Tag Archives: family

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.

 

International Womens’ Day 2016

When I wrote about the 100th anniversary of International Womens’ Day 5 years ago, there was very little about it anywhere. There certainly wasn’t a Google Doodle, there weren’t images being shared on Facebook and Twitter.

We have come along way in the last 105 years, we have come along way in the last 5 years.

We now have more women in the Dáil then ever, the silence around reproductive rights is being broken, the women esp young women are not hesitant to call themselves feminists.Women are sharing about the stuff they put up with, which we shouldn’t have too.

But we have far to go, to #repealthe8th and undo the years of cultural sexism in our society. This was written the year I was born, 40 years ago and much of this work still needs to be done.

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I hope to live for at least another 40 and now more then ever I am optimistic that we will see the changes, we all need for a better, fairer, kinder society.

Happy International Womens’ Day!  Onwards and Upwards!

 

 

 

Octocon2015

I will be in the wonderful geeky bubble which is www.octocon.com all weekend.
Mind yourselves while I am off event running and getting to be on so many panels which are so inter sectional it has made me squee.

Panels on bodily autonomy in young adult fiction, on bisexual representation in fiction, on sex workers in fiction, on genderqueerness in fiction, on mental health & neuro diversity in fiction and fandom community and magic & pagan ism in fiction.

This is my schedule for the weekend, you can have a look at the rest of line up here

http://app.octocon.com/#

 

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Scifi/fantasy fandom has this rep of being all older cis white hetro men. It’s not. Both guests of honor this weekend are amazing and also women. Many of out guest authors joining us are women I admire, and I know I will also be surrounded by lovely feminist men.

I will be tweeting from @Octocon over the weekend if you want to see what I am up to.

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Bisexual Visibility Day 2015

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http://www.bivisibilityday.com/

 

Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been marked each year since 1999 to highlight biphobia and to help people find the bisexual community.

Events happening in Ireland,  The Bi+ Ireland Network have 4 meet ups happening in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.

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We’re an Ireland-wide organisation working to create social and community space for nonmonosexual people based in, from, or closely connected to Ireland. Our aim is to create a space where bi+ people can make friends, access peer support and reduce any isolation they may experience. We aim to increase the visibility and presence of bi+ people throughout the island and to create diverse, vibrant and welcoming communities.

Get in touch either through here or with our email: biirelandnetwork@gmail.com
or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1386176571628425/ or on twitter https://twitter.com/IRLBi

 

Every Autumn Equinox Bisexual people who can safely do so celebrate it in an effort to reduce bisexual erasure, and increase bisexual acceptance. This is important as bisexual people do not get the same support and acceptance gay and lesbian people do, from the gay or straight community. This leads to bisexual people being more likely to suffer from mental health issues and to struggle more in their life. Bisexual people are also more likely to also have experienced partner abuse as a result and also not to be out to friends and family.

Young people need to know that, yes for some people iding as bisexual is part of them discovering themselves and they may go on to eventually come out as gay, many people don’t. Bisexuality is a valid sexuality, it is not being confused, it is not being greedy, it is the ability to be sexually or romantically attracted to a person who’s gender is the same or different to your own.

Arcadecon 2015

Arcadecon is on this weekend 3rd to the 5th of August in the Crown Plaza Hotel, beside the Blanchardstown shopping center.

 

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It’s one of the few conventions I’ve not yet attended and I am looking forward it for a range of reasons. Most conventions I attend are usually focused on one aspect of fandom or geek pursuits, but this looks like a real all rounder.  I am looking forward to hearing Paul Bolger talk about , hopefully meeting Professor Elemental, attending the Kapow Burlesque, meeting members of the USS Cuchulain.

So much to see and do, I have images of the current time table below so people can have a look at what to expect over the weekend. As ever a time table is only every finalised after an event has finished.

Friday

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Saturday

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Sunday

 

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If anyone wants to talk to me about Octocon please do come find me, I may also have some Dublin2019 flyers with me.

The Myth about Teenagers and Abortion

The Minister for Justice on a recent interview on Newstalk, was asked about the UN’s Economic & Social Council’s recommendation to have a referendum on abortion.

 

http://www.newstalk.com/Justice-Minister-says-her-priority-is-not-on-holding-an-abortion-referendum

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights report states that Ireland must reform it’s abortion laws, including having a referendum however the Minster stated that she thinks the focus should be on crisis pregnancies and lowering the number of teenage crises pregnancies.

The Minster said that doing so would take education on the matter, however it is Minster Frances Fitzgerald who needs to be educated, on how teenagers from Ireland who access abortion in the UK are the minority of the women who travel. These statistics are easily available, the Irish Family Planning Association has them up on their website. https://www.ifpa.ie/Hot-Topics/Abortion/Statistics

UK Department of Health Stastics 2014UK Department of Health Stastics 2014 Teenagers - 20 and over

Graphics by @jamesfbrophy

 

Teenagers made up less than 8% of women that travelled last year, and the numbers for the last 12 years show that teenagers have not been the majority.

 

2014

This is a myth which we must bust, that it is irresponsible young women who have abortions. When the facts are that no contraceptive method is 100% effective and the most recent statics from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service show that more than half of women (54%) who use their services (including women travelling from Ireland) have already given birth.

Even if we did have contraception which was 100% effective there would still be unintended pregnancies, as those who perpetuate sexual abuse do not check to make sure their victims are using contraception and no woman should have to be on contraception just encase they become a victim of sexual abuse.

Even if we could wave a magic wand and every pregnancy would be an intended pregnancy, there are still reasons why abortion maybe needed, due to the risks to a woman’s health not just her life and in cases of Fatal Fetal Abnormalities when a woman does not wish to continue the pregnancy.

We do need a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment before we can bring in any Abortion Rights, so that women no longer have to travel to the UK, often being separated from family when they need support.

We do need education about all of the many reason’s why abortion is part of health care.

We do need education about how early access to abortion is best for women and the majority of abortions carried out in the UK are before 10 weeks, with the abortion pills which women should be able to access here via their GP.

We do need education to stop the spread of the absurd myth that it is mostly teenagers who access abortion services, esp by our Ministers.

 

 

The Myth about Teenagers and Abortion

The Minister for Justice on a recent interview on Newstalk, was asked about the UN’s Economic & Social Council’s recommendation to have a referendum on abortion.

 

http://www.newstalk.com/Justice-Minister-says-her-priority-is-not-on-holding-an-abortion-referendum

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights report states that Ireland must reform it’s abortion laws, including having a referendum however the Minster stated that she thinks the focus should be on crisis pregnancies and lowering the number of teenage crises pregnancies.

The Minster said that doing so would take education on the matter, however it is Minster Frances Fitzgerald who needs to be educated, on how teenagers from Ireland who access abortion in the UK are the minority of the women who travel. These statistics are easily available, the Irish Family Planning Association has them up on their website. https://www.ifpa.ie/Hot-Topics/Abortion/Statistics

UK Department of Health Stastics 2014UK Department of Health Stastics 2014 Teenagers - 20 and over

Graphics by @jamesfbrophy

 

Teenagers made up less than 8% of women that travelled last year, and the numbers for the last 12 years show that teenagers have not been the majority.

 

2014

This is a myth which we must bust, that it is irresponsible young women who have abortions. When the facts are that no contraceptive method is 100% effective and the most recent statics from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service show that more than half of women (54%) who use their services (including women travelling from Ireland) have already given birth.

Even if we did have contraception which was 100% effective there would still be unintended pregnancies, as those who perpetuate sexual abuse do not check to make sure their victims are using contraception and no woman should have to be on contraception just encase they become a victim of sexual abuse.

Even if we could wave a magic wand and every pregnancy would be an intended pregnancy, there are still reasons why abortion maybe needed, due to the risks to a woman’s health not just her life and in cases of Fatal Fetal Abnormalities when a woman does not wish to continue the pregnancy.

We do need a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment before we can bring in any Abortion Rights, so that women no longer have to travel to the UK, often being separated from family when they need support.

We do need education about all of the many reason’s why abortion is part of health care.

We do need education about how early access to abortion is best for women and the majority of abortions carried out in the UK are before 10 weeks, with the abortion pills which women should be able to access here via their GP.

We do need education to stop the spread of the absurd myth that it is mostly teenagers who access abortion services, esp by our Ministers.

 

 

A mile in our shoes, Canvassing for Yes Equality.

I meet a couple while canvassing this evening, they opened the door exclaiming they were voting yes, and how glad they were to be at home and to be canvassed. They came out, one of them holding their dog, telling me the whole road was voting yes and that they had told friends and family if they wanted to come to their wedding that they had to vote yes.

They were both very emotional to see a group of strangers they didn’t know out asking for a Yes vote for their right to marry. They asked what the response on the doors had been like and how they their nerves would be shot until the result on Saturday. They held hands saying thanking us for caring and canvassing.

There are real people, like this up and down this country of ours who are feeling supported and hopeful, I just hope the result doesn’t dash our hopes and dreams.

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Why I wish my kids school had policies like Colaiste Eoin

Colaiste Eoin hit national press when they postponed at very short notice a workshop which Shoutout.ie were due to give to it’s Transition Year students.

http://www.thejournal.ie/homophobic-bullying-school-row-1906866-Jan2015/

 

The term postponed is important, the school does intend to run the workshop but has had to delay it due to letters which were sent to the school by parents of children due to take the workshop.

These letters would have automatically triggered a procedure were the letters and their contents would have to be discussed and be responded to by the Board of Management. Once the school opened the letters there was no other option but to postpone the workshop. We have no idea when the school got or opened the letter but them arriving that morning would explain why Shoutout’s team weren’t contacted sooner.

Why do I want my children’s school to have the same policies re external groups?

Because I have had the experience of only finding out that Accord the catholic marriage counselling agency were invited in to give a workshop on relationships (which only dealt with hetrosexual relationships) with one of my children when a text message was sent saying they class would be home early for lunch due to the workshop when the workshop had already started. http://www.accord.ie/services/schools-programmes

I rang the school very not impressed and had to arrange to have my child come home so we could talk about that situation and see if they wanted to opt out or return to take part in the work shop. They were not pleased at the situation and said the person giving the workshop never disclosed they were from a catholic organisation.

My children’s school does not have a policy of letting parents know an external group is coming in, The Gideons have been invited in and  handed out their teen abridged bibles to my children in their class, with out prior notice or option to opt out my children who are not Christian.

Yes the timing of the postponement of Shoutout’s workshop was really horrid, but I still wish that I would be informed of external groups and be given the chance to object and/or opt out my children. I have been working to get my children’s school to adopt the same polices Colaiste Eoin operates under.

Yes in this instance those policies have been used by what seems to be conservative parents in relation to an LGBT workshop, but that does not mean that the polices and procedures are wrong.

I hope that Colaiste Eoin can have a Board of Management meeting soon to address the concerns of the parents and arrangements can be made to opt out those children if necessary, as it the right of parents to ask for as under out constitution parents are the primary educators of their children.

As for the comments about “both sides”, given that the Shoutout’s workshops ran for the last two years in Colaiste Eoin, the school may have been taken aback by the letters and whom ever made that comment was right in the context that the letters and both sides have to be heard by the board of management. It could be that the parent’s don’t want to opt their children out but just had misgivings and needed more information before agreeing to their children taking part, we don’t know as the content of the letters is unknown.

My compassion is with the administration of the school as they have been unexpectedly thrust into the national spotlight and have enough to be doing with running the school,  dealing with the day today and the situation with out having to deal with press inquiries.

I know it may seems strange that a parent like myself who is an LGBT and Reproductive Rights Activist is standing up for those parents to excise their right to input in this situation but as I have said I think it’s a right all parents should have and all schools should be informing parents about which external groups are getting access to their children.