From 1925-1961, the Home, in Tuam, Ireland, was where thousands of unwed mothers and their “illegitimate” children were sent to pay a penance for their out-of-wedlock pregnancies in the form of indentured servitude overseen by Catholic nuns. Like the Magdalene Laundries, which were also run by the Catholic Church, the Home’s treatment of these women/girls and their babies was abusive, with moms and children often kept separate from each other and ostracized by the surrounding community. Now, five decades after the Home was shut down and destroyed, the remains of 800 hundred babies, the children of those women whose only crime was getting pregnant out of wedlock, have been discovered in a septic tank on the property. Keep reading »
Amanda Mellet, a 38-year-old Irishwoman, is filing a petition with the United Nations Human Rights Committee to challenge her country’s ban on abortion. In Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, abortion only recently became legal if it is necessary to save the mother’s life. In November 2011, a pregnant Mellet was devastated to find out that her fetus had Edward’s system, a fatal abnormality that causes mutations to the heart and other organs.
She was told that her daughter may not survive the pregnancy, and that if she did, she’d die shortly after birth. If Mellet carried her to term, she wouldn’t know until delivery whether she was even still alive. She and her husband decided that terminating the pregnancy was the most humane thing to do for her child, who, if born alive, would spend her only few hours on earth in a hopeless struggle for survival.
Her doctors, however, were legally unable to perform the abortion. Keep reading »
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Real talk: I sort of hate this holiday, if only because my neighborhood turns into a cesspool of green beer barf and discarded leprechaun hats. But what I do love is an Irish accent — sexy and adorable all at once. Here are 11 swoon-worthy Irish lads worth celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day…
On Tuesday, Ireland Senator Martin McAleese released a report on Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries, where 30,000 women and girls were enslaved in Catholic Church-run laundries between 1922-1996. (The Laundries actually existed since the 1700s, but the free state of Ireland was only established in 1922.) McAleese’s report specifically focused on uncovering the Irish State’s involvement in the Laundries and, as survivors have long claimed, found that, according to the Guardian, “the state and the Irish police force bore a major responsibility for sending the women there and failing to protect their rights as workers.”
Women and girls who were considered “troubled” or morally “fallen” — i.e. unwed mothers and girls who were deemed “loose” or wild — were sent against their will to the Church-run laundries to live and work, receiving no pay, no pension, and no protection. The McAleese report found that the women and girls were used as free labour and that the labour laws were repeatedly broken. Women and girls who died in the Laundries were often buried in unmarked graves. Babies born to the “Maggies” were taken from their mothers, often never seeing them again. The report detailed that a quarter of the women sent to the Laundries (for whom records exist) were sent by the state; that the state gave these laundries lucrative contracts but did not abide by fair wage clauses; and that the state was responsible for inspecting the laundries and thus allowed them to be run in manner that was illegal and amoral. Keep reading »
Thirty-one-year-old Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in October after she was repeatedly denied medical care while suffering a miscarriage.
Halappanavar, an Indian who lived and worked in Ireland with her husband, began miscarrying around October 24, 17 weeks into her her pregnancy. Her cervix had dilated, she was leaking amniotic fluid, and a doctor said the fetus would not survive outside her body. She had the “shakes,” was “shivering” and “vomiting” for several days. Halappanavar and her husband repeatedly asked to terminate the pregnancy, but the hospital refused, telling her “This is a Catholic country” and they could not perform an abortion so long as a fetal heartbeat was detectable. On October 28, Savita Halappanavar died of septicemia (blood poisoning) and E.coli ESBL.
Women in Ireland have had a right to an abortion if their life is at risk since 1992, after an Irish Supreme Court ruling. But today, Ireland’s Minister of Health announced the Irish government will introduce a new law to clarify specifically that abortions are legal when the life of the mother is at risk. However, the health of the mother will still not be reason enough for an Irish doctor to terminate a pregnancy. That is still unacceptable. Keep reading »
Earlier this week, the world reacted to the news that a hospital in Ireland refused medical care to a woman during her miscarriage and she eventually died from blood poisoning. Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, began slowly and painfully miscarrying at 17 weeks into her pregnancy, but University Hospital Galway refused to terminate the pregnancy because a fetal heartbeat could still be detected. Halappanavar and her husband, who are both Indian and Hindu, repeatedly asked for an abortion but were told no because Ireland is “a Catholic country.” Within days, the fetus died inside Halappanavar and was removed, but it was too late; she died soon after at age 31 from blood poisoning and E.coli ESBL. Keep reading »
I would truly love to be able to submit this piece with my name attached. However, as a young woman in modern Ireland, I feel it’s not possible due to the stigma and negativity attached to the subject matter.
A few weeks ago, 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist that had settled in Ireland with her family, went to hospital with back pain and was found to be miscarrying her child at 17 weeks. Her husband described how she requested several times over a three-day period to terminate the pregnancy given the pain she was in while miscarrying. Keep reading »