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(en) Ireland, Belfast, Organise!, The Leveller #12 - Women Need Access to Safe and Legal Abortion in Ireland!

Date Fri, 02 Nov 2012 19:41:05 +0200


As âpro-lifeâ bigots descend on Belfast on Saturday 7th of July they will not go unopposed. A Rally for Choice has been organised to counter the lies of the âpro-lifeâ movement and demand that women from across Ireland have the right to access full reproductive rights without having to travel to Britain or Europe. Organise! and Anarchists for Choice have worked with other pro-choice activists to build for this event. ---- People are coming from all over Ireland to attend and buses have been organised from Dublin and Derry. -- Over 5000 women travel to England from Ireland (north and south) each year to access safe abortions. While official statistics report a slight decrease in numbers of women travelling, calls to Abortion Support Network (ASN) from women in financial distress continue to rise exponentially. ASN has urged support for
and participation in the All Ireland Rally for Choice being held this Saturday 7 July.

Journal of Medicine,that there is:
In addition to the thousands of women
forced to travel to England in order to
access a safe and legal abortion, there
are the women who access abortion in
other European countries, and those
who source medical abortion pills from
the internet.

At the same time, anti-abortion
activists continue to promote stigma
and shame around abortion. A current
example of this is the advertising
campaign created by Youth Defence.
Their campaign slogan, âAbortion
tears her life apart. There is always a
better solutionâ implies a link
between abortion and mental health
that is both factually incorrect
and intentionally misleading. A recent
scientific study, published in the New England
Journal of Medicine, clearly stipulates
no increased risk of mental disorders
after first-trimester induced abortion.

Volunteers at ASN know personally from
the hundreds of women they speak to each
year of the anguish and guilt caused by our
current punitive laws which add to what is
already a stressful and difficult time for
women facing crisis pregnancies. The ASN:

provides financial assistance,
accommodation and confidential, non-
judgemental information to women forced
to travel to England to access abortion.
We speak to women directly and hear
first-hand of the difficulties and distress
they are forced to endure because they
cannot access a safe legal abortion in
their own country.

Despite statistics showing the numbers of
women travelling to England for an
abortion are ever so slightly down:

The number of women who are
contacting Abortion Support Network
because they are unable to afford the
cost of an abortion, plus travel and
other costs, such as childcare, has been
more than doubling each year.

The continued criminalisation of abortion in
Ireland does not end abortion. It effectively
makes abortion a class issue as it:

simply makes it more difficult for poor
women and families to access
[abortions]. The continued economic
crisis is making it even more of a
struggle for women and families to
keep their heads above water and
Irelandâs severe abortion restrictions
make it even harder for this group.

In response to this the ASN exists to help
those women who cannot meet the costs
themselves:

As long as there are women facing an
unwanted pregnancy who are unable
to afford the costs of travelling to
England and paying privately for an
abortion, ASN will continue to do our
best to help them to exercise their
choice and rights.

The ASN estimate that the cost of travelling
for an abortion varies greatly:

depending on gestation, ranging from
Â350 to Â1,775. Women who travel
from Ireland bear the total financial
cost of the procedure, which is
available to women in Britain on the
NHS, plus the additional costs of an
often last minute plane ticket, child
care and other associated costs. This is
especially problematic for women
without the necessary funds, or a
passport or driverâs license, because
they experience further delays and are
forced to access a later abortion at
higher financial costs.

The lack of any clear legislation permitting
women to control their own fertility in
Ireland means this is an issue that is
exported. The Catholic Church, other
evangelical Christian churches and sects, the
âpro-lifeâ lobby and our local politicians are
all happy that things continue this way.

For the wealthy among us this is not so much
of a problem - for working class women it is
all too often the case that they are forced
to carry on with an unwanted pregnancy.

Abortion Support Network is an entirely
volunteer-run organisation that was
established in October 2009 to provide
accommodation and financial assistance to
women forced to travel from Ireland and
Northern Ireland in order to have a safe
legal abortion.

The Abortion Support Network is the only
organisation known to be providing
practical support of this kind. For more
information or to support their work visit
www.abortionsupport.org.uk
_________________________________________
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