abortion, feminism, feminist, gender, Ireland, misogyny, pro-choice, pro-life, Uncategorized, women

Let’s be Real, No-one Celebrates Abortion

On May 25th 2018, Ireland made history.

Less than two weeks ago, a majority voted to repeal the 8th Amendment from the Irish constitution, legalisng abortion in Ireland up to 12 weeks and beyond in exceptional circumstances.

Capture

Fig. 1: Irish Times exit poll prediction

I won’t lie, I rejoiced, I celebrated privately and via my social media accounts. I applauded Ireland’s decision to respect women’s autonomy and agency and wept with joy.

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan would have been disgusted with me. Fr Cullinan apparently didn’t pick up on the public distaste with the clergy’s involvement in the campaign; certainly, I spoke to countless Yes voters who specifically flinched at Church involvement and campaigning for the No Vote, many of whom cited Tuam and the Magdalene Laundries as enough cause for silence in these matters. I even spoke with several undecided and No voters who blanched at Church involvement.

But that isn’t the issue here; the issue, once again, is the habitual act of construing the act of celebration in the wake of the Yes vote:

“I was horrified to see the jumping and roaring and cheering in Dublin Castle last Saturday. How can you cheer about abortion?”

Cullinan, as so many before him, purposefully redefined the events in Dublin Castle as a celebration of abortion.

Let’s be real here though, no-one celebrates abortion. No-one toasts a cheers to that difficult decision or memorializes the occasion with photographs. Abortion is not an easy made resolution; I am sure (though I thankful have never been in the position) that is is anxiously agonized over. I know this because no-one I have spoken to would ever wish to be in that situation.

Rather, the women and men who stood in Dublin Castle celebrated women’s rights; like me, they rejoiced in the safety and care which Repeal demanded for all women in Ireland. They reveled with the proof that women’s agency and autonomy mattered to a two-thirds majority; that the 8th Amendment which rendered women’s bodies as vessels, as containers, as nothing more than baby makers, was no longer a representation of Ireland or its people.

What Cullinan deemed a celebration of abortion demeaned every woman who has ever had to make that decision, and take those difficult steps – often outside of Ireland, perhaps to back street, clandestine clinics, or in the privacy of their own homes with a pill and no supervision or even witness to their act. What Cullinan did, once again, was to attempt to shame the brave and the fearful women who have made that difficult choice.

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feminism, feminist, GBV, gender, Ireland, misogyny, personal, politics, pro-choice, race, racism, rape, sexism, strenght, violence, Violence Against Women, women

Post-March Hope

There will be less political antagonism in this post than a sense of positivity and hope (I hope…).

The post-Women’s March euphoria is upon us, and I haven’t truly come down from that high. In the face of overwhelming intolerance and hate, and the knowledge of four (possibly though hopefully not more than four) years of threats and risky policy cuts, the Women’s March proved that when they go low, we go high.

Despite the sense of anger and fear which wrought it’s insemination following the Trump victory, the women and allies in Ireland took to the streets with a sense of courage, determination and hope in what they could achieve via resistance and solidarity.

For this gathering the political overtures of what could and is occurring across the pond largely mirrored the concerns facing the Irish constituency: a Trump government threatens to ban and limit abortion access to the same circumstances which Irish women suffer and which ignites the Repeal the Eight movement; Trump and co’s misogynistic and racist practices mimic much of the vitriol which grows in this post-Brexit atmosphere; Trump has been accused by no less than a dozen women of sexual assault and harassment, in 2015 approximately 16,375 incidents of domestic violence were disclosed (Women’s Aid, Ireland) how many more victims still suffer in silence is a testament to the fear which men like Donald Trump instill.

In the face of these facts and fears, the women and allies of Ireland gathered peacefully and hopefully, chanting slogans and bearing placards both hilarious and quieting. We cheered the sponsors and speakers of the event with gusto, we welcomed the challenge gravely and bravely, we sang as one that those sisters and allies in the USA and worldwide who needed our support could certainly rely and lean on us in the future.

Nasty women, bad hombres and the next generation of children who deserve better stood united in protesting the intolerance and hate which a Trump administration stands for. The accumulation of nearly 3 million protesters worldwide attested to the fact that so many liberal snowflakes would, indeed, make a significant avalanche.

 

abortion, abuse, advice, feminism, feminist, misogyny, pro-choice, pro-life, Uncategorized, women

Ireland’s New Abortion Laws

After the tragedy that was Savita Halappanavar and child’s untimely deaths (the mother’s being more than preventable)  in 2012, the Irish government is finally inducting new laws which aim at protecting the life of the mother.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 will ensure that doctors can protect the life of the mother if the pregnancy poses “real and substantial” risks, including the threat of suicide.

The new laws seem even more essential after the Health Information and Quality Authority in October 2013   published a report detailing Savita’s case, and stating firmly and clearly that the Irish health system had failed in giving her the most basic of health treatments and therein preventing her death.

Yet, despite the obvious sense and humanity (especially concerning women) in the coming law, controversy continues to surround the much needed changes; one priest recently resigned from the board of a Catholic-owned hospital after they agreed to the new legislation while many more continue to protest and employ pro-life scare tactics, as seen in the image below and many of their (often false) publication and so-called “findings.”

0e1786185_tears-billboard-mk1

For me, the real question which needs to be asked here is whether this legislation is really enough? Of course, it is extremely significant in terms of protecting the mother and is a huge step for the pro-choice movement and Irish women in general; yet does it go far enough? The legislation, after all, does not protect the mother in cases of rape, incest, foetal abnormality, or inevitable miscarriage which does not affect the mother’s health (accept, of course, her own sense of self and mental health…). Article 40.3.3 which equates the mothers life with that of the unborn foetus does not permit abortion in these cases, although the right to travel remains within the mother’s constitutional rights. In the case of fatal foetal abnormalities, of the estimated 1,500 cases diagnosed in Ireland every year almost 80 per cent of these women will travel to Great Britain in order to obtain an abortion; meanwhile an estimated 4,000 Irish women traveled to Britain in 2012 for the same procedure.

Yet, the demonisation and attack on women who consider, have, or admit they have had an abortion remains pertinent even in our modern culture. Women are treated as unworthy of control over their own bodies; they are incapable of making mature, conscious, and truly aware decisions regarding their bodies; they are not granted complete recognition as a human being because women’s bodies are a public property and belong to a public who demonise abortion simply due to old world understandings, false accusations, scare tactics, and archaic religious beliefs.

Is this how women deserve to be treated?

abortion, feminism, feminist, misogyny, poetry, pro-choice, pro-life, sexism, women

“What Women Deserve” Sonya Renee

Sonya Renee brilliantly slams the anti-choice/pro-life movement and the organisations and governments which defend and protect their scare tactics and which, yet, will not actually help these women once they have children. “Women Deserve Better” highlights the race and class issues surrounding abortion, pregnancy, and motherhood and, significantly,  how society uses these issues to control these women and keep them from actually improving their own lives before actually deciding to have children in their own time.

Renee, herself, is a feminist activist as well as a national and international poetry slam champion. She is also founder and CEO of The Body is Not an Apology which focuses on “radical self love and body empowerment” and invites individuals to join the “unapologetic posse” encouraging women to “dismantle their personal body shame by reminding themselves of their individual amazingness on a regular basis Help their friends and loved ones see how body shame is keeping them from living their best lives and encourage them to live unapologetic existences Share information, resources, and inspiration with each other as we all take the journey toward radical unapologetic self love!”

Her website states:

We believe that each time you unapologetically own your beauty, love your scars, heal your shame; you in turn give us permission to do the same! It is time to live UNAPOLGETICALLY!

Join their movement here: http://www.thebodyisnotanapology.com/#!

Her live performance is emotional, powerful, and full of the strength women are truly capable of.

 

Culturally-diversified biracial girl with

a small diamond nose ring and a pretty smile
poses besides the words
“Women Deserve Better”.

and I almost let her non-threatening grin
begin to infiltrate my psyche
until I read the unlikely small print
at the bottom of the ad:
Sponsored by the US Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
and the Knights of Columbus

On a bus
in a city
with a population of 553,000,
4 teenage mothers on the bus with me,
1 Latina woman with 3 children under 3
and no signs of a daddy.

One sixteen year old black girl
standing in 22-degree weather
with only a sweater
a book bag
and a bassinette,
with an infant that ain’t even four weeks yet
tell me that Yes ….
Women do deserve better.

Women deserve better
than public transportation rhetoric
from the same people who
won’t give that teenage mother
a ride to the next transit.
Won’t let you talk to their kids about safer sex
Have never had to listen as the door SLAMS
behind the man who adamantly says,
“That shit” ain’t his
leaving her to wonder how she’ll raise this kid.

Women deserve better
than the 300 dollars TANF and AFC
will provide that family of three
or the 6 dollar an hour job at KFC
with no benefits for her new baby
or the college degree she may never see
because you can’t have infants at the university

Women deserve better
than lip service paid for by politicians
who have no alternatives to abortion
though I am sure
right this moment one of their seventeen year old daughters
is sitting in a clinic lobby
sobbing quietly and anonymously
praying parents don’t find out
or will be waiting for mom to pick her up because research shows
that out-of-wedlock childbirth doesn’t look good on political polls and
Daddy ain’t having that.

Women deserve better
than backwards governmental policies
that don’t want to pay
for welfare for kids
or health care for kids
or child care for kids
Don’t want to pay living wages to working mothers,
Don’t want to make men who only want to be last night’s lovers
responsible for the semen they lay.

Flat out don’t want to pay for SHIT
but want to control the woman who’s having it.
Acting outraged at abortion.
Well I’m outraged
that they want us to believe
that they believe
that women deserve better.

The Vatican won’t prosecute pedophile priests
But I decide I’m not ready for motherhood
and it’s condemnation for me
These are the same people who won’t support
national condom distribution to prevent teenage pregnancy.
But women deserve better.

Women deserve better
than back-alley surgeries
that leave our wombs barren and empty.
Deserve better
than organizations bearing the name
of land-stealing racist rapists
funding million dollar campaigns on subway trains
with no money to give these women
while balding middle-aged white men
tell us what to do with our bodies
while they wage wars and kill other people’s babies

So maybe women deserve better
than propaganda and lies
to get into office
Propaganda and lies
to get into panties
to get out of court
to get out of paying child support

Get the hell out of our decisions
and give us back our voice
Women do deserve better
Women deserve choice