AIMS Ireland – why we marched for choice on Sept 28th

AIMS Ireland are an organisation committed to supporting all women in all choices in maternal health, autonomy for women, and evidence based care practices in issues surrounding maternity services. Maternal health/maternity services covers a wide spectrum of care and care options – from fertility, reproductive health, pregnancy, labour, birth, postpartum and beyond – some queries extending into physical complaints as the result of childbirth decades following the birth experience.

AIMS Ireland accept that there are times in which to maintain this commitment of support to women, some may feel disconnect. We also accept that taking a stand on a particular position, practice, incident can and will cause some fallout in some areas of support. However, AIMSI firmly believe that in order offer full support to women and campaign for improvements in maternity services, we must recognise all women in the right to autonomy of choice. The 8th Amendment affects all pregnant women – your birth choices, your right to accept or refuse a test or treatment, your right to individual assessment, your right to be pregnant or not.

* The issues of abortion and the 8th Amendment are intertwined with Irish maternity services. Immediately following the death of Savita Halappanavar , AIMSI held an emergency meeting to discuss our position. The majority felt that AIMSI must continue to support all women in choice and autonomy, not only in planned healthy pregnancies, but also where there are fatal foetal abnormalities, risk to life and health, and in terms of unplanned pregnancy, to continuing a pregnancy or to have access to safe legal abortion without travel.

* In spring, our position became heightened when a HSE draft consent policy was circulated the day before a VBAC woman, Mother A, was brought before an emergency sitting of the High Court to force a Caesarean Section. The Consent Policy for pregnant women directly cited the 8th amendment and deemed the High Court and Protective Services as appropriate action for pregnant women whom refuse medical recommendations. AIMSI have since had 5 more mothers come forward whom have been threatened with High Court or child protective services over their birth choices. In more than one instance, these threats have been carried out. The consent policy illustrates how the 8th Amendment takes away the rights of women to decide how or where they given birth – where they feel safest, what they decide to be best for themselves and their baby.

* AIMSI have spoke with other women who were left in limbo during miscarriage of an unviable pregnancy. One woman, in the same unit as Savita, was left over 2 weeks and eventually travelled to Spain to have a D&C.

* Informed consent continues to be an issue in Irish Maternity services – many women are cited ‘risk to baby’ as a reason why their right to informed choice/consent/refusal has not been respected.

AIMS Ireland have been fully transparent in our position.

* AIMSI have submitted two submissions to Oireachtas following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

  • The first was made in January 2013 to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Health on the expert group.
  • The second was made in May 2013 to the Oireachtas committee on the Protection of Life Bill 2013.

To aid transparency, AIMSI’s submissions were immediately published on AIMSI Facebook , Twitter, and were available on the Oireachtas website which we linked on numerous occasions through social media. These submissions are also available on our website to read here.

* AIMS Ireland made a presentation to the Home Birth Association Conference discussion the 8th Amendment and autonomy/choice

* AIMS Ireland have regularly discussed the 8th Amendment and Consent Policy in blog posts, on social media, and in articles.

* AIMS Ireland have also signed our name to several letters on the topic.

Other Queries on AIMS Ireland social media and membership:

AIMS Ireland Facebook:

There have been queries with regards to censorship – that AIMS Ireland will remove comments from Facebook discussion. Regular users of the AIMS Ireland Facebook page will know that AIMSI do not delete nor censor posts in discussion/debate.

AIMSI welcomes all discussion and debate from all positions from members and users of our Facebook page.

Users should feel free to express themselves, their opinions safely.

The only posts which are deleted are those which are advertising a product/course/class to women for profit.

Membership and voting rights:

There are 1800+ followers on the AIMS Ireland Facebook page. Membership is separate and vital in order to maintain the services AIMS Ireland offers to women. Paid membership is €20, or €10 for students. Paid members may avail of a closed members’ group and have a vote for committee roles and positions. Anyone who is currently paid to date has been added to the member group. Any new members who feel strongly about this issue and no longer wish to be AIMS Ireland members, please contact us for a refund.

Any further queries on this issue please contact

Thank You,

AIMS Ireland Team

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