Sunday the 10th of March the news broke that 100 people had put their names to a letter stating they had broken the law in Northen Ireland, either by getting and taking abortion pills or assisting in a woman getting them.
100 Northern Irish women admit the use of abortion drugs in open letter: http://t.co/VP1ZdilGLq
— AllianceforChoice (@Alliance4Choice) March 10, 2013
So far the Crown prosecution has seemed reluctant to pursue such cases and to not bring the law under public scrutiny but with the moves made last week to make it illegal for the Marie Stopes clinic or indeed any private clinic to offer abortions in the 6 counties, this wonderful action has happened.
This tactic of people coming forward has happened before in other countries were it was illegal to have an abortion. It happened first in France Le Nouvel Observateur on April 5, 1971 published the Manifesto of the 343 (as 343 women signed it), which was written by Simone de Beauvoir and stated.
One million women in France have an abortion every year.
Condemned to secrecy, they have them in dangerous conditions when this procedure, performed under medical supervision, is one of the simplest.
These women are veiled in silence.
I declare that I am one of them. I have had an abortion.
Just as we demand free access to birth control, we demand the freedom to have an abortion.
Two months later Stern Magazine which was based in Hamburg in what was then in West Germany ran it’s cover with images of women and the title on the front page was “Wir haben abgetrieben” “We have aborted” it had the stories of 374 women.
A year later in 1972 the first issue of Ms. magazine carried an “We Have Had Abortions,” statement signed by 50 women, who asked for people to join them in
a “campaign for honesty and freedom”.
And finally 40 years later we have a statement from women who live on the Island of Ireland stating they have broke the law and had an abortion and those who have helped them do it.
Names are still being added
Names still being added to open letter. If you live in NI and want to sign please get in touch.
— AllianceforChoice (@Alliance4Choice) March 11, 2013
We salute these brave men and women who may face legal sanctions, but who have decided to come forward and end their silence to help break the taboo and normalise abortion in the North of Ireland and to call for services needed by women.