beginning with a single step and all that. The Irish government isn't going to shed the Church yoke overnight, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

        Now I don't know but I been told/it's hard to run with the weight of gold
        Other hand I heard it said/it's just as hard with the weight of lead

        by ekthesy on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:49:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sinn Fein are more anti-abortion than Labour (7+ / 0-)

      Sinn Fein, while they may allow some exceptions, remain committed to outlawing abortion wherever and whenever possible.

      Irish Labour, which is what the Tanaiste is from, are openly pro-choice. They are a more viable electoral option than Sinn Fein and they are better on the issue.

    •  Can't believe I'm rooting for Sinn Fein. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The world is a weird place.

  •  is ireland still operated from Rome? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Blasphemy Laws aren't helping either (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know how Ireland can address this issue without addressing the defacto issue of religious persecution as well ... and the twisted intertwining of these issues!

    It is disturbing to see Ireland's public officials and laws so poorly representing their people

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:19:27 AM PST

  •  i think in Ireland abortions are illegal (0+ / 0-)

    except in cases where the mother's life is in danger. The law clearly allowed for an abortion in this case. I'm blaming the doctors for being too idiotic for not recognizing that this was a life threatening situation.

    •  unfortunately, it wasn't clear at all. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, deminmarineland

      I've read a number of articles on this that mention that doctors are terrified of making the wrong decision and this has been a problem that's haunted Ireland for decades.
      From what I've read, it seems as though the line between life-threatening and health-threatening is extremely unclear. So maybe if a woman is in immediate danger of dying, like an ectopic pregnancy I would assume, it's clear. But a pregnancy that might or might not cause death sets up a situation where the doctors are afraid to go ahead with an abortion in case it's later decided in the courts that the pregnancy wasn't truly life-threatening. I don't know for sure, but it seems as if they're more afraid of mistakenly aborting a fetus than mistakenly killing the pregnant woman. Unbelievable.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:14:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fuck your apology pal, end all US trade with... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pademocrat, mookins

    ... Ireland until you enter the 21st century.

  •  Ireland has somewhat of a dark history anyway (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We are talking about a country whose Taoiseach (Eamon de Valera) refused to commit Ireland to support the Allies during WWII in spite of the fact that Winston Churchill offered back Northern Ireland in exchange of the support. To add insult to injury, de Valera sent condolences to Germany when Hitler committed suicide. I wouldn't put it past them to do the right thing.

  •  It would behoove us to respond in a decent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    manner and give Gilmore and the Tanaiste the benefit of the doubt to work on this.  Ye of little faith don't move mountains.

    That was a good response from Gilmore, and Doreen. Measured and respectable. And the man gave his word that although six Governments hadn't dealt with it, "this won't be the seventh."

    The Irish pretty much stand by their word. He'll do what is in his power to make this happen.

    One may live without bread, but not without roses.
    ~Jean Richepin
    Bread & Roses

    by bronte17 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:39:20 PM PST

    •  I'm not doubting Gilmore's intentions or beliefs (0+ / 0-)

      (and plan to send a thank you to them for responding) but since he's not a member of the ruling party and the ruling party is apparently quite a bit more conservative, I do doubt his ability to get something done.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:46:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, he said that he would do what he could (0+ / 0-)

        to make this happen so that no young woman ever dies a needless death again.

        If the ruling party refuses to budge, it won't be because Eamon Gilmore didn't give it his best.

        He sent a very decent and humane reply to you. He deserves the respect and opportunity to do his best.

        One may live without bread, but not without roses.
        ~Jean Richepin
        Bread & Roses

        by bronte17 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:50:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  p.s. remember, they were supposed to have taken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      care of this after their supreme court ruling in 1992, 20 years ago.
      Apparently Irish women get abortions when they need them by going to England and that allows the conservatives in the Irish government to be pure enough for the Catholic church.
      But it doesn't work very well in an emergency situation like Savita's and it speaks very poorly of the respect these men running the Irish government have for the female citizens of their country.
      Just as Todd Akin, Joe Walsh, Mourdock and other Republicans are representative of the Republican lack of respect for women's rights, dignity and health in this country.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:52:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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