Darina Murray is the current co-convener of the Abortion Rights Campaign.
It’s 4 years since we repealed the 8th, and what do I want from the review? Same thing I wanted 4 years ago, free, safe, legal, local and accessible healthcare. The legislation, as we predicted at the time, is still leading to a two-tier system. Abortion healthcare can be gotten by many living in urban areas who have a GP and can attend two appointments and find out they are pregnant in time. But for those living in rural areas, disabled people, those who can’t access childcare, don’t have a GP, people living with domestic violence, and others are most likely going to have to travel or have a forced pregnancy. Even if you are lucky enough to be in category 1 with access, if your medical abortion fails and you don’t know, or you go past the 12 weeks, you will be abandoned by our legislation.
Why is it so hard for those who write our legislation to imagine having easy access for all and full completion of care and not having to deal with barriers? Why is controlling, undermining and dismissing those who can get pregnant the go to? It’s not just with abortion care; it was out in plain sight recently in relation to the National Maternity Hospital controversy.
The world has dealt with abortion bans and limits for many, many, many years. We have the data; nothing about abortion bans prevents abortion! There is NOTHING “pro-life” about those who want to force people into having pregnancies and forced births. The facts show us that 39,000 people die every year due to having to access unsafe abortions, which could have been completely avoided if they had safe access.
If you agree with abortions in certain circumstances and not in others, I hate to break it to you, but your issue is not with abortion. It’s with how someone got pregnant, or you don’t see pregnant people as being capable decision-makers.
Abortion is a simple healthcare procedure to end a pregnancy, which as long as people can get pregnant, will be necessary. Anyone who wants to reduce the amount of abortions needed, I am very much looking forward to seeing your campaign for comprehensive, inclusive sex education and free contraception for all, as that is the only thing that will help prevent the number of unintended pregnancies.
The data also shows us regardless of limitations in countries with access; most people access abortions before the 12-week mark. However, there will always be circumstances that this is not possible for a myriad of reasons. Abortion healthcare needs to be available as early as possible and as late as necessary!
If you need to access abortion care in Ireland, call My Options on 1800 828 010. If our current legislation has failed you, then the Abortion Support Network may be able to help you and can be contacted on 01 5267370 or here https://www.asn.org.uk/contact-us/.