Perhaps I’m a little late with sharing this. But I feel that at a time where women across the world are feeling betrayed because a misogynist was recently made President of the USA, it’s about time to share my views on this heavy topic. Because it really affects women as a whole.
Imagine falling pregnant. And not by choice. Whatever the scenario, you do not want this baby. You don’t have the money, the mindset or the provisions to have this child. It might have been rape; you might have been abused, you may be single or the contraceptives you had used didn’t work. It might kill you to carry the child. The child might have issues that will make its life unbearable. And then imagine being told, “You have to have this child, you don’t have a choice.” The 8th Amendment is telling Irish women exactly that.
Then imagine that you are so desperate you have to travel to another country and pay a lot of money to safely have an abortion. Usually, it’s in the early stages when the little bit of DNA inside you isn’t even recognisable as a human life form. And then being told you have to be “pro-life” and let the foetus in you grow. And some, leave it until later. When the formation has started. But you know what? It doesn’t make a difference. Something is growing inside you and you don’t want it but there’s nothing you can do about it.
Luckily not all of us have to imagine because we have the choice, but for women in Ireland (and many other countries in the world), they don’t.
OUR CHOICE, OUR BODIES
Putting it out there… Men have no say in what we women can and cannot do to our bodies. Whether you’re the father, a politician, whatever… Men. Have. No. Say.
And that is what it comes down to. When men point out that they have a say in the abortion process it’s completely wrong. And you know why? Because it’s not their body.
It’s not just men either. It’s women who feel the need to impose their opinion on other women. That they should take responsibility for falling pregnant and be a mother. But they are harming our equal rights as women. You don’t just take responsibility and become a mother.
That’s not how it works.
Fortunately, on the England, we women have the choice. We have the choice to say, “No I am not ready for a child,” and have the foetus terminated. We have the choice to say, “This is my body, my mind and my life.” In Ireland, women and girls don’t have that choice.
THE 8TH AMENDMENT
In Ireland, the 8th amendment basically states that women have no right to have an abortion. It’s illegal. You can go to prison and get a higher sentence than some rapists. Imagine going to prison for longer than the rapist who forced you to have their child?
In April 2016, a twenty-one-year-old woman was given a two-year sentence for having an abortion. This was reduced to three months. Whereas in the US, rapists like Brock Turner only serve three of his six-month sentence. A man doing what he wants with a woman’s body without their permission is seen as less of an offence than what a woman chooses to do with her body.
There is no excuse.
It takes us back to a horrific time where women were shipped off to asylums for having an opinion. To a time where young women died in a hotel bath with a coat-hanger in hand. Remember those days? No? Because you were lucky to be born in a time where there was a safe and legal alternative. Ireland doesn’t have that anymore.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
So, the 8th Amendment doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect any of the women I see on a daily basis. But it does say a lot about how society looks at women. Women have still no say in 2016. Almost 100-years after we were given the right to vote (only over the age of 30) some women are being told what they can and can’t do with their own body.
Ignoring the Repeal the 8th campaign is ignoring the rights all women deserve. You can say, “It doesn’t affect me,” and ignore it. But that means you don’t believe women deserve equal rights to choose what they can do with their bodies.
As a woman, it should affect you. As a feminist, it should affect you. Man or woman, you should support equal rights for women, this includes abortion rights. No matter where in the world, if you don’t care what is going on in Ireland to these poor Irish women who are stuck in this situation, then you’re part of the problem.
I know many people don’t believe in abortion. But no one is asking you to have one. Just support choices of others. Be a decent person and don’t enforce your personal views on others when it has NOTHING to do with you.
Original image via The Hunreal Issues