The following is the text of a letter written by a number of regular HRinI contributors and signed by over 100 academics, which was published in the Irish Times today (full list of signators only available online). Here we have added a number of additional signatures received after the letter went to press. Others who wish to express their desire for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution should sign the petition organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign here.
We are people in or from Ireland. We are under the age of 50. We could not vote in the 1983 abortion referendum which profoundly limited women’s autonomy. No subsequent referendum has provided an opportunity to undo that damage. Many of us have lived our whole lives under an abortion regime in which we have had no say. As a generation we have grown up knowing that the State would compel us to travel if we wished to exercise substantive control over our reproductive lives. Continue reading “Time for Our Referendum”
From Wednesday 13 February, a new exhibition by Belfast based artist, Emma Campbell opens in The Copper House Gallery , Synge Street, Dublin 8. The title of Emma’s exhibition is When They Put Their Hands Out Like Scales. Running from February 13 to March 12 2013, Emma, through photography examines reproductive rights. All the photographs from this exhibition are taken from windows during journeys from abortion clinics between Liverpool and London. The abstract and introduction to this exhibition is as follows:
Power, exercised as control, has blighted the reproductive rights of humans worldwide for centuries.
National ideals of motherhood and acceptable female behaviour are threaded through anti-choice arguments. To represent the ‘abortion journey’ experience, in effect it becomes the “fulcrum of a much broader ideological struggle in which the very meanings of family, the state, motherhood, and …women’s sexuality are contested”.
The polemic surrounding abortion is bewildering. Ambiguity and conflict are played out in the passing landscapes and impersonal details of the journey to the clinic overseas, echoed by the political bluster and suffocating reality of the legal constrictions. Layers of glass and reflection acknowledge the obfuscatory and morally indignant language used by politicians and anti-choice campaigners.
The enforced exile across the sea to the former colonial bosom, shrouded in secrecy and shame, is still one of the few options for women in the island of Ireland.
All of these photographs were made sitting by windows during journeys to abortion clinics in Liverpool and London.
 Petchesky, Rosalind. Abortion and Women’s Choice: The State, Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom London: Verso 1986 pp. 69.
A rather curious survey by the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-availability of abortion non-profit organization) has cited Ireland and Poland (which in 1997 re-instated law outlawing abortion except when mother’s life at risk or she had been raped) as the only developed countries in the world where there is not adequate access to abortion, presumably because it is not legal in those countries. While there seems little purpose in re-igniting a debate that sends Irish people on both sides into fits of apoplectic fury (another referendum may be an inevitability if a future FG/Labour coalition achieves a sizeable majority and can thereby avoid destablisation) , it does signifying how far behind/ahead of the rest of our cohorts in the OECD are in this regard, and for that alone, it is worth noting. The Report itself is briefly mentioned in both the Irish Times and the BBC.
Continue reading “Ireland cited in Guttmacher Institute report on global abortion trends”
In July of last year, Ireland was examined by the UN Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR. The Committee identified Ireland’s abortion regime as an area of concern. It stated in its Concluding Observations that Ireland ‘should bring its abortion laws into line with the [ICCPR]. It should take measures to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies so that they do not have to resort to illegal or unsafe abortions that could put their lifes at risk or to abortions abroad’. As yet, the Government has taken no steps to do so. On Friday, October 16 the Irish Family Planning Association and the Women’s Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice will revisit this and other matters in a conference entitled ‘Building the Reproductive Justice Movement’ at the Morrison Hotel, Dublin 1. The keynote speakers will be Dr. Ruth Fletcher of Keele University and Loretta Ross of SisterSong, USA. The IFPA is 40 years old this year. But 2009 might be an important year for reproductive rights in Ireland for other reasons. On December 9, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear A, B and C v. Ireland; a challenge to Ireland’s ban on abortion.
Continue reading “A, B and C v. Ireland and IFPA 40th Anniversary Conference”