Last night saw hundreds of pro-choice activists blockade the gates of the Dail after TD's once more refused to pass X-case legislation. Twenty years after the X-case and one month after the death of Savita Halappanavar women in Ireland were told once more that the politicians had not had enough time. The political parties, in particular the Labour Party, were once more engaged in a cynical game of playing politics - a game that leaves pregnant women at continued risk in Irish hospitals.
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."
For years we were aware that the failure of successive governments to legislate could result in a tragedy but when the first reports started to circulate that this had happened we were horrified. How did we come to this point?
Anti-choice bigots are going into a frenzy to try and prevent the Irish government legislating for abortion provision in the republic as required by the X and C judgements. But they are ignoring the reality that 1000 plus women are already obtaining abortions in the republic every year and are simply making that decision for themselves. The bigots 'keep Ireland abortion free' crusade was fake even before the opening of Marie Stopes in Belfast, the false slogan is presumably designed to fool the US donors whose donations the bigots salaries and offices depend on. But it is having tragic consequences for women in Ireland as those unable to access abortion pills are left without access to abortion.
Saturday's (July 5th) Youth Defense march in Belfast saw a WSM member arrested for protesting the presence of Michael Quinn, the fascist who told the Sunday World that he would "he would have "no problem" with an Anders Breivik style-massacre" in Ireland. When Quinn was pointed out to stewards on the so called 'Rally for Life' they protected him and allowed him to continue on the march. On Sunday Youth Defence deleted posts of the picture of Quinn on the demonstration from their Facebook page and banned people who posted the picture or demanded to know why they had allowed Quinn to march.
A video being circulated on the internet shows Youth Defense anti-choice posters being sprayed with paint. Over the last month more and more billboards from the anti-women anti-choice organisation Youth Defense have been appearing all over Dublin. It appears they have spent hundreds of thousands of euro in their latest campaign targeting women who have had abortions. In the last days we have seen or been sent photos of their posters that have been altered all over the city and just now we received notification of the video below which shows several of these sites being covered with paint or torn down.
20 years ago this month details emerged of the X-case, when the Irish state injuncted a pregnant 14 year old who had been raped to prevent her traveling of England for an abortion. The x-case was the culmination of a decade of fundamentalist anti-choice hysteria that had flowed from the 1983 referendum designed to make it impossible to ever legalize abortion again in Ireland.
(Pic: Press launch - taken by RAG)
After spending tens of thousands of euro in promotion Youth Defense's anti-choice march finally took place in Dublin. Despite the free coaches and months of preparation even RTE admitted that only 2-5,000 took part, making it a tiny fraction of the Pride Parade of the previous Saturday. And from observation a large part of that crowd was composed of unhappy looking young children dragged along by relatives, priests, monks, nuns and the very elderly.
Saturday June 25th saw another massive Pride in Dublin with the Garda estimating that as many as 26,000 took part in the parade and another 100,000 spectated. While Pride has very much become more of a social and commercial event since its early years in Dublin it also remains a strong political expression of the ongoing struggles against Queer oppression.
Around 80 people took part in Sunday's annual Feminist Walking Tour to mark International Women's Day. The tour was organised by Choice Ireland, Lashback and RAG and for the first time was confined to the south side of the city, starting at Stephen's Green and ending up in Temple Bar. The audio from the individual stops on the tour is included with this article.
In the aftermath of the European court of Human Rights finding that the Irish state had violated the rights of a woman who was unable to get an abortion in Ireland a poll in the Sunday Times has confirmed that almost 9 out of every 10 people want abortion available in such cases. This result is a massive defeat for the well funded anti-choice movement that spent hundreds of thousands in an anti-choice advertising campaign in advance of the ruling.