I’ve been rather sick the last week or so, I even lost my voice!
But now that it is back I am going to record pretty much the speech which I have been giving all around the country for the last few years.
The wonderful team of @TipperaryForYes #Together4Yes #VoteYes #VoteYes pic.twitter.com/fNQwgqW2GD
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) May 10, 2018
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 fantastic Information Evening in Nenagh last night!
Thanks so much to our inspiring speakers, @JanetOS_ @MattDoncel @NursepollyRgn and @Arlettemlyons!!@Midwives4Choice @Lawyers4Choice @TFMRIRE #TogetherForYes @Together4Yes #RepealThe8th #TippRepealers #TeamTipp pic.twitter.com/SBihyBdJD4
— Tipp Together for Yes (@TipperaryForYes) May 11, 2018
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
#Together4Yes @TipperaryForYes #VoteYes pic.twitter.com/asHoaGIkTO
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) May 10, 2018
Again thank you to Tipperary For Yes for inviting me down to speak.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
A lil bit about #repealthe8th not just being a woman’s issue.
Now more then ever I am glad I spoke up & worked to ensure that the Abortion Rights Campaign is trans/non binary and gender fliud inclusive . I helped write this in 2015
We live in a post gender recognition Ireland, I always mention this when speaking at events. It has even caused my opponents to edit their language & acknowledge this. This happened with Mrs Caroline Simmons of the Pro Life Campaign when we were speaker at a debate in NUIG.
I have been very, very fortunate to have people in my life who happen to be trans, who took the time to talk to me. To explain & at times correct me when I assumed or screwed up. I sure as hell don’t always get it right, I try. I know I fecked up already this year and me being not sober & it being 3am didn’t excuse it.
I have always tried to include non cis people when I talk about reproductive rights, because its the least I can do, to maybe make the world a lil less tough.
A while ago family member came out to me as not cis. They were figuring things out, they had professional help, I was the first family member they told. I was honoured
Recently they have come out to friends and family as being a bloke. I am so happy for him. He can get on with living his life as his real self.
I am very aware the the 8th still effects him, same as it does me, but accessing healthcare for him, especially if he should need to travel will be a bit more complicated. I still love him dearly that was never going to change, & he’s thanked me for being as inclusive as i have been & how some of the conversation I have had with extended family help him.
Being inclusive was always important to me, but now more then ever I am grateful for all the times I have said pregnant person or people who can become pregnant. And I am going to keep saying it, because it is important, esp when all of the mainstream messaging is currently women & girls.
The wonderful the Abortion Support Network https://www.asn.org.uk/is trans inclusive & supportive, they only care if a person needs help & if they can help them
At the #Marches4choice @freesafelegal have had trans people speaking, @freesafelegal also worked with @TENI_Tweets when formulating how to talk about abortion & not be utterly woman centric.
Yes the Abortion Rights Campaign got abuse from some ‘feminists’ for doing so, I have gotten it too, but now more then ever I am glad to be a ‘bad’ feminist saying pregnant people, cos now it’s close to home & family.
I don’t know of we will see any main stream campaign messages re non cis people, but I still support ye and wont stop saying pregnant people. We work to ensure we have enough Yes Votes on the 25th of May so that we Repeal the 8th Amendment for everyone so we can all access the healthcare we need.
I hopped on the bus down to Strokestown for the launch of Roscommon Together For Yes, it’s one I have done a few times to Strokestown it’s not even a 3 hour trip which is always nice to sit and read and relax for.
I was still invited down to attend the launch and to meet the members of Roscommon Together For Yes, who had been Ros for Choice part of the Abortion Rights Campaign region groups before they re branded for the referendum.
I meet up with them in the bar of the Percy French Hotel were the event was on later. We chatted about posters, the campaign, how they hoped the launch would mean more people would sign up to canvass, about when posters would be up and the add they placed in the local paper about the event. They were delighted to find out I have been a frequent visitor to Strokestown.
Last night the room was packed out with people tipping over the boarder to attend. It like all the extra mentions in national papers helped. Thanks John. pic.twitter.com/wqt4ZQYH9J
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) April 21, 2018
There were exhibitions in the room as well, one was this amazing display of 20 shoes, one for every person we know traveled to the UK to have an abortion in 2016.
#strokestown 20 shoes, one for each person who travelled from Roscommon in 2016 #repealthe8th #together4yes pic.twitter.com/aLjADnTU1m
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) April 20, 2018
And the amazing http://everydaystories.org/
Which was set up by an amazing Rocommon native who also founded Voices for Choice Choir.
The outstanding @es_irl have a small exhibition here too #strokestown #Together4Yes #VoteYes #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/emobRy0hUL
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) April 20, 2018
Everyday stories is an exhibition which is currently traveling and if any group wants to host it please get in touch with them. There is also a discussion workshop which can be sent out to people to run.
- Any groups or individuals may host an event. Workshops have been held in cafés, pubs and living rooms – whatever space you feel comfortable in.
- A phone + internet / mp3 player is required to play the audio. A speaker is recommended if your group is larger than 4 people.
Please get in touch if you would like to host an event.
The speakers at the Roscommon Together For Yes were wonderful.
Our fantastic speakers: Minister @josephamadigan, @mummakeupbag of @TFMRIRE l, @NursepollyRgn of @Midwives4Choice and @DrMarkMurphy of @Doctors4Choice #Roscommon4Yes #Together4Yes pic.twitter.com/GWEMFepsvC
— Roscommon Together for Yes (@RosForChoice) April 20, 2018
The Minsters Speech was powerful, I still get very moved when TDs and Minsters speak about the Harm the 8th Amendment causes and how we need to remove it for compassionate healthcare here in Ireland. It is so wonderful that so many of them are on board and echoing what we have been saying for the last 6 or so years.
Nurse Polly spoke about how she can not do her job and how legally there are things which she can do to a pregnant person while they are giving birth with out their consent that in any other context would be assault and how this has to change and how she wants to be able to care for all her patients.
Tracey from Terminations for Medical Reasons spoke about being are parent with 3 children already who had deal with a fourth pregnancy which ended tragically after a diagnosis of a Fatal Featal abnormality. How she and her husband had thought naively after the diagnosis was confirmed that she would be induced here at home.
Instead she has to take on trying to get an appointment in Liverpool women’s hospital and make all the travel arrangements which took weeks, all the while people were asking the types of questions they do, about when are you due, are you hoping for a boy or a girl, are your other kids excited to get a new baby.
She spoke of the compassion, dignity and care she experienced there and how that was lacking here due to the 8th amendment.
The we hear from Dr Mark Murphy who explained what a medical abortion with pills is like, how drs and all medical staff will be able to opt out of providing abortion services same as they do with contraceptive services using the conscience clause.
That no form of contraceptive is 100% and even when people are doing all they should do, unplanned pregnancies can still happen, drs deal with this everyday and most of the people who have an abortion are already parents.
The Roscommon Together For Yes were amazing and live tweeted the meeting you can read it on thier account if you want to know more. https://twitter.com/RosForChoice
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) April 21, 2018
I want to give a special thanks to Nurse Polly stepped up to be a speaker at the launch when I had to step down. I have no doubt we will be sharing a platform soon at other meetings around the country.
The Welcome I got in Roscommon was wonderful and if there is time over the next 5 weeks I will absolutely be back, maybe to do something in the north of the county.
Just got given an awesome fridge magnet. @RosForChoice #Together4Yes #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/DzNJYkWf3L
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) April 20, 2018
Again thanks to all those who supported my gofundme which made this possible.
Novemember 2012, nearly 6 years ago, was the first time I came to stay in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. I had passed through it before on the bus out to stay with friends in Balllina. I know I am that strange Dublin person who actually travels outside of the Pale.
My friend Lora O’Brien had asked me to come and be a speaker at a two day Goddess conference in the Visitor centre in Tlusk. where she was the manager. I had agreed to do this before the death of Savita had broken and that Saturday I was in Strokestown and not attending one of the vigils and Marches which sprung up all over the country. I knew how many there were as I was at the time the sole admin for the Irish Choice Networks website and I kept updating the list there and on the ICN facebook page.
I kept my speaking commitment and on the way down in the car I got talking with friends about abortion and about what had happened to Savita, about the law here and about the restrictions the 8th Amendment put in place.
When we arrive into Lora’s the conversation continued after she had welcomed us and made us tea. She said that she didn’t think things were going to change as abortion wasn’t really such a common thing, as sure none of her friends had had an abortion.
I looked at her and smiled and said “Hi I am one of your friends and I have had an abortion”. That was the first of many, many conversations I was to have with friends over the coming months. While the vast majority of my friends knew I was very prochoice, I still hadn’t disclosed that I myself had travelled.
From November through to the end of January 2013 I told more of my friends, I had those conversations. I am blessed they were so supportive, and so at the meeting at which the name of the Abortion Rights Campaign was announced, I publically stated for the first time in person to a room of mostly strangers that “I had an abortion”.
This all started in Strokestown, which I came back to visit frequently, even spending summer holidays here with my children and celebrating Winter solstice and Summer solstice with friends and family.
And here I am again in Strokestown, today as Roscommon For Yes launches as we finally have a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment. When I said I would travel to as many counties as possible I contacted a range of groups and let the schedule evolve as it would. And so the first place I find myself invited to is Strokestown.
Its funny but for me personally not surprising as this place is for me connected with the Goddess I have the deepest connection with that of the Great Queen also know as An Mór-Ríoghain or The Morrigan.
The Warrior Queen, the Battle Crow, the Goddess of Sovereignty. And that is what we have been fighting for the rights of sovereignty over our own bodies. The last few years haven’t been easy, hell the last few months have not been easy, but I know She has had my back. So I am happy to make this pilgrimage here.
I have always smiled when some have called me the Witch involved with the abortion rights campaign, yes I am a pagan, I have never hidden it. I spoke about it on the @Ireland account at the start of the week when I was a curator, Lora did too.
There are as many pagans in Ireland as there are Jewish people according to the last census, we are people just like everyone else, who’s spiritual life, helps us through the hard time and helps us celebrate the good times.
So I am delighted and honoured to be here in Strokestown today.
Thank you to those who donated to my Fundme who made this trip and blog post possible.
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.
@WomenHelpOrg & @abortionpil 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.