Weekly Roundup: Looking back and taking steps toward a referendum

Welcome to another Weekly Roundup, where each week our MediaWatch team highlights how abortion is discussed in the media at home and abroad. This week saw the 30th anniversary of the Eighth Amendment, renewed activism and attacks on reproductive rights around the world, and events around the country in the run-up to this year’s national March for Choice later this month.

Thirty Years On

As we reported last week, last Saturday saw 30 years since the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, legally equating the life of a foetus with that of a pregnant person. On the anniversary, pro-choice TDs Clare Daly and Joan Collins joined the growing voices calling for the repeal of this amendment by referendum; they cited the 150,000 women known to have travelled overseas for abortion services, and the three women known to have died in Ireland after being refused terminations. Only repeal of the Eighth Amendment will allow Irish women to access abortions here when they themselves want or need one.

Around the World

In an impressive affront to perspective and decency, a group of anti-abortion campaigners in the US have found a new target for their protests– the New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum. The group, called Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, scattered the Museum with pictures they claim are of aborted late-term fetuses, and then picketed outside the museum with a banner calling abortion “America’s Auschwitz”. According to the New York Times, this baffling incident occurred because the Museum is in the same city, Albuquerque, as one of the US’s last clinics still providing late-term abortions. Fortunately, anti-choice groups aren’t the only ones making noise in the US. Vice wrote this week about the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, a group of pro-choice activists travelling through states where reproductive rights are under attack, demonstrating both at the few remaining clinics open, state capitol buildings and anti-abortion organisations. Their slogan is “abortion on demand and without apology”, and their aim is to open and change dialogues on abortion, and spread awareness of the real restrictions placed on women.

In Rwanda, it has been legal for the past year to access abortions if your health is at risk, or if you are a victim of rape, incest, or forced marriage. However, to access this right it is necessary to submit a court order to your doctor- a process which involves legal procedures out of the financial reach of many. According to All Africa, in the year since this procedure was put in place, nobody has used it- and thousands of women continue to die as a direct result of their pregnancies.

It’s not just in Ireland and far afield that debates on abortion rage. This week the Guardian wrote about the experiences of women seeking abortions after severe fetal abnormalities in the UK. Many of these women are not permitted to obtain surgical abortions, and are forced to terminate their pregnancies by induction of labour- a process which can be extremely traumatic for some. The charity Antenatal Results and Choices are calling for women in this position to be allowed to choose for themselves which method of termination- surgical or medical- they feel is best for them.

Actions and Events

Want to get involved in pro-choice actions right here? There’s plenty going on throughout the country. This Monday in Galway, NUIG’s Pro-Choice Society will be hosting a Film Screening & Meet & Greet, showing X Is For Anonymous. If you’re in Dublin, then the place to go on Monday night is the Teacher’s Club, where ARC will be hosting our regular monthly Open Meeting. This month, we’ll be hosting Musicians for Choice- everyone interested in participating in making our promo video for the events surrounding the upcoming March for Choice, do come along, Monday 15th September 7pm!

Any events or news items you want to share? Do let us know in the comments!