On October 28 protests will take place around the world, called by Irish campaign ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity). The day will mark the second anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar – victim of Ireland’s backward abortion laws.
By Socialist Party reporters
Two years later, despite huge desire for change from below, we’ve seen no progress. This was highlighted again recently by the case of a vulnerable young migrant woman’s battle with the system.
Presenting at approximately eight weeks pregnant, suicidal as a result of her pregnancy, the protracted process included ‘experts’ from the medical field and court orders (including one for forced hydration after her resorting to hunger and thirst strike). There was also an attempt to legally force the woman to undergo a C-section, which she eventually capitulated to. Incredibly, the ‘unborn’ was allocated a lawyer, as well as the woman.
The protests will call for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution (the constitutional ban on abortion). The majority of the population in Ireland support a vote on the issue. Other referenda, including on marriage equality, are planned for the spring of next year and repealing the eighth should be added to the ballot.
The Socialist Party’s three TDs (MPs) are backing the campaign. Ruth Coppinger said: “We believe this is now a life-and-death issue for women in this country. This sectarian, anti-woman amendment can no longer be tolerated.”
Joe Higgins added: “Medical guidelines just published ominously make explicit reference to C-section and early induction. Is the Labour Party in government going to continue the legacy of a Catholic Church-influenced State, of Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes and symphysiotomy [surgically dividing the pubic bone for childbirth – a procedure performed without consent on 1,500 Irish women between 1944 and 1984]? Of controlling women’s bodies and denying them healthcare and rights?”
“We wish to win two ‘Yes’ votes in one day in the Spring of next year – for marriage equality, and to lift Ireland’s abortion ban – and strike a major blow against Church insistence on dictating crucial personal choices in people’s lives. The latest poll shows that 56% support a referendum in the lifetime of this government, with only 19% against, so why does the government repeat the mantra of ‘no appetite’?”
Join the Melbourne protests. See the Facebook event here.