Members of Galway Pro-Choice will be joining in the festivities this Thursday 1st August for Ladies Day at the Galway Races. We will be taking part in this event to highlight women’s rights in Ireland and specifically the need for the right to autonomy over our bodies.
This year marks the 30th anniversary since the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution equating the life of a woman with that of an embryo was signed in to law. It is this amendment which has prevented cases of rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormalities or where there is a risk to the woman’s health, from being provided for in the ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013’ that was recently enacted. Hundreds of women in these circumstances must still endure the hardship of travelling abroad to obtain this medical care, that is if they are well enough to travel and can afford the expense.
Here, Niamh and Rachel talk about why they are attending Ladies Day at the Galway Races.
What are you doing at the Galway Races this year?
Rachel: We are attending the Galway Races this year as Galway Pro Choice and Abortion Rights Campaign members. We will be participating in Ladies Day wearing pro-choice themed outfits.
Niamh: I think this is a good way for us to inform the public as a lot of people know little of the facts regarding abortion. Our different fascinators will represent problems arising from our current abortion legislation, such as the number of women who still travel to Britain for an emergency termination and those who face incarceration due to the law, among other issues.
Why Ladies’ Day?
Niamh: Ladies’ Day is a mayor social event for a lot of women in Galway, and is the focal point of the races for many. This is why I think it will be good for us to be there on such a busy day, and also, as our campaign for women’s rights will be all the more appropriate on this day.
Rachel: Ladies’ Day is supposed to be about celebrating women, so we thought it would be the perfect place to open a discussion about women’s reproductive rights, specifically their right to access an abortion legally if they need one. The reality is that the horses at the Galway Races can legally have an abortion in this country but a woman can’t unless she is at death’s door.
Niamh: I hope that Ladies’ Day is a fun day out for all involved, but it’s also a valuable opportunity for the public, especially women, to learn about the plight of women in Ireland whose pregnancies threaten their lives or health.
What do you hope to achieve?
Rachel: We hope to provide an interesting and colourful talking point at Ladies Day this year, and encourage people to think about the limitations of the X Case legislation recently introduced in to law. We want to point out that there is still a pressing need for much more liberal abortion laws in Ireland. Abortion is still illegal in cases of rape or incest, in cases where the foetus has a fatal abnormality, in cases where a woman’s health is at risk, and in cases where a woman knows that she does not have the ability and resources to support a child. We want to point out that the 8th amendment to the constitution needs to be removed so that women can finally have full reproductive rights in this country.
Niamh: We hope to educate the public about why availability of safe and legal abortions is a basic human right. I also hope that this event will help the public see the Pro-Choice campaign as something positive, creative and enjoyable.