This wonderful piece was written by Deborah Curran who has given me permission to reproduce it here.
For the Men who think the Eighth Amendment has nothing to do with them.
I was told by a man last week that he wasn’t going to vote in the upcoming referendum to remove the eighth amendment, not because he didn’t agree, he did! But he felt it wasn’t his place, it was a woman’s issue and women should be the ones to decide over their own bodies. He was a lovely, respectful, caring, married man, with daughters. I spoke to other men at a fundraiser last week who told me that they too are supporting a yes vote and while they will vote they did not speak to other men about the 8th amendment or abortion. In all cases, these men felt that not alone were they not affected by the eighth amendment but men, in general, were not impacted by it.
The fact is, the eighth generally doesn’t affect any of us until the worst happens, and since 1980 the worst has happened to 170,216 women who have traveled. However, this number doesn’t take account of the men involved. 70% of women from Ireland who access abortions are married or in a relationship…with a man.
This is something to do with men. Its often men who also travel, they book flights, find money, sit in waiting rooms sick with worry before getting her home, both exhausted and broken from the trauma, shame, and secrecy. None of the men I spoke to had even considered men in this scenario, they are completely overlooked.
There are men who hold their devastated partner as they get the news that their baby won’t survive outside the womb. In Ireland, the eighth means these women and men must see a pregnancy through to full-term, 39 weeks. For some couples they may want to do this but for many they travel. They can’t psychologically deal with knowing their baby may be in pain, or the risk to the woman’s life should something go wrong, or the utter mental trauma of grieving while still pregnant. These men have to help their partner through the devastation of delivering their stillborn baby away from home and their families and doctors. They sometimes take the boat so they can bring their baby back…in the boot of their car! A 10-hour journey. Can you even imagine this? It’s so utterly disrespectful to all involved but voting yes will ensure these men and women will be at home with their support network.
How many Dads think this is nothing to do with them? The eighth means that in the case of a pregnancy complication where their daughter’s life is threatened, she must be in ‘immediate’ danger before doctors can treat her and as we have sadly seen, sometimes this is just too late. It means in the case of a cancer diagnosis, she possibly cannot get treatment while pregnant, it means that if she is raped she has to see through the pregnancy. Remember this, its 35 years since the last vote, that’s a generation of women, a generation of fathers who were helpless in the face of the eighth amendment. Voting yes ensures that if a crisis pregnancy every comes to your door, your daughter is at home with your support, under Irish care in an Irish hospital.
If you are a fertile heterosexual male who has sex it is your issue too. The majority of crisis pregnancies happen because contraception has failed. Yet this one failure results in a couple ending up in an abortion clinic in another country. It’s only when this happens Irish men realise the eighth does have something to do with them. To this point they didn’t realise it’s illegal to take abortion pills, or that it’s between €400 and €1500 for the clinic, or that flights and boats are so expensive at certain times of the year and they don’t realise how quickly time runs out when trying to organise this.
If you still think it isn’t a man’s place to vote, you are wrong! This is not a time to be respectful, it is not a time to leave this to women. Women, your women, your daughters, your partners, your sisters, your friends, they can’t do this on their own. They cannot change this without you. They cannot get access to safe terminations, at home with their partners, unless you vote yes. You can be sure the men who are happy with the current limitations the eighth imposes on doctors and women will definitely turn out to vote no. And without men voting yes on May 25th this referendum will not pass. Abortion is not nice, no one, man or woman wants this, no man or woman chooses it as the easy option, but life is full of grey areas and the eighth is designed for black and white, it’s simply not working! Doctors are saying they cannot do their jobs, they are saying abortion is here, either through illegal pills or airline flights. It’s time we brought our women and our men home. Your yes vote matters, not just to women but to men too, your friends, your family, your colleagues and it might even matter to you one day, but if you don’t vote or if you vote no, you may sadly join the club of the shamed and silenced who have gone before you.
Deborah Curran is also on twitter, you can find her here.
I Vlogged again.
Some of the questions I got from people in the bar after the launch of Roscommon for Yes were about Abortion as Contraception, ‘Unrestricted’ Abortion at 12 weeks and
Drs opting out.
Abortion as Contraception:
We know from the stat which Bpas clinics keep and report to the NHS that the majority of people who have an abortion in the UK, were using contraception when they became unintentionally pregnant.
Also after having an abortion the same as after a miscarriage or giving birth you can not have sex for 6 weeks. I guess this is not a well known fact as people haven’t tended to talk about abortion.
Also with the plans for free contraception for anyone who needs if a person accesses abortion care they will be informed of this, and when in other countries made abortion legal and they have had free contraception, the abortion rate dropped, this is what we need in Ireland, this is part of the plans Minister Simon Harris has proposed as this is what the Joint Committee recommended.
Drs Opting Out:
Drs already can opt out of prescribing contraception and the morning after pill, it is called the Conscientious Objection clause. This will also apply to abortion services.
‘Unrestricted’ Abortion at 12 weeks:
Well this one is simply not true. What the Joint Committee recommended and what is being put forward after we Remove the 8th Amendment, is 12 weeks ‘unrestricted to reason’ which means what ever reas on a person has for wanting to end a pregnancy that is reason enough.
There are restrictions, there is a proposed 72 hour, 3 days waiting period, there are medical restrictions, not just what the pregnancy has to be under 12 weeks of pregnancy (10 weeks fetal gestation), that is is carried out in line with best medical practice and that it is the right type procedure for the pregnant person. As Safe as the abortion pills are they are not suitable for everyone.
There are legal restrictions too, abortions will only be lawful in the first 12 weeks if a person goes to their dr or a family planning clinic or hospital and it is carries out in line with and under the restrictions of HSE policy. Ordering abortion pills from online places will still be illegal, carrying out back street abortions will still be legal.
Abortions after 12 weeks and before 24 weeks (6 months which is the limit of viability) will be even further restricted, it will only be in the cases of Fatal Fetal Abnormalities, and when there is a serious risk to the pregnant person’s Health. Even then it will take two drs to make the assessment.
So tomorrow I am off to Maynooth to MC the Maynooth Together for Yes fundraiser gig in the Duke and Coachman. Then on to Galway and then Kilkenny.
I will keep updating as I go, if you have questions you’d like me tackle please get in touch, leave a comment, or email me or, get in touch on twitter.
Again Thank You to those who Donated to my GofundeMe and made this possible.
I only meet Laura Lee in person a handful of times. We chatted on twitter and facebook a fair bit. Often sharing our eye-rolling encounters with our own daughters.
She was a caring, compassionate, formidable woman who was a sex worker as well as an advocate and activist for Sex Worker Rights. She stood up, put her self in the public spot light to break the stigma around sex work and to be visible, for it is harder to deny the rights of visible people.
Stigma and prejudice strip people of their humanity and so it is easier to ignore them and treat them as lesser. She made a point of being very present, which made it harder for people to make the generalisation about sex workers and sex work.
As part of being involved with Octocon: The National Science Fiction Convention, I got to ask if Laura Lee could come be a panellist at the convention. Octocon has always been run by and for a very diverse Fandom, and the panels deal with a range of societal issues.
There is also a policy of ‘Nothing about Us, with out Us.” so there is always an effort to get people from minority and marginalised groups to take part in the discussions at the convention as attendees (via concession rates and Con or Bust) or as panellists.
I was delighted in 2015 to be able to moderate a panel on Sex Workers in Fiction and have Laura be one of the panellists.
Sex workers are written the lot about in fiction, be it in Game of Thrones to Firefly. Laura spoke so well about what rights sex workers needs and that we need to change attitudes towards sex workers, which starts with affording respect and dignity especially when writing about them, be it in reporting or in fiction.
The panel was a late night one, as all the more adult topics tend to be and then after, Laura and some of the other Sex Worker activists stayed for the Octocon disco. They really enjoyed the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the convention and asked if other friends could pop in and attend. It was a fun evening.
That is one of my fondest memories of Laura surrounded by friends and activists at Octocon either sitting chatting or up dancing. Others are running into her at the various Marches for Choice. My body my Choice as far as I am concerned applies to sex work and all workers should be able to work in a safe environment. It is about bodily autonomy, no one should be forced to have an abortion or give birth, no one should be forced to do sex work or be forced not do sex work.
With the cold weather and snow which storm Emma brought, I made coddle. It was something which Laural also loved. I made it and found myself thinking of her and how the world is a lesser place without her now in it, of the wonderful work which she did and how we need to make sure the work for Sex Worker Rights continues.
I miss her, she made me feel less odd about speaking my truth and knowing that we both supported each other in the work we were doing made it a little easier at times.
This international Sex Workers Day if you have the time please read http://sexworkersallianceireland.org and if you can make a donation.
I am meant to be studying but someone was Wrong on the internet. When that someone is a person who is a senator and has said they will run for president, well a thread happens.
I have storified it for sharing, it is about HPV, Smear tests, and HPV Vaccine.
I run into a lot of peope on twitter who spout harmful anti trans rethoric. Some of them seek me out cos I use the term pregnant people when discussing reproductive rights.
I rarely see it here on fb, Esp on friends time lines thankfully, how ever I am still going to make a statement.
Gender is between a person’s ears.
Transmen are men.
Transwomen are women.
Genderfuild people are either, & I respect them by being mindful of them, thier presentation on any given day, and which ever name/pronoun combination they need me to use.
Non gender binary people are those who are somewhere on the gender spectrum, I respect them by not expecting them to conform in any way to my ideas of gender presentation & using thier correct pronouns and names.
Agender people do not relate to being anywhere on the gender spectrum, I respect them by using the names and pronouns they need me to and by trying to not make gendered statements or assumptions about them.
Acknowledgement and acceptance are part of respect.
Gender is a spectrum, all people deserve respect.
Respect also means not outing a person to other people and being mindful when in public what I say. My words no matter how respectful may, in public but a person in danger or be used by strangers as an excuse to abuse or ridicule.
Yes this is far from the idea of people I grew up with, but life and people are always more wonderful than how it was dumbed down, to create sexist stereotypes.
I am always glad for the world stories and fantastic fiction I read as a teen which made me ponder beyond the gender binary.
I have zero time for not respecting people’s gender.
These are pretty important imho and should be played forward in all subcultures. I first read this when it was published 14 years ago, more people need to know about the Geek Social Fallacies. Examining our own behaviours and social circles for GSF is important the whole article is a damn good read
GSF also inspired other articles like this one on Geek Social Fallacies about Sex (may not be SFW)
and Geek Relationship Fallacies. Also it’s not just Geeks/Gamers/ect who do these things
GSF can allow for shitty behaviour to become accepted & normalized be by a person or a whole group of people.
Subcultures are for all people who are passionate about the things they do/read/watch/create.
I do want Irish Fandom/Geek/Maker/Activist spaces to be generally inclusive but intolerant to shitty behaviour, esp repeat shitty behaviour. Tolerating shitty behaviour in Fandom/Geek/Maker/Activist spaces is the broken windows of those spaces.
Geek social fallacies make dealing with such behaviour difficult & allows for too many ‘missing stairs’ to develop
http://pervocracy.blogspot.ie/2012/06/missing-stair.html (may not be SFW)
‘missing step’ is the shitty behaviour of a person which has become normalized, people adapt to them, being them, take safety measured but Sooner or later a new person will encounter this & suffer, cos we let it become normalised, & they don’t know the risk or history.
Honestly if I had my way I would have the Geek social Fallacies on the Jr Cert Social Personal and Health Education Curriculum SPHE.
This post is brought to you after I read this on facebook https://www.facebook.com/joch.mcarthur/posts/10103074134267273
The diversity in SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy), what ever the medium comics, film, Tv, books and video games is why I am a fan. I have had people wonder how my feminism, parses with my interest in SSF, what I have read, watched, played and loved as frankly fed my feminism.
Helped me dream of the world being a better place and of people dealing with each other with compassion. Helped me figure out what I would do in horrid situations, let me explore possibilities.
SFF has never been prefect, it won’t ever be, it is created by flawed humans, but it has never been the preserve of cis white hetro men not from the very beginning.
Yes as it has become mainstream and those looking to target the biggest section of the market for profit have started to present it as being of and for cis white hetro men, but that is spin.
SSF has always been diverse, women and girls have always created, organised, wrote, drawn, been the back bone of fandoms.
Yes Fandom and conventions are not perfect either, but they are a hell of a lot better then they were 20 years ago in my experience.
Which is why I am proud of the conventions I have been involved with, Shamrokon and Octocon and the work done to try and reflect that diversity and the joy SSF brings.
Hope to see many of you this weekend in the Camden Court Hotel for Octocon.
This was published after I traveled to Galway to be part of a discussion on this very issue as part of Galway Pride Festival.
— Siobhán (@WellNowUniverse) August 18, 2016
I got to meet a so many people, who had a range of sexualities and gender identities and I got asked to sign a cast.
I you want to know more click through to this months CGN issue and to page 16.
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.