The Holy War on Irish Wombs
It’s a freezing Saturday afternoon in Dublin and, on the corner of O’Connell Street, a nervous young man called Dennis wants me to sign a petition with a picture of a dead baby on it. Dennis is 21 years old and doesn’t like abortion one bit. Especially not now that there’s a chance, for the first time in a generation, of liberalizing the law just a little to allow women at risk of actual death to terminate their pregnancies. 
“I’m trying to keep abortion away from Ireland,” repeats Dennis, churning out the slogan being yelled by stern older men behind him. “If [a woman] doesn’t want a child, there’s obvious steps she can take to not have a child.” Like what? “Well, for example, abstinence,” he says, looking down at me uncomfortably. “Purity before marriage.” What about sexual equality? Dennis is blushing, despite the cold. “Well, I’m here against abortion. I wouldn’t have anything to say to that.”
It’s illegal for a woman to have an abortion under almost any circumstances in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if she might die in the delivery room. Every year, thousands of women with crisis pregnancies scrape together the money to travel overseas to have abortions—and that’s if they’re lucky. If they’re unlucky—immigrants, shift-workers… anyone who is too poor to afford a red-eye Ryanair flight to London—the only options are to take black-market abortion pills or be forced to give birth. Right now, members of the Irish parliament are trying to push through legislation that would allow women to have abortions if they’re at risk of suicide, but the Catholic hard-right are fighting back.
Since 1967, when Britain made abortion legal, over 150,000 Irish women have gone to England to end their pregnancies. They go in secret and, since that figure only covers those who list Irish addresses, the true number is probably much higher. It’s a situation that has been tacitly accepted in Irish society for years: abortion is sinful, but we’ll put up with it as long as it happens far away and the women involved are shamed into silence. “It’s an Irish solution to an Irish problem,” says Sinead Ahern, an activist with Choice Ireland. Now all that might be about to change.
Continue

The Holy War on Irish Wombs

It’s a freezing Saturday afternoon in Dublin and, on the corner of O’Connell Street, a nervous young man called Dennis wants me to sign a petition with a picture of a dead baby on it. Dennis is 21 years old and doesn’t like abortion one bit. Especially not now that there’s a chance, for the first time in a generation, of liberalizing the law just a little to allow women at risk of actual death to terminate their pregnancies. 

“I’m trying to keep abortion away from Ireland,” repeats Dennis, churning out the slogan being yelled by stern older men behind him. “If [a woman] doesn’t want a child, there’s obvious steps she can take to not have a child.” Like what? “Well, for example, abstinence,” he says, looking down at me uncomfortably. “Purity before marriage.” What about sexual equality? Dennis is blushing, despite the cold. “Well, I’m here against abortion. I wouldn’t have anything to say to that.”

It’s illegal for a woman to have an abortion under almost any circumstances in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if she might die in the delivery room. Every year, thousands of women with crisis pregnancies scrape together the money to travel overseas to have abortions—and that’s if they’re lucky. If they’re unlucky—immigrants, shift-workers… anyone who is too poor to afford a red-eye Ryanair flight to London—the only options are to take black-market abortion pills or be forced to give birth. Right now, members of the Irish parliament are trying to push through legislation that would allow women to have abortions if they’re at risk of suicide, but the Catholic hard-right are fighting back.

Since 1967, when Britain made abortion legal, over 150,000 Irish women have gone to England to end their pregnancies. They go in secret and, since that figure only covers those who list Irish addresses, the true number is probably much higher. It’s a situation that has been tacitly accepted in Irish society for years: abortion is sinful, but we’ll put up with it as long as it happens far away and the women involved are shamed into silence. “It’s an Irish solution to an Irish problem,” says Sinead Ahern, an activist with Choice Ireland. Now all that might be about to change.

Continue

Notes:

  1. ignisadcinerem reblogged this from watchingheroesfall
  2. watchingheroesfall reblogged this from senorapepsi
  3. feet-dontfailmenow reblogged this from katie-joy
  4. senorapepsi reblogged this from katie-joy
  5. cooley077 reblogged this from katie-joy
  6. katie-joy reblogged this from sideshowknob
  7. stereotypeme reblogged this from mlle-annetoinette
  8. mlle-annetoinette reblogged this from unknownnouns
  9. geminare reblogged this from elisemaartje
  10. floatingfuckingvibes reblogged this from whisperingghosts
  11. thisriddle0frevenge reblogged this from whisperingghosts
  12. coogiebear reblogged this from how-fascinating
  13. mister-joshypants reblogged this from whisperingghosts
  14. elisemaartje reblogged this from buzzcola
  15. adropofsomethingcheerful reblogged this from buzzcola
  16. mysleepaddledbrain reblogged this from how-fascinating
  17. kyoyain reblogged this from buzzcola
  18. suzuki-method reblogged this from princesshairr
  19. buzzcola reblogged this from sideshowknob
  20. albatrossed reblogged this from how-fascinating
  21. whisperingghosts reblogged this from how-fascinating
  22. how-fascinating reblogged this from merduur
  23. merduur reblogged this from unknownnouns
  24. unknownnouns reblogged this from sideshowknob
  25. sideshowknob reblogged this from vicemag
  26. highaskites reblogged this from vicemag
  27. 31flavorsofcynical reblogged this from vicemag
  28. timetravelsuckerpunch reblogged this from cwnerd12
  29. alexandriamillerlove reblogged this from vicemag
  30. thrillsandstuff reblogged this from princess-aoife
  31. randomnow reblogged this from cwnerd12
  32. sunburnqueen reblogged this from vicemag
  33. dusuger reblogged this from cutesledgehammer
  34. cutesledgehammer reblogged this from vicemag