Today is International Women’s Day.
As a women, I am taking today to think about the island that I call home. Ireland.
This is an island of story-tellers, of music, of ancient history and of beauty.
But also a place where, women rights have been ignored for countless years.
This country off the edge of Europe, a place where we say we have a ‘European’ identity, and ideals; of equality and equal rights for all citizens.
Now, on many fronts we aren’t doing too badly. If we look back to May 2018, where the Republic passed the historic referendum of removing the 8th amendment from our constitution. This finally enabled Irish women to access safe and legal terminations of pregnancy on Irish soil without having to obtain illegal pills or travel abroad for basic health care. That was a day where I was proud to call myself an Irish woman, and felt empowered to have been a tiny part of changing the future conversation and treatment of Irish women.
As you might know, the island of Ireland is made of two parts; Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland/ ‘the South’. This invisible land border is very visible when it comes to the reproductive rights of the women of the North.
The termination of pregnancy is currently illegal in Northern Ireland. This has been caused by a litany of political and historic reasons. At present, the legislation denys abortion in almost every single circumstance, and this needs to change. This forces an average of 28 women a week to travel to the U.K in order to access a safe termination.
In November of 2018, Amnesty wrote an open letter to the U.K government calling for the parliament to give time for a private member’s bill on the issue of abortion access in northern Ireland. This was accompanied by a number of high profile signatories such as Olivia Colman and Emma Thompson alongside 50,000 others.
We need to decriminalise abortion access in Northern Ireland, Amnesty have this letter that you can sign/send off to in order to put added pressure on the U.K government to change this Victorian legislation. Today, I’m wearing my repeal project jumper in order to show solidarity for the women of Northern Ireland. If you can take the 5 minutes it take to fill in the petition, you will be helping change the rights for women who are being ignored.
Much love as always, Xo