Tag Archives: government

Tipperary for Yes

I was invited down to Nenagh by the Tipperary for yes team. It was wonderful to meet them, some of them I have been chatting with on twitter for years.

I had never been to Nenagh before and was looking forward to the trip. It isn’t a long journey down, it’s about two and a half hours, the same as getting to many other towns and city across the country.

I was speaking with Nurse Polly from Midwifes for Choice, Arlette Lyons from Terminations for Medical Reasons and Matt Doncel from Lawyers for choice.

We had a lot of questions about what provision (services) will look like after legislation and how it needs to be Free, Safe, Legal and Local so that people don’t have to travel to far to access it, esp with the proposed 72 hour waiting time.

Also about the process via which legislation goes through the Dáil and Senand, how that process may change the proposed legislation.

After (fingers crossed) we get a Yes result on the 26th of May we need to support our TDs in bringing forward the legislation. We need to tell them the type of legislation and provision we want to see across the country.

For a very long time the other side was regularly in contact with TDs making the point they would loose vote and possibly their seat if they did not fall in line with their ideology. We need to let our TDs know how many of us are Pro Repeal and Pro Choice and that they would loose our vote for voting against healthdcare inline with best international pratice and which has a human rights framework.

Unsure who your TDs are, you can find out here www.whoismytd.com  

Again thank you to Tipperary For Yes for inviting me down to speak.

Why we have the 8th Amendment in our Constitution.

 

Hello from Wexford, I was in invited down by Wexford Together for Yes to be a speaker at their meeting last night in the River Bank Hotel.

It was a great meeting with a lot of discussion, questions and people sharing their stories. I was one of three speakers, and was joined by Siona Cahill Vice President of USI and  Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty Ireland. It was my first time on a panel with Colm and it was lovely to be in his home county with him.

Why do we have the 8th Amendment?

Because from 1935 to 1978 contraception was illegal in Ireland. Contraception was legal at the founding of our State but in 1935 given the rise in the importation of contraception (mostly condoms) the then  Taoiseach after consultation with the Bishop changed the law so that the importation and sale of contraception was illegal.

This remained the case until 1973 when a lady name May McGee took a high court case and won the right to contraception on the grounds of privacy in marriage, but it took 5 years before legislation was passed and enacted.

On This Day: Mary McGee's Case

 

The fact contraception was made legal on the grounds of privacy caused a hell of a stir as it was on those grounds in the USA that abortion was made legal. And so the conservative forces set about working to get something in constitutional law which would forbid abortion.

And here we are 35 years later working to undo that, so that we may have compassionate healthcare here in Ireland.

24 days to go. Keep having the chats, the discussions. They are what is important. I had a lady ask me as I boarded the Wexford bus yesterday where did I get my badge as she hadn’t had a chance to get one yet. I gave her mine.

She asked was I sure and I told her no bother I would get another one at the meeting in Wexford town, she said she couldnt make that one cos of her kids, but would be making the fundraiser in a few days in Gormanstown. Talk to as many people as you can.

And if you have questions I can help with give me a shout,  either via twitter @janetos_ or email hello@janet.ie

Again thank you to those who donated to my go fundme for making all this possible.

Next stop for me is Dundalk on Wednesday the 2nd of May in the Táin arts centre at 7pm, Hope to see more of you there.

Rarely seen or heard…

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/putting-a-human-face-on-abortion-makes-all-the-difference-36830714.html

 

Putting a human face on abortion makes all the difference

Graphic posters should be countered by equally powerful images of women who’ve had abortions but are rarely seen or heard.

 

“Rarely seen or heard..”

Except for this 2013 award winning video by the Irish Family Planning association.

Except for the X-ile Project.

http://www.x-ileproject.com/

X-ile project is an ongoing online gallery of people who have accessed abortion services outside of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We welcome participation by trans men, non binary people and anyone who can be pregnant. Our objective is to give a much-needed face to those have effectively been exiled and ignored due to unduly restrictive and oppressive abortion laws. Our gallery demonstrates that those who choose to travel to have an abortion are responsible, ordinary people and are members of our communities. X-ile Project is changing the nature of conversations about abortion from the grassroots up. We believe that abortion and reproductive rights and the corresponding discussions should be led by those affected, not by politicians.

In recent times several women have come forward through various media outlets to share their abortion stories. X-ile Project builds on that important work by strengthening links between those who have travelled for abortion services. Our website launched on 10 December 2015 with our first group of 11 photographs. Our second group of photographs was launched on 23 February 2016. The third group of photographs was launched on 9 June 2016. Our gallery was increased to 50 photographs on 12 May 2017 following our #facethe50 campaign.

Except for those involved in Parents for Choice,

 

Except for those involved with The Abortion Rights Campaign

Except for the members of Terminations for Medical Reasons

 

And yet abortion and TFMR are medical matters and a person’s medical history is always private, yet plenty of people have come forward to waive that privacy to talk about their experiences and break the social stimga and taboo.

We shouldn’t have to be on posters, this is about our human rights, it is about compassion health care here in Ireland.

There were not posters of LGBT people up for the Marriage Equality, there should not be pictures of those who have had an abortion, we only but up images of people we are voting for in elections as we need to know who they are so we can judge their track record.

No one who needs to access or has accessed abortion care, needs to be judged like that, that only leads for more stigma. more unkind assumptions. People need access to free safe and legal abortion here in Ireland, no matter what they look like or no matter what their personal history or circumstances are.

Anyone who says that people have not been coming forward, needs to look around a bit more, say maybe at what else is being published in the very paper their opinion has appeared in.

 

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/its-time-to-vote-yes-and-bring-compassion-home-36830685.html

 

Abortion Rates

Countries which make abortion legal & bring in free contraception always see abortion rates drop. Right now we have no idea what the complete abortion rates for people living in Ireland is. This is due to a number of factors.

Not everyone who travels to the UK gives an Irish address, some will give the UK address of a friend or family member. Some people travel to The Netherlands & again don’t give an Irish address but a friends or family members address. Some travel to other countries but only the UK & the Netherlands report back stats of those who gave an Irish address.

Both & have given stats about the number of people who contact them, but again we don’t know how many are actually using the abortion pills. Some people may order them and then choose not to take them as they have had a change or circumstance.

Anytime you hear/read statements about increased abortion rates, remember we only have a guestiment of current numbers. But we do know, as in Switzerland making abortion legal + free contraception = low rates of abortion.

And free contraceptive services for anyone who needs them was recommended by the Joint Oirteachtas Committee and is part of the plans Simon Harris as Minister for Health will be putting in place.

So after we Vote Yes on the 25th of May we need to let the Minister and our TDs know we support Free contraceptive services for everyone.

This is one of the posts created with the support of my go fund me campaign.
Thank you

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.

 

 

Painting a different picture

They often say a picture is worth a thousand words and certainly pictures help to set the scene, the tone and context of an article. Which is why sometimes images which are paired with articles about abortion be it in the news, magazines or online can be problematic.

Often the go to image is that of a pregnant person. We have all seen them the headless pregnant woman who is 30+ weeks pregnant, is sometimes called the preggo belly shot. Sometimes the image is just a front close up  the preggo belly or other times the image is in silhouette, eliminating the woman from the image entirely.

The problem with those sorts of image it that it distorts the discussion of abortion before it even begins. The vast majority of abortions happen before 9 weeks, when person really has no outward signs of being pregnant at all. They can often be unfortunately paired with a really good pro choice piece.

Some online news outlets have gotten better at the image they choose, from using airplanes, pictures at protests rather then the preggo belly image or one of a distraught women. But how do we bring about a change in what pictures are used?

Often simply asking works. Campus.ie  recently published an article on Repealing the 8th amendment. It was by Tomás Heneghan and a great read but alas it had been paired with the preggo belly image. So Tomás and Campus.ie were asked over twitter could the image be changed; the suggestion was made for the article to have instead a stock image of a positive pregnancy test. And I’m delighted to say it was changed and it is a worth while read. http://campus.ie/surviving-college/politics/why-we-need-remove-eight-amendment

befunky_11557919223_0455d3ff7d_o.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now starting to see a new type of image being used on articles about abortion, that of women telling their stories,  which clearly makes the article and the discussions focused on the woman, her rights and her choice.  Which is why the photograph of Tara who shared her story of travelling staring into the camera brave, defiant and unflinching is such a powerful one.

image

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/tara-they-shouldn-t-have-control-over-my-uterus-1.2089490

This means we are seeing abortion being discussed a very different way in the media in this country, one which no longer promotes stigma and shame, and this creates the space to have different conversations which we have not been able to have before. There will be no going back, we can only hope that our legislators can find a fraction of the courage Tara and other women have had to do and set in motion the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment.

Corcaigh Abú; Cork City Council passed a motion to support a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment

Given the title of this blog, there maybe ancestors spinning in graves down in Kerry, but credit where it’s due.

Late last night during a 5 hour session, in which topics as varied as the lack of librarians to new cycle lanes were tackled after the summer recess, Cork City Council passed a motion to support a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment to the Constitution.

 

 

The motion was narrowly passed, making Cork City Council the first brave set of counselors to make such a call. Over the last 12 months County Councils all over the country, have passed motions in support of a referendum on Marriage Equality, setting precedent for this type of motion.

The 8th Amendment Article 40.3.3 which is 31 years old restricts doctors from offering health care that women need and has seen over 160,000 women have to travel to the UK and increasingly women risking the 14 years possible jail sentence as laid down in the Protection of Life in Maternity law last year.

The 8th amendment is also responsible for the high court being able to make drastic care orders like those which were imposed on Miss Y. “This amendment is incapable of adaptation to human needs. It’s broken. It’s dead. It needs to come out.” stated Mairead Enright of Lawyers for Choice at a meeting to build a coalition to Repeal the 8th amendment last Saturday, it seem Cork City Council is in agreement with this.

We want to thank those brave, compassionate 12 Councillors who passed this motion and those who voted them into office in the last local election. It is going to take more brave and compassionate people taking action to make this referendum happen, you can take part by signing The Abortion Rights Campaign’s petition to repeal the 8th amendment, by taking the National Women’s Council of Ireland action to contact your TDs telling them you want the 8th amendment repealed and by joining us on the March for Choice on the 27th of September.

thumbnail