An Irish Abortion Rights Activist on Roe v. Wade

LLike many others, I wasn’t surprised by the leaked document which suggested that a majority U.S. Supreme Court justices are on the verge of being overthrown 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. The 26 and perhaps more women who are not able to have abortions and will need to travel to get them, made me feel very sad.

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.

The message that has been sent out by the U.S. Supreme Court now is that women’s freedoms do not matter, that they are to be swept aside. This is a huge setback to global progress in respect of the rights and dignity of girls and women. It isn’t just in the countries who have not been able to advance women’s rights, but it can also be found here in Europe. Poland, for instance, has begun moving toward an abortion ban. Others in Europe may also tighten and restrict abortion laws.

Continue reading: Inside Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic—and the Biggest Fight for Abortion Rights in a Generation

It was the time when I was a kid. Roe v. Wade ruling came. I was a young woman and absolutely needed contraception and couldn’t access it in Ireland. I remember thinking; “that is extraordinary, that’s amazing. Wouldn’t it be brilliant to live in a country where you didn’t have this worry.” I lived my young woman life with Plan B in my pocket, which is that I would go to the U.K. [for an abortion] if I got pregnant. Just in case, I kept 50 Pounds in my wallet. When you could have abortions in Ireland, it seemed like you’d be able now to do so in the U.S. It meant a lot to me as a young woman who was becoming involved and interested in feminism and the women’s movement.

Ironically, Roe V. Wade set alarm bells for the very conservative and right-wing Catholic cabals of Ireland. Because it was possible in the U.S. to have an abortion right, they felt it would be possible here. They set out to create a country where all citizens could vote to ban abortion completely, despite the fact that there was already a very severe law against abortion in Ireland. Ironically, it was this crucial freedom that women gained in the U.S. that encouraged the group of Catholics who proposed the notion of a clause which would become the eighth Amendment. [the eight amendment to Ireland’s constitution which recognized the equal right to life of the pregnant woman and the unborn]. It is an interesting history for Ireland.

I was so alert during the Repeal Campaign [to repeal the eight amendment, which led to Ireland legalizing abortion in 2018]We were trying to win a freedom now threatened in the U.S. This was a shocking and interesting turnaround. Our campaign should also be beneficial to women from other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia. Every win, no matter how small or large the country may be, is important. Because there’s an immediate knock-on effect, every loss I think is huge for abortion rights globally. The current number of people who are able to become pregnant is around 26 million. However, they can only get abortions in unsanitary circumstances.

Continue reading: The State of Abortion Rights in the World

The abortion ban in Ireland had a profound impact on Ireland, where thousands of women were made to travel every year to get abortions. This was an extremely lonely journey that many women had to make, and they were living in constant fear and anxiety. This is only for those women who had the money and resources to travel to the U.K. Because those women won’t speak, we will not know the effects on them.

It is precisely what this is in the U.S., where in many states abortion is highly restricted. Women are experiencing fear and anxiety as well as stress, anxiety, distress and other ill-health issues.

Any justice system has to have regard for people’s real life needs. And if it doesn’t do that, it is merely an abstract theoretical exercise, which is used to punish people. It’s an abuse of justice.

Jennifer Duggan, as told

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