The following article based on an interview with Anne Conway, founder member of the Campaign against Church Ownership of Women’s Healthcare, was first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland)
DUBLIN – NO CHURCH INVOLVEMENT IN THE NATIONAL MATERNITY HOSPITAL
Anne Conway a founding member of the Campaign against Church Ownership of Women’s Healthcare says the campaign message from the Rally at the Dáil on 26th June to Minister Donnelly and the government must be clear. They have no mandate to continue meaningless negotiations which have dragged on for over eight years with the Sisters of Charity on building the new NMH at the St Vincent’s campus. Nor with the hypocrisy we have heard from successive health ministers Harris and now Donnelly, who were claiming until this week, that ‘any medical procedure which is in accordance with the laws of the land’ will be carried out in the new NMH.
Why would we believe this when we know there is not a Catholic controlled hospital in the world that performs abortions. The nuns and their corporate allies want us to believe they are prepared to allow abortions in a hospital built on what will remain their land or let abortions occur in a hospital group in which they are the main shareholders?
This week, the SVHG issued a statement confirming that the shareholders of the group – the Sisters of Charity – will not sell the land to the State and that all reproductive health procedures are being carried out at their hospital group and “for delivery of integrated patient care on the Elm Park Campus, St Vincent’s Hospital Group must retain ownership of the site”. This shows the nuns cynical intentions all along and is a direct challenge to the government’s recent acknowledgement of the necessity of owning the site. The claim that they provide abortion, tubal ligation, etc is nothing short of delusional. Dr Peter Boylan said on reading it, “I cannot have been the only doctor in Ireland whose jaw dropped reading that”
The litany of abuse the Religious Sisters of Charity have presided over is horrendous. They ran the Magdalene Laundries where women were enslaved and brutalized, babies kidnapped from their mothers and sold, children used as guinea pigs in drug trials. This order committed crimes against humanity, and they should be tried for these crimes, not rewarded with the gift of the new 800 million maternity hospital.
We know we are up against powerful forces, but we know also the public who voted overwhelmingly for repeal of the ban on abortion are on our side and an outraged people will not stand for the Sisters of Charity being rewarded with a state of the art publicly funded hospital after all the abuse they have committed.
For politicians who have not yet had the courage to support the basic demand of a public hospital paid for with public money to be run under public control, we call on you to represent what your constituents voted for. They voted for choice. In particular, the Green party cannot be allowed to hide behind their ‘liberal’ image, this must be made a red line issue for them to remain in government. A refusal to support this basic position makes a MOCKERY of the people’s vote on repeal and is an insult to the abuse survivors.
We are on a path to Separate Church and State. We must force the Government to get out of the negotiations now with the nuns. Either take the site for the hospital into public ownership, expropriate it – or build the NMH on a new site and run it as is befitting to a modern democratic state that we are supposed to live in. We will not be fobbed off by anything less than full public ownership and control with no religious influence and for an end to a two-tier health.-
This article first appeared at:-
1. The Irish state, the Catholic Church and the new abortion law – Socialist Democracy (Ireland)
2. The 8th amendment referendum – Socialist Democracy (Ireland)
3. The struggle for abortion rights in Ireland – Socialist Democracy (Ireland)
4. Abortion abstention at Stormont – What is it that makes Sinn Fein a left party? – Socialist Democracy (Ireland)
5. Stormont pushes back against abortion – Socialist Democracy (Ireland)