Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Remember Sheila Hodgers

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Remember Sheila Hodgers.

The infamous story of Sheila Hodgers, murdered by Irish Lifers in positions of power – Repeal the 8th.

From Una Dunphy of the Waterford Trades Council :

“Today is the anniversary of her death, thirty five years ago.

Sheila lived in Dundalk with her husband, Brendan. They had two daughters, aged eight and seven. They were considering trying for a third child when Sheila discovered a lump on her breast. After a mastectomy, however, she got better. With the help of cytotoxic drugs, her cancer was kept at bay.

Until, that is, she became pregnant. Her medication was stopped, for fear that it would harm the foetus in her womb. She developed severe lumbar pain, indicating a tumour on her back. But this could not be fully confirmed because the hospital would not take an X-ray.

Brendan Hodgers asked that a Caesarean section be performed on his wife, so that she could return to her cancer treatment immediately. The request was refused. She was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes in agony. As Brendan Hodgers subsequently recalled: “She was literally screaming at this stage. I could hear her from the front door of the hospital, and she was in a ward on the fourth floor.”

Sheila Hodgers was eventually moved to the maternity ward. On March 16th, 1983, she went into labour two months prematurely and was delivered of a baby girl the next day. The child died almost immediately after birth. Mrs Hodgers died two days later. She had tumours on her neck, spine and legs.”

Six months later the 8th amendment was approved to be added to the constitution. The news had broadcast Sheila’s case just two days before the referendum. Despite that – the referendum passed, and the following month it was written into the constitution.

Since the addition of the 1983 amendment – countless women and families have been negatively impacted by the 8th.

From Miss X [1991], a 14 year old girl that was raped and detained from travelling to the UK for an abortion – to Miss P [2014], a clinically dead woman in her 20s, 15 weeks pregnant, and kept artificially alive for three weeks until the High Courts decided that the woman should be able to have dignity in death.

It is time for Repeal.”