Women and men in Ireland are going on strike and are leaving work for the day to call for a referendum on the 8th amendment. The law states that every child should have the right to life. Abortion is considered a criminal offence, which to this day can get women up to 14 years in prison. This is still applicable even if a woman has been a victim of rape, their child has no chance of survival outside of the womb or even if there are serious health implications for the mother or baby. Women are forced to travel abroad, paying expensive fees, just to receive an abortion. Many people obviously cannot afford to do so, meaning they are forced to undergo the traumatising experience of carrying a child that you do not want or even, a child who has no chance of surviving once they are born.
This is horrendous, and I commend anyone who has recently protested, worn black to show their support or posted on social media. Many discredit protests, claiming they are ‘pointless’ and ‘never achieve anything’. This is false. If you create enough of a disturbance, or if you miss a day at work to show your support, the government will eventually be forced to listen. For example, mass protests were staged throughout Poland, forcing the government to reject a near-total ban on abortion. There are also protests being organised outside of Ireland, in solidarity for this very important issue. With enough force driving the campaign, change can be achieved.
Pro-life campaigners claim that everyone is entitled to life, however this is riddled with hypocrisy when it comes to banning women from having abortions. Why are women’s lives not prioritised where childbirth is potentially life-threatening? Why are women not entitled to live a life without being constantly reminded and haunted by a sexual assault? Why are women not entitled to unconditionally be in control of their own bodies?
No one has the right to dictate what anyone can and cannot do when it comes to something as sensitive as abortions. The ban on abortion in Ireland or indeed anywhere else is another unfortunate example of a complete disregard for women, their lives and their bodies. I encourage everyone to participate in the protests in any way they can so that more women are able to lead the lives that they choose.
Photo Credits:// Reuters and Irish Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC)