Dublin city centre came to a halt Saturday 26th September as thousands of people marched for choice and against Ireland's anti-women law that would jail people who access abortion here for up to 14 years.
The key demand is to Repeal the 8th Amendment which was passed at the height of clerical control back in 1983. So long ago that nobody who voted on it would now be in a position to even become pregnant. More that 2/3rd of the population want abortion to be decriminalised, only 25% want the current criminalisation to remain yet Enda Kenny has announced he has no intention of introducing a referendum to Repeal the 8th.
A couple of hundred people came to the pro choice solidarity rally in Dublin last night. It was called to protest against the prosecution of a women in Belfast for supplying her daughter with the abortion pill.
Banners reading Drop The Charges and Free Safe Legal Abortion had been prepared the previous evening for the protest which had been called by the Workers Solidarity Movement and (Re)al-Productive Health. There were speakers from both these organisations but also from the Abortion Rights Campaign and ROSA whose banners were also brought to the protest.
I remember being in a tent at Electric Picnic perhaps 3 years ago when Christy Moore belted out the Pogues 'Thousands are Sailing' to 15,000 very emotional people. For sure there were other sources but a good part of the emotion was the sense that it was all happening again.
On Friday 22nd Ireland goes to the polls for a referendum to introduce Marriage equality, when it is passed Ireland will be the first country to introduce Marriage equality by popular vote. In the final days of campaigning the reactionary anti-equality crowd are becoming increasingly open about their homophobia as they become increasingly desperate in the face of defeat.
I was part of a long education and discussion process that culminated in this new position paper on "Anarchism, Oppression & Exploitation" being agreed by WSM National Conference at the start of October 2014.
This is as complete a story about what happened to 'Migrant X' that we are aware of. Migrant X is a young migrant women who it emerged was refused an abortion by the Irish state despite apparently meeting the grounds of the X-case legislation and instead forced to carry the pregnancy and agree to a C-section. The pregnanacy itself was the result of rape, Migrant X attempted suicide after being refused the abortion and later went on a hunger and thirst strike. Once what had happened to her became known there were sizeable pro-choice solidarity demonstrations called across Ireland and at Irish embassies overseas.
We have been given information that the migrant woman at the centre of the current forced pregnancy was 'committed' to a psychiatric hospital following her initial request for termination. It’s already known that the initial request was made when she was 8 weeks pregnant. It was this crucial period in which she was being held incommunicado which led directly to the Caesarian option being possible to impose as an ‘alternative’ to allowing her to access the abortion she had asked for.
Despite spending in the region of a million euro and getting the backing of the catholic church its now clear that the anti-choice extremists of Youth Defence & the Pro Life Campaign were resoundingly defeated when the Dail finally voted though legislation implementing the X-Case judgment of 21 years ago. This time last year they were confident that they already had enough Fine Gael TD's on board to block the required legislation but they reckoned against the wave of public anger that followed the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was denied a potentially life saving abortion in a Galway hospital.
The anti-choice movements have been repeating over and over the message in recent months that 'abortion is never a treatment for suicidality' This is frequently coupled with citing the realtively low current rate of suicide among pregnant women. But like other myths of the anti-choice movement it has emerged that until abortion became accessible to Irish women, through travelling to the UK, 10% of suicides of women in Ireland were of pregnant women, a figure far in excess of the general population.
Several hundred people took part in a demonstration in Dublin last night (Monday 4 March) demanding the government legislate for abortion access as laid down in the X-Case judgement over 21 years ago. Government after government have refused to introduce this legislation due to politicians own conservatism and their fear of the huge resources of the US funded anti-choice movement. But the massive mobilisations that followed news of the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was refused an abortion in a Galway hospital in the Autumn have forced the Labour Party & Fine Gael to finally begin the process of introducing legislation.
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