Michelle had her abortion alone in a small apartment in Limerick, Ireland.
The 25-year-old postgraduate student waited until her flatmate had left for the weekend before swallowing the pills she’d gone to Belfast to collect earlier that week. “I didn’t know her that well,” she says. “I didn’t know really anyone in the city. I’d just started my Masters and was pregnant after a one night stand.”
She describes taking the pills alone as one of the most terrifying experiences of her life. “I knew it would hurt but I had no idea it would be so bad,” she says. “An hour or so after taking the pills I started vomiting and felt like I had the worst fever. Then the cramps started, I was trapped in my tiny bathroom. It went on for six hours. I kept feeling like I was going to pass out and wondered what would happen to me if I bled out, who could I call? I was completely alone,” she says.
Michelle is one of the thousands of Irish women who are forced to illegally order abortion pills online every year to terminate unwanted pregnancies. She could face 14 years in prison for it under Irish law, which criminalises women who have abortions.
“I couldn’t tell anyone why I was sick,” she says. “I was so ashamed but now I’m just angry. I felt like an animal, like a creature the Irish state didn’t recognise as human.”
Like Michelle, Suzanne Lee decided to buy abortion pills online, and she also had to choose who she told carefully. The 22-year-old from Belfast was living in Dublin and couldn’t afford to go to the United Kingdom for a legal abortion.
“Close friends knew that I was going down the illegal route, but I guess I was worried about telling other people due to how they’d react. There’s a lot of scare stories about how dangerous abortion pills are and I just didn’t need the stress of having to justify what I was doing to people,” she says.
A pro choice activist for several years, Suzanne took the bold step of contacting the Police Service of Northern Ireland, challenging them to prosecute her for breaking a law she describes as a “joke”.
“At the time of getting and taking the pills it never really was a factor that they were illegal. I just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore and I guess that’s all that was on my mind. The legal implications only occurred to me when I went public and the media were concerned for my safety. At this stage I really don’t think the state has the backbone to come after me, the law is just a joke,” she says…
read the rest of this piece here: VICE
Who is most responsible for high abortion rates? The religious right.
By George Monbiot, 13th January 2016
Here is the fact that everyone debating abortion should know. There is no association between its legality and its incidence. In other words, banning abortion does not stop the practice; it merely makes it more dangerous.
The abortion debate is presented as a conflict between the rights of embryos and the rights of women. Enhance one, both sides sometimes appear to agree, and you suppress the other. But once you grasp the fact that legalising women’s reproductive rights does not raise the incidence of induced abortions, only one issue remains to be debated. Should they be legal and safe or illegal and dangerous? Hmmm, tough question.
There might be no causal relationship between reproductive choice and the incidence of abortion, but there is a strong correlation: an inverse one. As the Lancet’s most recent survey of global rates and trends notes, “The abortion rate was lower … where more women live under liberal abortion laws.”
Why? Because laws restricting abortion tend to be most prevalent in places where contraception and comprehensive sex education are hard to obtain, and in which sex and childbirth outside marriage are anathematised. Young people have sex, whatever their elders say; they always have and always will. Those with the least information and the least access to birth control are the most likely to suffer unintended pregnancies. And what greater incentive could there be for terminating a pregnancy than a culture in which reproduction out of wedlock is a mortal sin?
How many more centuries of misery, mutilation and mortality are required before we understand that women – young or middle aged, within marriage or without – who do not want a child may go to almost any lengths to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
How much more evidence do we need that, in the absence of legal, safe procedures, such sophisticated surgical instruments as wire coathangers, knitting needles, bleach and turpentine will be deployed instead?
How many more poisonings, punctured guts and burst wombs are required before we recognise that prohibition and moral suasion will not trounce women’s need to own their lives?………………..
…….The religious conservatives who oppose these measures have blood on their hands. They are responsible for high abortion rates; they are responsible for the injury and death of women. And they have the flaming cheek to talk about the sanctity of life.
read full article here. www.monbiot.com
You may also need these contacts:
- Abortion Advice Ireland – abortionchoices.org
- Decriminalise abortion in Ireland | Amnesty International UK
- #Pro-Choice protests today in #Ireland – #abortion rights now –
- Abortion Rights Campaign Ireland
- Crisis Pregnancy and Abortion Information | Choice Ireland