Cathie Shiels, Workers’ Party representative in Ballymun-Finglas said she was ‘Infuriated, but not surprised’ to find out today that the contraceptive pill can be taken every day of the month.
Speaking today she said:
“It turns out that the man who invented the pill, a Catholic gynaecologist, thought that if he imitated a woman’s natural cycle, the Pope would be more inclined to accept it.
However the encyclical Humanae Vitae, written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 enshrined the ban on contraception all the same. It is frustrating that this unnecessary 7 day break, introduced to pacify a Pope who is now long dead was maintained.
“The combined pill has been taken over the last 60 years by women seeking to limit the size of their family. Who knows how many unintended pregnancies could have been avoided were it not for this arbitrary and scientifically unnecessary seven day break?”
“We have decades of evidence in Ireland that Catholic teaching has had a corrosive influence on women’s sexual and reproductive health in Ireland and globally.
Symphyisotomy was carried out in Ireland 100 years after the practice was essentially banned in France. Contraception wasn’t available over the counter until 1993, and the morning after pill wasn’t available over the counter until 2011. Abortion to save a woman’s life was only legislated for in 2013. And even today a woman is being forced to consider a termination overseas because of the limitations of our new abortion legislation.
“This constant deferral to the Roman Catholic Church on issues concerning reproduction and contraception has got to stop. It’s obscene to think that the Roman Catholic Church, with it’s hierarchy of men who do not, and cannot understand the intimate workings of family life – be consulted at all about issues of contraception and reproduction.”
The Workers’ Party representative concluded by calling for the Minister for Health to refrain from handing the new National Maternity Hospital to a religious order:
“This latest revelation about the interference of Catholic thinking in women’s healthcare should serve as a warning to those who would see our Maternity Hospital owned, and therefore ultimately controlled, by any organisation with a religious ethos. How can we trust that the new maternity hospital will be run in a secular fashion when it’s taken 60 years to learn the truth about how our contraception works? In who’s best interest was this kept a secret? Certainly not the best interest of women, or their families.
“I am calling on Minister Simon Harris to immediately rescind agreements that the National Maternity Hospital be placed in the ownership of any organisation other than the state.”