Category Archives: Activism and Agitation

If I can’t have My Reproductive Rights, then it’s not My Revolution.

Paris is Burning

If you are a #dragrace fan then Child you need to watch Paris is Burning, educate yourself on the #herstory. if you have ever called someone a Legend or Legendary, well that started in the 70/80s with the Balls. hell if you want to see how much ‘gay’ Black lingo has moved into pop culture Paris is Burning is a fascinating watch.

Gloria Steinem and #repealthe8th

I was delighted to see images on my twitter feed of Gloria Steinem posing beside the Repeal Projects jumpers and the AimsIreland T shirts.

https://twitter.com/Harmonica26/status/756831226682568705

But I wasn’t one bit surprised. Ms Steinem was one of the Founders and Editors of Ms Magazine and it’s debut issue in December 1972 featured 52 women stating “We Had an Abortion

This action followed on from the French & German Actions of June that year: the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur Published the Manefestio which was orchestrated by Simone de Beauvoir and was sign by 343 women and the Stern Magazine cover is wonderful and 70 women came out about having had an abortion.

VOE STERN 24/1971 BS 1 Titel Titelseite Wir haben  abgetrieben Abtreibung 1971_24 Schlagworte:Zeitschrift, Presse
VOE STERN 24/1971 BS 1 Titel Titelseite Wir haben
abgetrieben Abtreibung 1971_24 Schlagworte:Zeitschrift, Presse

All these actions happened before I was even born, but I knew that if women in Ireland are to have the right to an abortion when we need one, then just like the women in France, Germany and the USA some of us were going to have to go public with our stories. Which is why I chose to start telling my story, which by a quirk of fate was also published in Le Nouvel Observateur

But I was just one person back in 2013 but soon other women started stepping forward, and when I was asked to take part in the X-ile Project it was something I could not refuse.

Women in Ireland have started to come forward to ‘come out’ (as Panti Bliss recently put it) about their abortions, we have done so follow the footsteps of many other brave women, and Gloria Steniem is one of those women. She has shared her story about having to get an illegal abortion.

So I will be keeping an eye out for Gloria Stenism on the Women’s Podcast, I am looking forward to what she has to say about #repealthe8th, I don’t doubt she agrees that we need Free Safe Legal and local abortion services in Ireland.

In Ireland we don’t have lgbtqi people being gunned down

In Ireland we don’t have lgbtqi people being gunned down, but we still have lives lost due to Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia.

Achieving marriage equality has not stopped lgbtqi people being beaten up.

Achieving marriage equality has not stopped lgbtqi people from ending their own lives.

Achieving has not stopped lgbtqi people’s potential being crippled by the impact Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia has on their mental health.

Achieving marriage equality has not stopped lgbtqi people from being or becoming homeless, from living in poverty, from struggling with addiction, due to the impact on mental health & emotional well being.

Achieving marriage equality has not stopped lgbtqi young people from having to stay at ‘home’ in nonsupporting toxic spaces, as they can not afford to move out.

Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia in Ireland ruins and takes lives in far slower crueler ways then bullets.

The LGBT Helpline is Opening early to day, from 4pm on wards.
13428017_10153548740121121_8208072829009587518_n

Myth Busting: Rape and Birth

Guest Post

I am delighted to have a guest post by Ruaidhrí, who can be found on twitter as @Lamhfada and wrote this rebuttal of one of the appalling tweets he saw today.

Ruaidhrí Mulveen is from Galway and has studied psychology in NUI, Galway and QMU, Edinburgh. He’s (mostly) worked in health and social care

 

 

https://twitter.com/ProLifeLegend/status/740327234045628416

The state of this guy. Excuse me while I have a little rant.

 

1) Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger in the brain. Neurotransmitters don’t “heal” anything and they especially don’t heal the psychosocial trauma of rape via some unknown mechanisms in childbirth

2) Oxytocin is involved with bonding and attachment. It’s also involved in aggression and in childbirth is involved in contractions. Oxytocin modulates the impact of all social stimuli across all emotions-it increases aggression for example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26862988 and it increases the chance of domestic violence http://spp.sagepub.com/content/5/6/691I don’t see any evidence for it reducing the trauma of rape as claimed in this tweet.

3) If giving birth reduces trauma through oxytocin (which as the above points say, seems unlikely) then we should observe a massive difference across all mental health diagnoses in people who’ve given birth, which I’m not so sure is the case. Also wouldn’t it impact upon things like post-partum depression?

4) The claims this “pro life legend” make are either lies, or well meaning distortions of bad science. Either way that’s all the anti-choice, pro 8th amendment people have- lies and distortions, however well meaning they think they are.

There’s going to be a referendum to #repealthe8th. Expect the desperate untruths like this to continue. It’s largely the same crowd who were behind the no campaign for the marriage referendum and remember all the lies and nonsense they had? It’s going to be worse in the coming referendum.

 

 Thank you Ruaidhrí for writing this rebuttal and allowing me to have it as a guest post. We will see a lot of myths, misinformation and lies as we work to #repealthe8th, which is why informed and factual pieces like this are important.

Myth Busting: Abortion and Breast Cancer

So one of the other claptrap things which get said is that abortion increases a person’s risk of breast cancer; this is false.

There is zero connection between having an abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer.

There is how ever a connection between breastfeeding and lowering the risk of breast cancer.

http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/breastfeed_hist

Breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than 1 year. There is less benefit for women who breastfeed for less than a year, which is more typical for women living in countries such as the United States. There are several reasons why breastfeeding protects breast health:

    • making milk 24/7 limits breast cells’ ability to misbehave
    • most women have fewer menstrual cycles when they’re breastfeeding (added to the 9 missed periods during pregnancy) resulting in lower estrogen levels
    • many women tend to eat more nutritious foods and follow healthier lifestyles (limit smoking and alcohol use) while breastfeeding

Beyond breast health protection, breastfeeding provides important health benefits to the baby and helps the bonding process.

So people who say that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer are assuming that a woman who has an abortion doesn’t already have children and hasn’t already breast fed.

The published stats from the NHS in the UK show that

54 per cent of those having terminations last year were already mothers 

So people who say that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer are assuming that a woman who has an abortion won’t go on to have have children children later in life, when it’s right for them to do so and maybe they might breast feed

Yes breastfeeding is best for a baby, and it can lower the risk of breast cancer, but “My Body My Choice” is not just about continuing a pregnancy, it is also about breast feeding.

Sometimes continuing a pregnancy is not the best thing for a person, sometimes breastfeeding is not the best thing for a person, some times it’s just not possible for a range of reasons and thank heavens we do have formula, we do have that Choice.

Anyone who says there is a connection between abortion and breast cancer is in my opinion being willfully ignorant of the medical facts, and of how people live their lives.

I had an abortion, I also have two children, both of whom I breastfed, all of those things were my choice about what I did with my body, and all of those choices should be respected and not used to scaremonger or tell people what they should do with their body.

 

The basics of intersectionality

When you read or hear a discussion being had by certain group of people about being oppressed and what they struggle with, stop and think before joining in.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by gay people & allies saying but poor straight people have to Deal with X.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by bi people & allies saying but poor gay people have to Deal with X.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by people of colour & allies saying but poor white people have to Deal with X.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by people with disabilities & allies saying but poor able people have to Deal with X.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by people struggling with poverty & allies saying but poor middle class people have to Deal with X

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by trans people & allies saying but poor cis people have to Deal with X.

Don’t disrupt a discussion being had by women & allies saying but poor men have to Deal with X.

Yes the capitalist patriarchy is shit for just about everyone, but you don’t get to disrupt the conversations people are having about how it is shit for them, with how it is also shit for the persons shitting on them.

People how are effected by a particular axis of oppression have to have space to talk about how it effects then, to find solidarity, to know they are not the only person this happens to and to find a way to talk about it amount themselves and then to be able to articulate it to others and then fight for the changes needed.

When someone is talking about something which happens to them which doesn’t happen to you, listen and learn, don’t jump in with #notall[insertgroupwithprivelge]. We to listen and learn to gain greater understanding and compassion.

Yes please do start a parallel conversation, or better yet bring up issues which do need to be addressed, but off your own bat not as a reaction to and disrupting a discussion which is already happening. It’s hard enough for folk to talk about what happens, with out having to defend having those discussions in the first place.

When any victim group speaks out, listen, don’t pick on semantics don’t tone police, listen. If it makes you uncomfortable good such thing should. If the generalisations piss you off and they should then be angry at the people who contribute to the crappy culture we are in, rather then target the hurt people struggling to express themselves.

This Revolution is being Broadcast….

This morning I had to as part of one of my college modules deliver a 2 minute oral presentation on a topic of my choosing. I had chosen 5 reasons to Repeal the 8th as my topic, but given recent events decided to do 5 facts about the abortion pills.

“Good Morning, I am here to tell you two things and five facts. ”

I raised my right hand up with with raised fingers and then my left with five raised fingers. Then lowered my right and and ticked off with my fingers on my right both things.

“The first thing I am going to tell you is that I am angry, very angry and that anger is why I am not going to talk about the topic I indicated to our lecturer I am going to instead in light of the court case in Belfast, I am going to talk about the abortion pills.

The second thing I will tell you is that, some of what I am about to say may be illegal, it may break the 1995 abortion information act, but as no one has ever been prosecuted under the act and the abortion pills were not considered when it was created I don’t know for sure. ”

I then lowered my right and and raised my left with all fingers raised, curling one after the other as I ticked off each fact starting with my index finger.

“The first fact is that the pills which are know as the abortion pills are legal for that use everywhere in the EU bar Ireland and Malta. The have been legal in France from 1988, which means that in 1992 if Miss X the 14 year old who was raped had of lived in France she could have been prescribed the pills by a dr and the pregnancy ended in 24hours, instead of facing court injunctions, traveling and national uproar.

The second fact is that the pills are legally used everywhere in the EU bar Ireland and Malta to end a pregnancy in the first 10 to 12 weeks of a pregnancy. This means if Migrant Y had of been in another EU country when she discovered she was 8 pregnant from rape, she could have been she could have been prescribed the pills by a dr and the pregnancy ended in 24hours. Instead due to the 8th amendment she was forced to continue a pregnancy she did not want, had medical treatment she did not want and was forced to have a C Section.

The third fact is the pills are part of health care, if you are undergoing chemotherapy and the mandatory test you do before you start your scheduled dose show you are pregnant the chemotherapy is stopped. This Happened to Michele Harte, she took the hospital in Cork to court to get an abortion to continue her chemo and was denied. Eventually while very ill she travelled to the UK for an abortion and came back to continue her chemotherapy. In any other EU country bar Ireland and Malta you can be she could have been prescribed the pills by a dr and the pregnancy ended in 24hours. Michele Sued the HSE and won, but died from her cancer soon after.

The fourth fact is these pills are prescribed to women all over the country by maternity hospitals and units when they have had a incomplete miscarriage. They are prescribed the pills by a dr and fill the prescription, take the pills at home and what is left of the pregnancy is ended in 24hours.

The fifth fact is that if the young woman in Belfast, who has been given a suspended sentence, had of being living in another part of the UK in Scotland, Wales or England, the use of the pills would  have been legal, she would have for free been prescribed the pills by a dr and filled the prescription, taken the pills at home. If she lived in the Republic of Ireland she could have been given a sentence of up to 14 years”

At this stage I folded down my thumb creating a fist of solidarity and kept it raised.

“I am angry and today I stand in solitary with the young woman in Belfast, with the 10 women a day who travel to Ireland to the UK to have an abortion and the many others who can not afford to travel and risk 14 years to import and use the abortion pills at home.

I am Janet O’Sullivan, I am a spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign, and if you want to hear me talk more on this, I will be on Community Radio Castlebar, 109.2fm at 5:30pm. This Revolution is being Broadcast.”

I am still angry, but anger is an energy, it’s fueling a lot of us and we will use it to Repeal the 8th amendment and bring in the abortion rights which we need.

Cis Het Patriarchy is everywhere

Cis Het Patriarchy is everywhere, it is and even when we become aware of it’s impact and strive to change our thinking and behaviors, it can be hard to see how embedded it is.

It is so much so that both Cis and Hetrosexual are assumptions we make about people. They are actually labels, but they are unthinking applied in a manner which to make them ‘the norm’. If we really want to not make assumptions about people we have to start with trying to not automatically applying those labels to people.

And we need to look at our use of language and learn where it comes from, how it can be oppressive and even an micro aggression.

Microagression are important, some times they are verbal some times not, some times they are the words we unquestioningly use when talking or writing.

One of the things hard things about trying to be an inter-sectional feminist is trying to figure out my own assumptions and prejudices, which are due to the culture and society we live in.

The big acts/utterances of isms are easier not to do the the micro aggression of isms, esp when I’ve not looked at them or had them pointed out to me.

Thankfully I have learned a lot over the last 20 years. But I still ‘check myself’.

One of the ways I do is to interact and read the writings of other people who are also striving to be ‘less shit’ at being an intersectional feminist, one of those people is Aoife O’Riordan and her post recent writing is

Homophobia: letting go of the Capital H.

 

Well worth reading in my opinion.

.