Ireland’s Long Journey on Abortion

Bill Bragg

September 2, 2016, New York Times

DUBLIN — “Not the first or the last bleeding women about to face a long trek home.” This was one of the tweets sent this month to the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, from a woman who was traveling abroad for an abortion.

The woman and a friend set up a Twitter account, @TwoWomenTravel, to live-tweet her experience as she flew from Ireland to England for an abortion that she could not obtain safely or legally in her own country. By documenting the dreary trip with photographs of bleak-looking places along the way, the women sought to highlight the hypocrisy of lawmakers. These politicians turn a blind eye to the thousands of Irish women who travel abroad for terminations while imposing a 14-year prison sentence on any woman who procures the same service at home.

Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion, known as the Eighth Amendment, grants a fetus the same right to life as the woman carrying it. Since the amendment was championed by Roman Catholic groups in the 1980s, successive Irish governments — despite probably fearing more for their re-election chances than for their mortal souls — have allowed the church to dictate the terms of the abortion debate.

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Source: The New York Times