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"Bill to End Maternity Restrictions to be Introduced in Dáil Today" - Tóibín

 

 

The Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has revealed that his party's Bill to end restrictions around maternity care will be introduced in the Dáil today at approximately 1pm, to coincide with the #BetterMaternityCare March which will take place outside the Dáil today. 

 

 

Speaking in advance of the formal introduction of the Maternity Care (Covid-19) Bill 2021, Deputy Tóibín said:

 

 

"The restrictions around maternity services are cruel and inhumane. Recently we've seen government ministers express criticism of the restrictions while suggesting that there is nothing further the Health Minister can do and that the power lays with individual hospitals. Any suggestion that the Minister cannot do more on this issue is grossly misleading. Aontú are now offering the government a chance to tackle this issue by way of legislation - Aontú's Bill, if passed, will ensure that mothers receiving maternity care may be accompanied in hospital during childbirth and on occasions prior and subsequent to the birth by a partner of their choosing".

 

 

Deputy Tóibín continued: "Last year a number of emails were released to me by the Department of Health under Freedom of Information. These were a selection of emails sent to the Minister from women who had experienced pregnancy during the pandemic, and they are heartbreaking emails. One woman recounted her experience in an email to the Minister; "I had to sit in a room alone to be told that my baby had died. I was sent from this room alone reeling from what I had just heard to sit on a busy ward corridor sobbing alone. This is simply unacceptable. At no point was allowed to have my husband present to provide any sort of comfort".

 

 

Deputy Tóibín added: "We would urge everyone who is concerned about this issue to contact their local TDs and ask them to support Aontú's Bill and end these inhumane restrictions for once and for all. There is something deeply wrong with our system or policies if women are reporting 'cold' experiences of childbirth in our maternity hospitals. The voices of pregnant women must be listened to. I am hopeful that the government will support my Bill - I fail to understand how anyone who has read these distressing emails could possibly vote against my proposal", concluded Tóibín.

 

ENDs

 

 

NB: See extracts from emails which were released to Aontú under the Freedom of Information Act some months ago. See copy of Maternity Bill attached. 

 

 

 

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Record number 23:

 

Email to Stephen Donnelly dated 7th September 2020

 

“I had the misfortune to experience a miscarriage in the last number of weeks and while I understand the complex nature of dealing with health services during a global pandemic the conditions at , are simply unacceptable. I would firstly like to highlight the fact that your government deems it appropriate for groups of up to six to socialize together in an establishment but a woman at her most vulnerable is not allowed to have a birthing partner present while she delivers, nevermind the countless women who, like I, receive bad news across our maternity services alone. I am one of those women. A woman of this country who had the need to access maternity services at an extremely difficult time alone. I had to face the prospect of being told that my baby had died alone. I had to sit in a room alone to be told that my baby had died. I was sent from this room alone reeling from what I had just heard to sit on a busy ward corridor sobbing alone. This is simply unacceptable. At no point was allowed to have my husband present to provide any sort of comfort. I sat for hours alone and broken in one of your maternity hospitals. Not a single person to offer me the comfort I craved and needed”.

 

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Record number 21:

 

Email to Stephen Donnelly dated 7th September 2020

 

“. It is absolutely infuriating to think I can go for a drink in a pub with my partner, go to a friends house with my partner for a visit, go to mass with my partner, even travel abroad to another country with my partner and both continue to go to work but I cannot have my partner with me when I give birth, arguably during one of the most frightening experiences I'll have to date”.

 

 

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Record number 15:

 

Email to Stephen Donnelly dated 5th October 2020

 

“I myself am currently receiving fertility treatment having had two failed pregnancies last year, one of which resulted in surgical intervention. I could not imagine what it would have been like going for my first scan without my husband when the monitor turned dark and the midwife told me there was no heartbeat. It is an unexpected and earth-shattering experience that no woman should have to go through alone and it is a scandal of our time that women are, as we speak, being forced to endure this.”

 

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Record 11:

 

Email to Taoiseach 28th September 2020:

 

“My wife and I have experienced 9 miscarriages in the past 6 years and my wife is in early pregnancy at the moment. While this is great news and we are delighted we are also really nervous and anxious due to our history…”

 

 

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Record 5:

 

Email to Ronan Glynn and Stephen Donnelly, 30th September 2020:

 

“I am writing to express my concern regarding the restrictions in place in hospitals for pregnant and newly postpartum women. The restrictions in place force women to attend scans and care for a newborn baby alone. Giving birth is a natural process but it can be incredibly painful and traumatic. Exhausted mothers with freshly stitched vaginal or c-section wounds are trying to get out of bed to tend to their baby when in many cases they would have had the help of a partner or family member. Women are attending scans alone and some are receiving devastating news that there is no longer a foetal heartbeat or the baby has a health condition. Furthermore, the midwifery staff are being put under increased pressure to provide additional support for these women which in many cases they do not have the workforce capacity to do. I am deeply concerned for these women and I think their needs and rights have been underestimated”.

 

 

 

 

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Record 9:

Email to Stephen Donnelly, 2nd October 2020:

 

“I’ll start by telling you that I am currently pregnant on my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, which I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, was a very stressful and traumatic experience. Thankfully, I had the support of my partner and my mother when I found out this awful news. Without that support, I don’t know how I would have coped. Now, my heart breaks for anyone who has had to hear those words alone due to the restrictions. When I found out I was pregnant in I was over the moon, but was then suddenly faced by the reality of how alone I would be for this pregnancy. Due to my history, I was lucky enough to be given an early scan, I can’t describe the anxiety and fear I felt before and on the day of this scan. I knew I was going alone, which made me feel even more anxious- just as the thousands of other women in my situation have been feeling, I’m sure. Thankfully, everything was fine. I could relay this information to my partner.. on the phone. This was such a sad and disappointing feeling for him to miss out on seeing his unborn child for the first time. I then had my twelve week scan, alone. Again, stressed and anxious, I waited for my scan. This was followed by a booking appointment, where questions about the medical history of myself and my partner were asked. Which I find ridiculous as I believe my partner had every right to answer questions about his medical history for himself.”

 

By Aontú Press | 6 October, 2021



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