Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the US. That was the decision to legalise abortion. Screaming fundie so-called prolifers have tried to overturn it but with little success.
In Ireland, there is also abortion. We don't talk about it. It's not covered by the media. It's difficult to access and only available to those with disposable income or the ability to get credit. And in this economy, who has access to these?
Women travel to the UK. Women get on buses, boats and planes to get a safe legal abortion. However, because of the secrecy, the stigma, the lies about post-abortion syndrome, the violent protesters, and the stench of corrupted Catholic morality lingering in most homes in Ireland, she goes it alone. No support, no counselling and no trust.
Women deserve better. Listen to Sonya Renee on the subject.
What We Deserve
Aside from the facetious "killing babies" argument, spun by those who beat, tortured and raped children in their care, the principle argument against legalising abortion is that women who use it as a form of contraception and have sex with just anyone.
This argument springs from a paternalistic desire to control women's sexuality and choice. It posits the woman as a child and the advocate as just doing what's best for the woman because she cannot be trusted to make decisions about her own body. It is time, long past time that women's rights are respected as human rights. Women have the right to control their bodies. We have been doing it for centuries. I've written more on the subject here.
Historically women used herbs, potions or physical damage to terminate a pregnancy. (Indeed even today I know a woman who used an old Irish recipe to make sure she wouldn't get pregnant.) Pennyroyal, Black Cohosh, blue cohosh and juniper berries have all been used as abortificants but some work by poisoning those who ingest the herbs.
Safe and legal abortions is what is necessary. Criminalising abortion does not prevent abortion. Criminalisating abortion means that it is more difficult and costly to terminate a pregnancy and that people may resort to dangerous methods to do so.
But attitudes are changing. The stigma is lessening:
Some 60% of young people want abortion legalised here, it has emerged.
According to a Red C poll in today's Irish Examiner, 10% of 18-34 year olds have been involved in a relationship where an abortion took place.
The only difference is that people are now reporting that they are pro choice. People want to live in a modern secular European democracy. Only with the waning of the power and stranglehold of Catholic Church has that become a real possibility.
There is one proven way to reduce the number of abortions and that is a two pronged strategy. Firstly, give children good sex education, rather than the stuttering "no one will marry you if you are not a virgin" rubbish that currently is being inflicted upon 17 year old students. It is too little and way way too late.
The second element of the strategy is to make contraception easily available and inexpensive. The price of condoms, the pill and other methods is ridiculous. In fact, Ireland is the most expensive country in the world for condoms. The morning after pill still requires a visit to the GP and the obligatory offensive"irresponsible behaviour lecture" by the doc and the pharmacist.
It's time to talk about the reality. These vids were made by the The Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign. Watch them.
Now you can take important action with them. The Campaign give you a number of options.
If you are interested in a more international campaign check out Make noise for free choice.