I will try to address some of the broader questions and, as she is the legal expert among the three of us, I will hand over to Ms Zampas, who will deal with some of the more drilled-down legal questions.
In the spirit of open acknowledgement of how slowly many of us have come to this debate, and given what Deputy Ó Caoláin said in responding to Deputy Daly's comments, I should acknowledge that Amnesty in Ireland has been an outlier within Amnesty International on this issue. When our global movement adopted this policy position in 2007, Amnesty International in Ireland voted against it. When it was adopted we accepted that was the position of our international movement, but our members made it clear that we would not work on this issue at that point. We have been on our own journey on this as well.
Amnesty International's position on access to abortion as adopted in 2007 was not a particularly progressive position. We have elaborated on and moved that position forward in significant ways since that time.
We are a part of all of that. One of the important statements that Amnesty Ireland needs to make is that, as members of Amnesty International who work with the organisation in Ireland, we are part of a society that has been described by former Ministers for Health at various times as pathologically incapable of having a rational, objective conversation about an issue like abortion. We need to own this. It references much of what Deputy Kelleher discussed.
I wish to address a question that he also raised about the case of Savita Halappanavar. Ms Zampas might discuss this matter. As all of the reports established, Savita's death was the result of medical negligence. However, we are clear in our view that, if Ireland had had a human rights-compliant framework of abortion in law and in practice, Savita Halappanavar could have been alive today. The issues that led to the grave risk to her life and that resulted in medical negligence becoming a factor would likely not have arisen had she been granted a termination at the point when she requested it and when it was clear that she was experiencing an inevitable miscarriage. It is worth pointing out that her death moved public opinion. It also empowered public opinion to be articulated in a way that it had not been previously.
This morning, it was sobering to hear Dr. Mahony make it clear in her presentation when we launched the report that the Act did not address the circumstances surrounding Savita's death. I am sure that Ms Zampas will discuss cases. One case mentioned in the report arose three months after Savita died in the same hospital and involved the same circumstances. Many medical experts gave information as part of the research to make it very clear to us that we are still, as Dr. Mahony stated this morning and as Senator Crown, with his expertise, would speak to, playing medical roulette with women's lives and health. Doctors are forced to sit back and not intervene. They can see that a woman will inevitably become ill, then seriously ill and finally gravely ill, but they must wait for the moment in which they can make a determination of a real and substantial risk to her life. As Dr. Mahony asked, does that mean a 10%, 20%, 50% or 80% chance of death? All the time, the doctors must remember that, if they act and a clinical view is arrived at in future that there was not a real and substantial risk, the woman and the practitioner will face up to 14 years in prison. We are still operating in this context.
We must be clear about what we are saying about Savita's case, but we must baldly state that it is likely that she would still be alive if Ireland had had a human rights-compliant framework for abortion at the time that she presented at the hospital in Galway.
On the question of what would replace the current set-up and how to carry the debate forward, I noted Deputy Doherty's comments about some of the comments being made because we have published this report, for example, presenting Amnesty as a pro-abortion lobby group. I will ask those who respond in that way to read the report and to engage with the testimony, evidence and research presented therein. We are not going to engage in a vitriolic shouting match with those who may have previously created a heat around this debate that has caused all of us to run away from it since. The human rights violations that we have identified in this research require that we do not do so. I am encouraged by the nature of how this debate has developed politically and the responses that we have received from the committee at this meeting on the clear need for this debate.
Let us be clear. This is a controversial, complex and difficult issue. In Ireland, our major difficulty is our fear of how this debate went previously rather than of where we might go in the conversation. We have been frightened and cowed out of having the conversation because of the heat and vitriol that often accompanies it. As executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, I want to make it clear that Amnesty will be a part of ensuring that we have this conversation. We will not be shouted down or intimidated away from it. The lives and human rights of the women and girls who spoke to us and of those who will face grave violations as a consequence of Ireland's law on abortion require that we do so. We are a human rights organisation. We are not a lobby group or a pro-abortion group. Unless those who would present that view also want to accuse all of the treaty monitoring bodies of the United Nations of being pro-abortion lobby groups, their position on this point has little depth or merit.
As everyone has mentioned, opinion in Ireland seems to be strongly on board with the minimal obligations required by international human rights standards, which were adopted and written by states and legislators and are binding. We are asking states, including Ireland, to respect those obligations.
I will ask Ms Zampas to answer the question on severe and fatal foetal impairment, as it was an important one that we want to address properly.
To answer Deputy Daly, Ireland is the only country in Europe that features in the My Body My Rights campaign. We agree with Deputy Shatter, the former Minister for Justice and Equality, that gender discrimination is at the heart of the violations that are under discussion. We believe that Ireland is outsourcing its human rights obligations, which is unacceptable.
The other country that we examined in respect of this issue is El Salvador. I was there last September for the launch of a similar report. In some ways, El Salvador is Ireland without access to England - that is unless women have money. Its abortion law is even stricter, with abortion banned in all circumstances, including risk to life. Poor, rural and, often, young women experience the impacts of El Salvador's approach whereas those who have money travel.
We agree with Deputy Conway that nothing can happen until after we have repealed the eighth amendment, which is why that forms one of our overarching recommendations. On the broader question of the political process that needs to happen, though, that is a matter for legislators. We are available to support and inform the process in any way that legislators believe is appropriate. We will be a part of the public debate that must follow to support the work that legislators will need to do. It makes obvious sense that, in tabling a proposal to amend the Constitution, legislators need to be clear about its impacts. It seems sensible to suggest that a clear framework be decided, developed and delivered. Consistent with international human rights law, Amnesty's position is that abortion should be decriminalised and instead addressed through the civil code and medical regulation. This is a discussion that we might develop at some point.
I was struck by Deputy Conway's comment about how, as a young woman, she had a particular interest in this. I recently made the point - others have made it also - that there are few people directly affected by the eighth amendment who voted on it. Those most affected by it have never had their say. This is something that we need to address.
I appreciated Senator Crown's input. I will hand over to Ms Zampas so that she can deal with his question on how and where states should begin providing protection for prenatal life.
To be clear, I understood that Senator van Turnhout was referring to the situation of children in the care of the State who found themselves in crisis pregnancies. Our understanding is that there are circumstances in which the State provides for children in care to travel to access terminations.