Abortion information and illegal invoices from the NHS

gleeful

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The law is an ass, as they say.

We live in a country where it is illegal to distribute information on the cost of abortions abroad. The UCD Observer newspaper has had to scrap a publication because it printed prices for abortion services. The punishment is €4000 per involved person, apparently.

UCDSU Retracts Information about Abortion from Handbooks | University Observer

"The content on page 59 provided information about obtaining an abortion safely, specifically a price list for different clinics outside Ireland, and information about purchasing abortion pills online. Providing this information is in breach of the Abortion Information Act of 1995."

We also live in a country where the state, though the HSE, pays for abortions abroad for its citizens.

HSE have funded 6 simular abortions so far in the last year. | Janet.ie

"the HSE has funded the cost of an abortion in the UK for a woman whose baby had serious congenital abnormalities that were incompatible with life outside the womb.

It is understood approximately six other abortions for women in similar circumstances have been funded by the HSE in the last year."

There is some legal voodoo going on here. Does the NHS know that sending prices, printed on an invoice, to the HSE, is illegal? The NHS can be fined €4000 a go for this crime. Outrageous.
 


GDPR

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Why exactly? I consulted the Act and it would appear lawful for non-GPs etc to disseminate the information, except in the case where the publication was unsolicited?

Is it that the legal advice is reliant on the fact that students are automatically given this handbook, ie they do not have to request it?

I imagine the relevant section of the Act was drafted pre-internet to prevent people from handing out free fliers etc. Another clunky piece of legislation which tried to reassure middle Ireland no one was going to be advertising abortion services on RTE.
 

Congalltee

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How is an invoice illegal? Please answer with reference to the Act or the third part of article 40.3.3
"This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state"

Will whatever student officer who ordered this be held accountable or is it the start of a glittering career in Labour/FF/FG/Greens?
 

Mushroom

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Will whatever student officer who ordered this be held accountable or is it the start of a glittering career in Labour/FF/FG/Greens?

Reading the article, it appears that UCDSU has a pro-life president.

Certainly wouldn't have happened in my day - but tends to support my theory that most of today's third level students are complete imbeciles.
 

Congalltee

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I'm assuming the university observer are aware of the potential consequences of republishing the contrasting pages online, with the price list and website clearly visible. (However, despite 1000 pills being seized by customs, there are zero prosecutions - so they probably wont face any consequences).
 

rainmaker

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Does the NHS know that sending prices, printed on an invoice, to the HSE, is illegal? The NHS can be fined €4000 a go for this crime. Outrageous.
How are you supposed to send an invoice without the costs? Otherwise it is not an an invoice. You must search very hard to find things the UK has done that you can be offended by.

Good luck with the fining each of the individuals concerned bit though.
 

Half Nelson

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If the information provided is in breach of the law, then all it takes for an investigation and potential prosecution is a complaint to AGS.
 

gleeful

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How are you supposed to send an invoice without the costs? Otherwise it is not an an invoice. You must search very hard to find things the UK has done that you can be offended by.

Good luck with the fining each of the individuals concerned bit though.
I am offended by the insane Irish law on this, not the NHS.
 

GDPR

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I am offended by the insane Irish law on this, not the NHS.
I didnt refer to the issue of invoices in my post, because I dont believe they could be illegal under the terms of the Act as I read it.

However, there is an issue with section 4 of the Act, (if I am correct in thinking this is why the SU could not publish specific details of UK abortion services, such as addresses, pricing etc).

I also agree with the posters who say there is something fishy about why the SU sought legal advice at this point and I am not convinced that the answer is because there is likely to be a Referendum next year.
 

gleeful

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I didnt refer to the issue of invoices in my post, because I dont believe they could be illegal under the terms of the Act as I read it.

However, there is an issue with section 4 of the Act, (if I am correct in thinking this is why the SU could not publish specific details of UK abortion services, such as addresses, pricing etc).

I also agree with the posters who say there is something fishy about why the SU sought legal advice at this point and I am not convinced that the answer is because there is likely to be a Referendum next year.
So if you ask for the information, the act says thats ok. Its only illegal to offer the information unasked for?
 

GDPR

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So if you ask for the information, the act says thats ok. Its only illegal to offer the information unasked for?
Thats my reading of the Act. It doesnt restrict the dissemination of information regarding lawful abortion services in another country, providing (roughly) the information is accurate, it is presented in the same way as the providers of those services do, and you do not make any recommendations.

However unless the information is offered by a GP or clinic or pregnancy advisory service, the publication in which it appears must not be unsolicited.

I took this to mean that the legislators were wary of people handing out flyers in the street advertising BPAS for example, or pushing leaflets through peoples letter boxes. If someone with more experience in this area knows better, they should pop along to the thread.
 

Emily Davison

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I didnt refer to the issue of invoices in my post, because I dont believe they could be illegal under the terms of the Act as I read it.

However, there is an issue with section 4 of the Act, (if I am correct in thinking this is why the SU could not publish specific details of UK abortion services, such as addresses, pricing etc).

I also agree with the posters who say there is something fishy about why the SU sought legal advice at this point and I am not convinced that the answer is because there is likely to be a Referendum next year.
My dear Eagle the answer is : Ascough, Ascough, Ascough, Iona, Iona, Iona.
 

GDPR

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My dear Eagle the answer is : Ascough, Ascough, Ascough, Iona, Iona, Iona.
I thought there had to be something more to it. I read the article and there was an awful lot of complaining that the legal advice was given only to the President and no one else was permitted to seek a second opinion.

I thought "Now is this some internal cat fight - or is it that ....." How very cheeky.
 

Emily Davison

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Anyone remember the fuss and bother about condoms back in the day, the students went mad on this about three decades ago. It was also about the student handbook. Well guess who won. The students.

It would be a very stupid pro lifer indeed who tried to prosecute students. So I most certainly hope they do. Time for some enterprising student to set out his stall on Freshers week with flies on abortion/contraception/where to get the MAP in an emergency and how to purchase abortion pills online.

To any students reading this, pick a 17 year old, or if it's someone 18, make sure they have no money or assets. And let them sue or take that person to court, you will do no end of help to repeal the 8th.
 

Mercurial

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She also appears to have thought it was a good idea spending eight grand reprinting leaflets in order to avoid a maximum fine of less than half that.
 

GDPR

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Anyone remember the fuss and bother about condoms back in the day, the students went mad on this about three decades ago. It was also about the student handbook. Well guess who won. The students.

It would be a very stupid pro lifer indeed who tried to prosecute students. So I most certainly hope they do. Time for some enterprising student to set out his stall on Freshers week with flies on abortion/contraception/where to get the MAP in an emergency and how to purchase abortion pills online.

To any students reading this, pick a 17 year old, or if it's someone 18, make sure they have no money or assets. And let them sue or take that person to court, you will do no end of help to repeal the 8th.
It wasnt until I realised the President was "pro-life", I began to take a darker view of the case. Originally, I thought the SU was looking to be prosecuted, as a test case, because they were gearing up for a campaign.

Did science students vote for this person? Oh dear.
 

Emily Davison

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I thought there had to be something more to it. I read the article and there was an awful lot of complaining that the legal advice was given only to the President and no one else was permitted to seek a second opinion.

I thought "Now is this some internal cat fight - or is it that ....." How very cheeky.
Nothing like that Eagle, this is Tom and Iona directing his daughter. I'd say this was all well planned by them. It's not difficult to get smart ass monied people to pull a fast one on the students. But students are a lot cleverer than they might realise. And you know lawyers, they are going to err on the side of caution so very easy to get a 'legal opinion' preventing you from publishing. But who on earth would take you to court?

Based on the article, I'd say those young student union guys are now well on the ball as regards lovely sweet Katie.
 


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