Autonomy.

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, May 27th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: abortion, crime, culture, history, International, religion, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, useless - Tags: , ,

I don’t want to upset any Irish people who might be reading this, but having been brought up as a notional Protestant in the British Isles, I was inculcated with a less than glowing view of Ireland and Irish people.

Ireland was a tad backwards and Irish people were suspect – all that Catholicism and violence!

Of course, that perception was meant to be applied far more to Eire than to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland had a modicum of progress about it – what with it being Protestant and a part of the United Kingdom and all.

Well, today a woman in Northern Ireland faces the possibility of life in jail if she has an abortion. That is, citizens of the UK are denied bodily autonomy and face the harshest penalties anywhere in Europe if they lay claim to their own bodies.

And across the political divide in Northern Ireland, (from Sinn Fein to the DUP) there’s a consensus that women ought not be permitted ownership of their bodies and the right to exercise decisions that come from that ownership.

I could find it all a bit confusing.

Eire was meant to be the backwards place that was held in some darkened state by the presence and power of the Catholic Church. Hell, I can remember when anyone going to holiday in Eire, was well advised to pack condoms into their luggage given the difficulty of obtaining them there.

And yet here we are, with abortion being made accessible, and same sex marriage available since 2015 in that most backwards of places, and neither of those things being a part of the landscape in that other part of Ireland that the most enlightened of political powers from across the sea decided to hang on to.

And that progress in personal freedom in Eire isn’t simply down to the fading power of the Catholic Church. If it was, then women in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be subject to regimes of control and punishment that fit with all the notions of that somewhat dark backwardness that ought (or so we were taught) to applied to all things Catholic and Republican.

I think I like it when the basis of inter-generational, state sanctioned bigotry and nonsense gets shown up for what it is. Maybe it’s time for British people to sweep away the broken and breaking pieces of their “Irish construct” and open the windows to let the taint of the bullshit they’ve been fed get aired out.

I’d like to think the architects of the bullshit, and everyone associated with them, and every institution that bolstered them, would get swept away too. But I know that’s probably asking too much.

29 comments on “Autonomy.”

  1. Sabine 1

    just think about it.

    women have to fight and to get votes passed to have bodily autonomy, and at any time could loose it again by the stroke of a pen wielded by some men in suits, men in robes, and the women who support them.

    Its about high time that irrespective of ‘hinderland’ or progressive ideal land society admits that women do not have rights by way of being human, we have rights only because we fight or them.
    And in the year 2018 we still have to fight for the right to not die of a pregnancy gone septic – as was the case in in Ireland which in particular helped along this vote.
    And here as in the states as in Ireland and elsewhere we have people that also would in a heartbeat reduce women to chattel and breeding sows whose value only depend on how many litters she can push out before her uterus or her body gives up.

    May she rest in peace, may her family find solace in this ‘vote’, may no other women in Ireland will die because Doctors rather watch a women die then risk going to prison for providing necessary lifesaving medical care to an women (incubator without value) – cause only the unborn matters.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/26/savita-halappanavar-father-thanks-irish-voters-for-historic-abortion-vote

    Abortion on demand – YES!

    • adam 1.1

      When we have a section of society who do not think of women as human beings, then we will continue to have problems.

      Ireland once again takes a stand on the issue of women. I like the numbers and spread of votes as well.

      https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/analysis/todays-result-will-prompt-much-soul-searching-among-the-political-classes-845296.html

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        when we have people who on grounds of superstition and religion refuse to see women as anything else then chattel, property of the ‘father’ husband’ ‘other penis carrying family members’ and her ‘fruit of the loins’ to be property of her ‘ husband’ or ‘inseminator’ then you have women dying because of lack of female healthcare but mainly because of lack of human rights.

        And this is happening in many countries, Ireland just one of them.

        The political classes don’t soul search, they poll and do what is expedient. Its the religionists of all colors and creeds that need to ask themselves if the women are brood mares or humans.

        .

        • adam 1.1.1.1

          It’s not just health care, it’s health research as well – or the utter lack of it for women’s health.

          I’d argue that fundamentalist of all creeds are a blight. And your giving into fundamentalism when you think of women as anything less than human. Your giving up on humanity.

        • Bill 1.1.1.2

          I don’t know the ins and outs of why the UK’s 1967 legislation on abortion excluded Northern Ireland. But I think it safe to say, off the back of that, that there are reasons in addition to “superstition and religion” that will be used to justify the denial of a woman the right to her own body.

          • Philip Ferguson 1.1.1.2.1

            Although the Unionists in the north-east of Ireland like to bang on about being British they have never wanted certain British laws. Neither the abortion nor homosexual law reform legislation was extended to the six counties and no was gay marriage.

            Sinn Fein has tried unsuccessfully to get gay marriage passed in the north due to the hostility of the Unionist parties. They also campaigned for a Yes vote to repeal the 8th amendment in the south.

            In the north the balance of political forces is changing all the time so gay marriage will come there, it’s just a question of when.

            • Bill 1.1.1.2.1.1

              I guess my question is about how N. Ireland managed to be an exception to the ’67 legislation.

              Also curious about you saying Sinn Fein campaigned for a “yes” vote in the south, in light of the fact they’re maintaining their anti-abortion policy in the north (at least for now).

    • dukeofurl 1.2

      No . Its not abortion on demand in Ireland from the referendum.

      It merely brings them up to the point we in NZ came to in the 1970s. Thats isnt a womens choice either.

      The actual details of the proposed Irish law:
      “there is a risk to the health of a woman, on assessment by two doctors, without a distinction between physical and mental health”

      Good luck to finding TWO doctors in plenty of places in rural Ireland.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-sixth_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_Bill_2018

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1

        That, and you have a month-and-a-half to request an abortion if you use a pregnancy test at the first time it’s likely to be effective- two weeks after the first missed period. There’s definitely a percentage of women who won’t know they’re pregnant within that time- hell, about 1/2500 women have cryptic pregnancies and don’t even notice their condition until they give birth. This is a reform, but it’s not feminists getting everything they want, it’s more like getting the bare minimum. (to be fair, this may be part of why it was quite popular with everyone under 65, because everyone knew it was asking for comparatively little. Hopefully the legislation will be liberalized over time)

        This is more of a beginning than an end for Ireland, but it’s a beginning that has shown conclusively that it’s a serious secular democracy and that it intends to keep up with the rest of the EU.

  2. greywarshark 2

    Basically it has advanced those Irish women into ‘person’ status from being female animal. It gives respect to women as being progenitors who are the source of fertility inherent in their bodies caused genetically. They are respected and recognised as being vulnerable to this genetic process which relates to the other genetic effect arising from sexuality and attraction to certain others.

    And it endows them as important as individuals who have adult lives, and their fertilised eggs are not equal in rights to the maternal matrix. Previously in Ireland sometimes the foetus or baby has been given superior rights to the mother. This change of law takes motherhood seriously; it is a demanding and lengthy regimen not to be undertaken lightly as it is vital that it be carried out well for a good outcome. To result in a happy child, strong in values and love, and wise to the good and bad inherent in themselves and in the world constant concern that encourages growth in mind, body and wisdom of the child, building capability in coping away from home, and being there to return and belong to.

    It is a task that is all-encompassing and not one to be forced on a woman but it is taken for granted frequently by a demanding but neglectful or authoritarian society.

  3. Bill 3

    @ Sabine and greywarshark.

    You’re comments suggest you believe that all Ireland’s women have won rights. But about 1/3rd of Irish women will not have the rights that have been secured through the referendum/vote.

    Approximately one million Irish women…today, tomorrow and next year…. face a possible life sentence if they have an abortion.

    • Sabine 3.1

      Bill, somehow you managed to utterly misunderstand my comment.

      women the world over face death if they don’t have an abortion be it because its an unwanted pregnancy, be it because they miscarriage and the body has not fully expelled the fetus, be it of other complications..
      in some South American countries women are jailed for life if they have a miscarriage – because Dr. are afraid to loose their lisence so they report these women to the police.
      in the United states the orange menace and his enablers are in the process of establishing the global gag rule of never even mentioning abortion at home.
      in Texas women die because they can’t receive pre-post natal health care because there are no clinics that would provide such services.
      in russia domestic violence is only domestic violence if the women needs to go to the hospital for ‘mending’.

      Ireland today is not a day for celebration, it should be a world wide day of shame.

      the only reason this vote came about is literally because a women who miscarried was refused necessary lifesaving clinical help – in a University Hospital !! – because Doctors were a. to catholic to be human, or b. to fucking scared to go to prison, so they let a women die of rotting fetus in her corpse causing sepsis.

      This vote might have given some women the right to not die of pregnancy, but it is still a day of shame.

      Think of this, a Dr. is afraid to go to prison, the women is afraid to die.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        I don’t think I misunderstood your comment. I was merely noting you (and greywarshark) used the term “Ireland” in a way that might suggest all Irish women have access to abortion.

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      In practice not actually life, but still something they shouldnt have to undergo

      https://theconversation.com/northern-ireland-abortion-conviction-the-result-of-a-draconian-archaic-law-57295

      ‘ the woman was sentenced to a three-month jail term, suspended for two years.’ She was unable to afford travel to England and bought ‘abortion pills’ online.

      There was an attempt to change some aspects of the NI law in 2013 , but because of the devolved power sharing, even if there was a majority it could be blocked.
      At the last Stormont election the DUP only won 28 seats out of 90. Down 10. The government is in abeyance due to deadlock between DUP and Sinn Fein

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-21755507

  4. adam 4

    Is it just me or is Northern Ireland looking more more like a experiment in male egos?

    Seriously, the guns, the brotherhood, the killing, the whole macho bullshit is just OTT in the place.

    The fighting did not stop (slow down) till women stood up and said enough is enough

    https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/peace-people-march-against-violence-northern-ireland-1976

    It took a long time from that point.

    But still it’s a boy’s club. A retrograde boys club. And now the Kook’s are up holding a corrupt Tory government.

    • Bill 4.1

      Off the back of a single vote, Northern Ireland looks to have become the dark undertow of human affairs in western/northern Europe. (And just to reiterate because I think it’s important to keep saying it – N. Ireland is an integral part of the UK.)

      It’s as though the place, through its politicians, now epitomises the very milieu it belittled and condemned in relation to Eire and its cultural capture by the Roman Catholic Church.

      And thanks for the reminder of women’s crucial role in beginning the opposition to the violence of N. Ireland.

    • Actually, both the first minister (prime minister) and deputy first minister are women.

      The peace movement was a fraud and had no impact on longer-term politics. It fell apart in acrimonious bickering very quickly.

      The notiion that the conflict in the north was about male egos is bizarre. It sounds like somethihg the Tory press in Britain used to say.

      The armed struggle started because the British state shot the civil rights movement off the streets.

  5. Observer Tokoroa 5

    Women’s Autonomy

    Surely we do have to respect a Mother’s right to make her own decisions.

    That obviously should extend to the Father too – I would suggest.

    One of the sad trends in New Zealand is that Born children are murdered horrendously by their parents in shocking numbers. Many more are dumped on grand parents.

    I somehow doubt that “Autonomy” is a good word. Not long ago Life use to be a lot more Sacred and a lot more Safe.

    At times things are difficult. I know that. But it is not silly to be careful – and caring. I think.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Don’t fall to the nostalgia myth. Life used to be a lot more Sacred and a lot more Safe. One year way back perhaps. We did have the idea that having full time jobs that enabled workers to have a life, though there was still violence etc.
      But if the effort was made it would have been easier to break through the easy party, sexual thing. Now there is too much time off the job and in the pub and no planned future.

      • Observer Tokoroa 5.1.1

        Why do we accept Capitalists ?

        It probably sounds very silly to you Greywarshark, but it is not rugby or a new car that is the most important thing in family life. It is The Mother, The Father and The Child.

        The Capitalists do not seem to understand this. So they underpay workers. They enforce exorbitant Rents. They don’t boost, they enslave. They use every means to make families struggle. They wipe the faces of the middle class with oily rags and excrement.

        The Media and the Clergy and the Seniors in our Society just shuffle along as if everything is absolutely wonderful in their fogged up world.

  6. Philip Ferguson 6

    The south of Ireland is actually one of the most porogressive places in the world and Dublin is one of the most politically advanced cities in the world.

    This was a stunning victory as the socially reactionary forces threw everything they had into defence of the 8th amendment.

    Coming on top of the same-sex marriage referendum of 2015, this is huge.

    In the big working class areas of Dublin the ‘Yes’ vote was massive, just as it was in support of gay marriage rights. In Stoneybatter, for instance, the Yes vote was 92%.

    Here’s an interview I did a few days before the referendum with veteran working class activist Cat Inglis: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/irelands-abortion-referendum-interview-with-eirigi-activist-cat-inglis/

  7. Venezia 7

    Interesting to read your childhood memories of attitudes about Eire Bill. In my case, here in NZ, with Irish grandparents and a catholic education I learned that Eire was the land of Saints and Scholars. It was an education rich in the literature of Irish writers and poets, music (traditional, classical & church) and dance from the historical past, empathy for the underdog, and a sense of humour second to none. It was only as an adult I realised the downside to church capture.
    To Philip F – it is great to read your posts about the past and current situation in Eire. I will check out Redline more often.

  8. Sans Cle 8

    Sorry Bill, but your cultural bias and stereotyping are horrific in above post.
    Your writing angered me, as it’s another example of a male feeling entitled to drivel on, with faux authority (given your ‘expert’ judgement from living in a different jurisdiction…not even in Ireland or Northern Ireland!!) about a subject you clearly have very little understanding of.
    Please stop the stereotyping. Please read a little more into the issues.
    Please learn a little about Savita Halappanavar and the other TFMR women who acted as a catalyst and played a critical role in repealing the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution….on behalf of long suffering Irish women, who have been denied the right to choose.

    • Bill 8.1

      Yes Sans Cle, the “cultural bias and stereotyping” of Ireland within Britain is “horrific”.

      Nice attempt at …something or other on your part.

      You “get” that 1 000 000 Irish women still do not have access to abortion, have to travel ‘over the water’ to have one performed, and can’t get it done on the NHS, yes?

      (There was something around Scotland’s First Minister looking to provide women from Ireland access to the NHS in Scotland, but I don’t know what came of it. As you say “more reading” – or remembering.)

      • Sans Cle 8.1.1

        Unfortunately Bill I know all too well the situation in Ireland, from personal experience (as a young woman, having had to prove I was not pregnant before each administration of life saving medication over numerous months, as the medication had potential to damage a foetus). That involved the indignity of such scrutiny that men do not have to endure. So yes, I get angry when men comment with little understanding of the issues women face.
        As for your post. I think your point was “Yay, let’s celebrate change to women’s choice in Ireland…..wait up…conditions are not so good for women in Northern Ireland, let’s not forget them”.
        Well and Good.
        Instead of making that salient point, you introduced your cultural biases, which irritated me, and prompted me to respond. “Erin” is not really used to describe Ireland, there is Northern Ireland and Ireland (or the Republic of Ireland). Your introduction “I don’t want to upset any Irish people who might be reading this” is knowingly writing something ill-conceived. A lot like saying “I’m not a racist but…..”. You made the statement “Ireland was a tad backwards and Irish people were suspect”…as if that is a matter of fact. I would disagree. Another derogatory reference to lack of condoms, which was true up to 40 years ago. Not in any recent time.
        So forgive me….your sentiment of compassion for Northern Irish women is laudible, but your delivery “Galled” me (pun intended, for any Gaeilgeoir reading this).

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          I’m sorry the way I presented the post, and/or failed in terms of being explicit with my argument upset you.

          I thought an indication of the fairly ubiquitous bias expressed towards Ireland throughout mainland Britain (and that I was subjected to growing up and rejected) was pertinent given the ‘superior’ tone of some English media on the referendum – especially when set against the fact that 1 million Irish women who are British citizens are still subject to laws drawn up in the 1800s that deny access to abortion.

          I don’t think I was commenting or driveling on any subject I may have very little understanding of. I made no presumption about, and made no comment on any personal experiences of any Irish women navigating unwanted pregnancy or the medical profession.

  9. Richard@Downsouth 9

    Meanwhile the US is going backwards, with a lot of small and frequent attacks of women’s rights (and many other rights), with Iowa passing the most restrictive law on abortion currently in the USA:

    “The general assembly, which has a Republican Party majority, has approved a bill banning most abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected.”

    This means many women would be denied a chance at an abortion due to not knowing they are pregnant. Abortion was settled at Federal level by Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and greatly upset the ‘Conservatives’, especially the Christian right

    Trump has threatened the Federal funding of Family Planning, because they provide safe abortions, but not using Federal Funds, and it is less than 1% of what they do… and now 7 US states only have 1 abortion clinic…

    We know from prohibition that stopping access to safe abortions just leads to ‘back alley’ abortions, and yet in the USA, many politicians seem hell bent on not even providing quality sex education, and access to birth control

  10. AB 10

    I know what you mean Bill
    My father was very decent man, but for a long period his Anglophilia could only be sustained by imagining the republican Irish to be some bunch of uncouth, violent and superstitious papists who did not see or appreciate the superiority of English/Anglo Saxon/Protestant culture and history.
    To his credit he abandoned this view late in life. I like to think my assertion that Yeats was vastly superior to Tennyson helped in that, but it probably didn’t.

  11. Jum 11

    US is also threatening the health and freedom of women in other countries that rely on that health support from US.

    Those health service organisations which are linked with programs that support women to have an abortion have been required to ban abortions (?and contraception?) in order to keep US aid for their other services. It is an impossible situation US has put them in, given the grinding poverty, the sexual violence, etc. endemic in some of those countries.

    So, Trump and his shadow advisers are therefore responsible for endangering women’s health outcomes in other countries; therefore, who knows what pressure US will put NZ under to prevent our women having control over their own health given the opportunity?

    National, if it got back in, would probably side with Trump. New Zealand women seem to think they are safe from this theft of their personal rights. That would be a risky belief.

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