Weekly Roundup: One year of Marie Stopes in Belfast; EU rejects proposal to rule abortion access a human right.

Welcome to another Weekly Roundup, where each week our media team highlights how abortion is discussed at home and abroad. This week saw the aftermath of the HIQA report into Savita Halappanavar’s death last year, the anniversary of Marie Stopes opening in Belfast, and talks of new abortion guidelines in Northern Ireland. Also, the EU rejected a proposal to rule abortion access a human right, and one Fine Gael TD faces exclusion for his support of this summer’s abortion legislation.

Savita: Reports and Reviews

Earlier this month, the Health Information and Quality Agency (HIQA) published a 250-page report into Savita Halappanavar’s death. The Irish Independent’s review of this report goes through its major findings- that there were 13 points at which Savita’s medical team missed opportunities to act to prevent her death. Entirely missing from the HIQA report, though, was any reference to the effect of Ireland’s abortion law on her care.

According to TheJournal, in response to the HIQA report, The West/North West Hospital Group will be reviewing the actions of all staff involved, and implementing HIQA’s recommendations. They have also apologised to Ms Halappanavar’s family.

The Times of India spoke to Kitty Holland in advance of the publication of her book, ‘Savita: the Tragedy that Shook a Nation”. In this interview, Holland discussed the context surrounding Halappanavar being denied a termination, how this has affected Ireland, and the unanswered questions surrounding her death.

Marie Stopes NI’s first anniversary

This week marked one year since Marie Stopes opened their doors as the first independent clinic to provide abortion services in Northern Ireland. Finola Meredith from the Belfast Telegraph visited the clinic on their anniversary. She described being accosted by sign-waving protesters saying that she was  “pursued along the street by a young woman who repeatedly cut across my path, continuing to do so even when I told her to desist” she also described the calm, supportive environment inside the clinic. Abortion is only a small part of the services Marie Stopes provide in Belfast- particularly given Northern Ireland’s extremely restrictive abortion laws- and they also provide a wide variety of reproductive health services, as well as operating a 24-hour helpline.

Changing Guidelines in Northern Ireland?

The Northern Irish Department of Health are in the process revising their guidelines on abortion, according to the Irish Times. Currently abortion is only legal in NI where the pregnant person’s life or heath are at risk, but debates on expanding these criteria have been raging after several Northern Irish women came forward in the past month to share their stories of having to travel for terminations after receiving diagnoses of fatal fetal abnormalities. The Belfast Telegraph have discussed how current abortion laws affect women seeking unrelated pregnancy care such as prenatal testing, as well as calling for nuanced conversation on the complex realities within which people seek abortions.

Europe: Abortion is not a human right?

A report last month published by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, which would have declared access to abortion a human right, has been rejected by the European Parliament, according to Newstalk. The report pointed out the massive disparities in abortion access- as well as access to other basic reproductive rights- throughout the EU. In a disappointing result, eight out of 12 Irish MEPs voted against the proposal which, among other things, called on member countries not to prevent pregnant people from travelling to access abortions outside their borders.

A Eucharistic Matter

A Fine Gael TD has been ordered by his priest to cease helping with communion in his local church due to his having supported the Life During Pregnancy Bill, according to the Irish Independent. Derek Keating, who was forced out of his home by anti-choice activists banging on his doors and windows earlier this summer, was accused by another priest in his constituency of being part of a “Nazi regime”, due to his support for the abortion legislation.


Want to show your support for the Abortion Rights Campaign? Have books, magazines, music or DVDs cluttering up your shelves? Come along to our Book, Zine and Music Swap this Sunday in the Generator Hostel, Dublin. It’s a mere fiver in, and any items left over at the end of the day will be donated to charity.

This Monday marks one year since the tragic passing of Savita Halappanavar. Please join with us for a candlelit vigil to pay our respects, gathering at Stephen’s Green at 6pm.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments about any other articles, posts, news and, of course, events that we should know about. Till next week!