Women and artists speak out for the right to abortion in Ireland

By Lauren Fetherston   @LaurenFeth

Women have shared personal stories and created music and art in a move to push forward the debate on abortion rights in Ireland.

Gillian Roddie, from Parents for choice, pictured above, has spoke of her anguish at being pregnant and knowing her child has a failing heart while she has another child going in to heart surgery.

Gillian found herself in a  situation when she was told of her unborn child’s heart issue but was unable to make the choice to say goodbye her own way.

In September 2015, Gillian and her partner gave up all previous planning for a second child, only to find she had fallen pregnant two weeks prior.

With mixed emotions initially Gillian decided to approach this news with an optimistic point of view.

It wasn’t until the seven-week scan, five days before her first child’s surgery, that she found out her second baby’s heart rate was significantly lower than expected.

The foetal heart rate shown on her scan was indicative of total foetal demise, yet Gillian was offered no choice and left with no control over her unborn child’s future.

Only after confirmation of miscarriage was Gillian given a drug called Misoprostel, more commonly known as the abortion drug.

She spoke of how it is not only single childless women that seek abortion but that existing parents have a right also to decide their unborn child’s faith.

Gillian told a Dublin audience at an event organised by ChoiceBox and Repeal Project on Friday, about the consequences for women who take the abortion pill and find themselves facing a fine or prison of 14 years or more.

The mother called on the Irish Government to do more to help women, saying:  “If you trust us with the kids we have already then please, trust us with this [abortion].”

The event was held on the eve of the global day for access to safe and legal abortion and the 5th annual march of choice.

The reason behind the evening was not only to highlight the fact that Irish women are forced to go abroad for abortions but to also to raise awareness of women who believe in body anatomy.

Singing for women's rights - Mongoose
Singing for women’s rights – Mongoose

Among speakers at this event were Ailbhe Smyth, the convenor of the Coalition to Repeal The Eighth Amendment, Polly Vernon, Grazia editor at large and author of Hot Feminist.

Smyth discussed the Irish Government’s place in the fight for legalised abortion in Ireland.   “Our leaders should be leading not hiding in the long grass while women go through what they have been going through,” she said.

“Women’s wombs have no place in the constitution.”  This comment resulted in a substantial round of applause from the crowd.

Sarah Griffen, author of the poem, We Face This Land, featured in a Repeal the 8th video, read the poem aloud to a mesmerised audience.

Poet Sarah Griffen
Poet Sarah Griffen

Performers such as Temper-Mental MissElayneous from Finglas, Co Dublin and Mongoose, who performed their new song Doing things wrong which has become the soundtrack to the repeal the 8th movement.

The room was packed with men and women.

The age of the crowd varied, however there was a noticeable number of younger people in attendance.

The crowd was not only large but loud, as they cheered for every speaker and in response to many of the statements made that evening.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.