Friday, 28 September 2012

Pro-choice, anti-choice and misinformation!

So tomorrow I (and a hoopload of others) will be Marching for Choice! I'm also Marching for Democracy. It's been twenty years since the X-case, Twenty years and three referendums that supported a woman's right to a termination in the case of her life being at risk or in the case that the baby was incompatible with life, twenty years, three referendum and twelve women a day who must go abroad to seek an abortion. Three referendum that successive governments in their cowardice refused to legislate for. It is an infringement on the rights of the woman and an infringement on democracy. Three times this issue has gone to the polls and three times the government in power has refused to listen to the voice of the people.
Twenty years and more of woman shaming
I want to state here and now that I have NO problem with people who are against abortion. Zero! Zilch! That is your opinion and your choice to make. However I have a HUGE problem with the amount of misinformation that floods out from the 'pro-life side'. I state 'pro-life' in commas because it infers that anyone on the pro-choice side is pro-death or anti-life. That's not true. Some of the main proponents of the 'pro-life' side seem to think that every pro-choice person wants every pregnant woman to have an abortion. There have even been encounters which go to the tune of:
Pro-life: What if your mother had been pro-choice?
Pro-choice: She is, she chose to have me.

But that's a minor point. Some of the gravest misinformation was on our streets recently by Youth Defence. The infamous billboards and leaflets claiming that there was always a better option. 


Questions were asked of these claims. What if it's a case of rape? Like the X-Case, what if it's a case of rape of a 12 year old girl?
'Pro-Life's answer is that the girl should carry to term no matter what and if she really doesn't want the baby, to put him/her up for adoption. Whatever about a woman's right to choose, no child should ever be forced to give birth. Let me give you some statistics on this: pregnancy is a risky business anyway but girls under the age of 15 are FIVE times more likely to die in pregnancy than women in their twenties. Babies are 60% more likely to die if their mother is under 18. 
Not to mention external effects such as the girl having to take a year out of her education, societal implications and the speculation and gossip that would inevitably follow such a situation.

The other accusations of some 'pro-life' groups that abortion is the tearing out of a fully formed foetus kicking and screaming from a mother's womb. Youth Defence posters are full of this. Most of their posters consist of either almost fully formed foetuses or miscarriages NOT abortions. A zygote and a blastocyst are less than 2.5 inches. Find yourself a ruler and measure it. Another stunt by 'pro-life' groups is that they want to film abortions happening to put others off. Abortions that occur in the first nine weeks (as most abortions do) would make for pretty boring filming. 
An abortion before nine weeks consists of a
woman taking a tablet and having a heavy period.
Most Irish women are not in the nine-week mark due to arranging time off work and travel etc.
This is what an abortion after 9 weeks looks like.
Late term abortions are few and far between. In countries like the UK it's not possible to have a late term abortion unless the mother's life is at risk or the baby is not viable. But it is possible. And women that need them can get them. Unlike the women of Ireland whose country has turned it's back on them and decided to sweep them under the carpet. Women who have a late term abortion only do so under dire circumstances and we certainly owe them and all other women more than shame.

Which brings me to my last point. A lot of 'pro-life' groups are about the shaming of women. Not trusting a woman to make her own decisions over her own body. And it hearkens back to a time not so long ago when girls or women who find themselves pregnant out of wedlock were 'sent to care for a sick relative' or even worse sent to a Magdalene Laundry.

It's 2012 Ireland - we owe those 12 women a day, those 5,000 women a year, those 100,000 women since the X-Case more dignity than to be swept under the carpet like a dirty secret of the state.

Join us tomorrow at the Spire at 2pm and March for Choice!

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