A woman who went on a hunger strike after being denied an abortion at eight weeks has been forced by the Irish government to unwillingly undergo a C-section at just 25 weeks' gestation. And then her baby was taken away from her. Woooo! Pro life!
According to the Guardian, the egregious and horrifying violation of the woman's rights began early in her pregnancy, when, at only eight weeks, she requested a medical abortion because she was suicidal. Despite Ireland's draconian anti-abortion restrictions, a 2013 law called The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was designed to allow women with serious physical and mental issues — issues like the one facing the woman Irish law requires remain anonymous — the option of obtaining a legal abortion. But critics of the law pointed out that it required women to jump through an absurd number of hoops; women who needed abortions in Ireland would need approval from "up to seven experts."
The anonymous woman at the center of the case went on a hunger strike after being denied the procedure. The state essentially forced her to remain pregnant until she was at 25 weeks' gestation, where a court order then forced her to undergo a surgical procedure to have her premature fetus removed from her body and placed in protective custody. Further complicating matters is the fact that the woman is an immigrant to Ireland doesn't speak English well, which made it more difficult for her to ask for what she needed or explore other options (many Irish women who need abortions and are physically and fiscally able to travel end up going to the UK).
Pro-choice groups in Ireland (which sounds like a Sisyphean task) plan on passing their concerns about the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act on to the United Nations.
Lawyers For Choice has made a submission to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on what it sees as major flaws in the new abortion legislation.
The legal document notes that "in those limited circumstances in which abortion is permitted, it is state doctors and not women who are gatekeepers to abortion. In all other circumstances state law effectively reinforces an array of social and economic burdens to punish women who seek to terminate their pregnancies."
The UN has already rebuked the heavily-Catholic Ireland over its treatment of pregnant women, and public pressure on the country to change its ways intensified after death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, a 17-weeks pregnant woman who in 2012 was denied a therapeutic abortion in an Irish hospital and consequently died of blood poisoning.
Meanwhile, opponents of abortion in Ireland continue to claim theirs is a "pro human rights" argument. Ostensibly with a straight face.
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