How Abortion Pills Changed the Political Debate in Ireland

Analysis by Clara Ferreira Marques
May 17, 2022

If the US Supreme Court overturns the five-decade-old constitutional right to abortion, as expected, many women will find it far harder to end an unwanted pregnancy. But this won’t be a return to pre-1973, largely thanks to changes to medical technology. Abortion pills, often taken at home, are already making the reality of abortion easier and safer in the early stages of gestation. And even with inevitable new restrictions, they are set to change the political fight too.

Sydney Calkin is a senior lecturer in human geography at Queen Mary University of London and the author of a forthcoming book,  “Abortion Beyond Borders: Abortion Pills and the Future of Reproductive Freedoms.” Her work has focused on cross-border abortion access and activism, an area where politics, gender and reproduction overlap. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/how-abortion-pills-changed-the-political-debate-in-ireland/2022/05/17/f409c526-d5ed-11ec-be17-286164974c54_story.html


Abortion: Ireland’s past is America’s future

BY CHRISTINE RYAN
05/17/22

This month, four years ago, media from across the globe descended on the courtyard of Dublin Castle. They traveled to capture the scene of thousands of Irish people celebrating the results of the Irish abortion referendum. A landslide majority had “repealed the 8th” and voted to change the country’s constitution to enable legal recognition of abortion rights for the first time in the state’s history. Generations of families cheered and cried together while politicians from warring parties embraced. Viewers abroad marveled at the displays of pride, rapture, and even love.  

To understand why the referendum result in Ireland prompted such
outpourings is to understand the full meaning of the right to abortion.

Continued: https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3491465-abortion-irelands-past-is-americas-future/


Abortion: the story of suffering and death behind Ireland’s ban and subsequent legalization

Published: May 16, 2022
Gretchen E. Ely

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., the nation may find itself on a path similar to that trod by the Irish people from 1983 to 2018. A draft decision signed by the majority of conservative justices was leaked in May 2022, and indicates the court may do just that.

Abortion was first prohibited in Ireland through what was called the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861. That law became part of Irish law when Ireland gained independence from the U.K. in 1922. In the early 1980s, some anti-abortion Catholic activists noticed the liberalization of abortion laws in other Western democracies and worried the same might happen in Ireland.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/abortion-the-story-of-suffering-and-death-behind-irelands-ban-and-subsequent-legalization-182812


Killed by abortion laws: five women whose stories we must never forget

As the US supreme court threatens to undo 49 years of access to safe and legal terminations, five women who died because of bans on abortion stand as warnings of what is at stake globally

Joe Parkin Daniels, Sarah Johnson, Weronika Strzyżyńska, Kaamil Ahmed and Mercy Kahenda
Sat 7 May 2022

[Stories about:]

Savita Halappanavar, Ireland
Olga Reyes, Nicaragua
‘Izabela’, Poland
‘Manuela’, El Salvador
‘Mildred’, Kenya

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/may/07/killed-by-abortion-laws-five-women-whose-stories-we-must-never-forget


How One of Ireland’s Leading Abortion Rights Activists Sees the Future of Roe

BY AILBHE SMYTH
MAY 6, 2022

Like many people I was not surprised at the publication of a leaked document suggesting that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is on the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade. Although I think the extent to which Justice Alito absolutely wrote off Roe v. Wade effectively saying it’s unworkable, unconstitutional, unacceptable, that is really appalling. I felt quite devastated for women in the 26 states, and maybe more, who will likely not be able to access to abortion and would have to travel.

I’m extremely concerned about what this says and what this means for women’s rights more broadly in the U.S., because while this is directed at the right to abortion, it is also more fundamentally about women’s freedom, our freedom over our bodies, our freedom to make decisions about our own lives, our freedom to be full and fully functioning citizens.

Continued: https://time.com/6174249/ireland-abortion-rights-roe-v-wade/


Ireland – ‘Threat of criminal sanctions’ hangs over medical practitioners who provide abortion services

1 May 2022
Carlow Live

The threat of criminal sanctions hangs over medical practitioners who provide abortion services in Ireland, politicians have been told.

Alison Spillane, a senior policy and research officer at the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), described to the Oireachtas Health Committee how the fear of prosecution “sits in the consultation room” between patient and doctor.

Continued:  https://www.carlowlive.ie/news/local-news/802205/threat-of-criminal-sanctions-hangs-over-medical-practitioners-who-provide-abortion-services.html


Ireland – Politicians set to hear calls for less restrictive abortion regime

Women’s council plans to address 12-week limit and poor national coverage

Tue, Apr 26, 2022
Cormac McQuinn

Politicians will hear calls for a less restrictive abortion regime, including extending the current 12-week limit to allow terminations on request “up to viability”.

The National Women’s Council (NWC) and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) will suggest reforms to the rules on abortion when representatives appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee on Wednesday.

Continued: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/politicians-set-to-hear-calls-for-less-restrictive-abortion-regime-1.4862475


Ireland – People accompanying women for abortion could be breaking proposed safe access zones law

Officials suggest Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill could impact friends and partners of women seeking abortions

SUN, 20 MAR, 2022
AOIFE MOORE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

Partners, relative, or friends accompanying a pregnant woman to have an abortion could be breaking the law if they offer advice or support inside a proposed safe access zone, a review has found.

Departmental advice sent to the Oireachtas health committee in relation to the Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill 2021, notes it could pose unforeseen difficulties for pregnant women and gardaí.

Continued: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40833002.html


Europe – The abortion travel agents: ‘Some women know what they need, others just say: help’

With reproductive rights being increasingly restricted in Europe, people are relying on a network of volunteers to help them

Introduction Margaret Atwood
Interviews Candice Pires
Sat 19 Feb 2022

When The Handmaid’s Tale first came out in 1985, the initial response was broadly that people thought such threats to women’s bodies and reproductive rights “couldn’t happen here”. By the time it aired as a TV series in 2017, just after Donald Trump was inaugurated in the US, people were no longer so sure. With every headline about gains in reproductive rights – Ireland repealing the eighth amendment in 2018, which had effectively banned abortions – there are others that underscore how fragile these rights are, wherever you live.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/19/the-abortion-travel-agents-some-women-know-what-they-need-others-just-say-help-europe-margaret-atwood


Ireland – ’Frightening’ language and no abortion information: Warning issued over rogue pregnancy services

Women who have inadvertently engaged with these groups have found the experience “extremely distressing”.

January 17, 2021

THE HSE HAS issued a warning about unregulated crisis pregnancy services which present themselves as unbiased but have an anti-abortion stance.

A number of these services have profiles on social media and also advertise with stickers and posters in Dublin and other locations.

Continued: https://www.thejournal.ie/unregulated-crisis-pregnancy-services-in-ireland-5650166-Jan2022/