8th Amendment Demo

Galway Pro-Choice would like to thank everyone that came out today and made our demonstration such a success. For anyone unable to make it, there was a moving street action showing women as prisoners of the 8th Amendment guarded and kept in line by the ‘Irish State’. We had Dr. Sophie Faherty, a local G.P and member of Doctors for Choice address the crowd and our own Sarah McCarthy who addressed the tragic circumstances which have led us here, again, on the streets calling for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. Due to such a massive turnout, we also decided to march through the city. It was a fantastically loud show of solidarity, not only to the young woman at the centre of the most recent horrific case, but to every woman in Ireland that has been forced to leave the country to access an abortion and those who risk 14 years in prison for importing pills to have an illegal abortion here.

We have never been able to vote to allow abortions in this country – only to restrict our ban further.  The youngest person that could have voted on the 8th Amendment would now be 49 years of age. This means that the women in Ireland today that are of child-bearing age, directly affected by the 8th Amendment have not had a chance to have their say on it.

Politicians have said there will not be a referendum in the lifetime of the current government.  Why not? How many more tragic cases have to happen before they let us vote on this issue? Write to your politicians and demand your vote! You can contact your local T.D through whoismytd.com  and you will find the petition to repeal the 8th Amendment at repealthe8th.ie.

Demonstrations were held today in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Derry, Belfast, London, Berlin, Warsaw and as far afield as Auckland.

The message is clear.  This issue is far from over.

Next Tuesday 26th August at 6pm, we will be having our next organisational meeting in the side room of Monroe’s on Upper Dominick St. All those who want to help the campaign are welcome to come along and get involved in making this happen. Hope to see you there J

UN Severely Critical of Irish Laws on Abortion

Ireland was recently represented by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald at the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in Geneva.

The Irish State is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Committee hearings were held on 15-16 July to assess Ireland’s compliance with our obligations under the Covenant. By ratifying the Covenant the Irish state is bound to comply with its Articles, and to make any changes recommended to ensure our compliance.

Several Irish civic society groups, including the Abortion Rights Campaign, were also invited to the Committee where they read submissions and were questioned by Committee members with regard to Ireland’s abortion legislation.

Unfortunately, the UN Committee was critical of the Irish state for failing to protect the health and human rights of women under several important headings.

Read more…

Galway Pro-Choice Attends the March for Choice in Belfast

Taking part in a protest in Belfast has proven a very empowering experience to me. Although we were a small group compared to the anti-choicers who were parading, I feel we did make a statement – women need to be heard, our bodies are not a property of church/state, and we are here to stay until our demands are met. Police was around and they were quite intimidating, but that wouldn’t deter us. We chanted, shouted, and peacefully made a point that we are here to stay. Taking active part in a protest has been the materialization of my cyberactivism and I have learned a lot and am extremely grateful for the opportunity Galway Pro-Choice has given me. As a newcomer, it’s important to feel welcomed and GPC has been an outstandingly friendly group so far.

Galway Pro-Choice Holds Vigil for Tuam Mothers and Babies

Hundreds of people gathered in Galway’s Eyre Square on 11th June for a vigil to highlight the recent Tuam babies controversy.

Galway Pro-Choice along with a number of local NUIG students called the vigil ‘to commemorate the tragedies that occurred in the mother and baby home in Tuam, and the thousands of other tragedies that happened in all of the other mother and baby homes across the State.’

In a statement read at the vigil, survivor, John Rodgers said “What the Catholic Church and Free State Government did to vulnerable Irish families over the last one hundred years has to be amongst the worst atrocities committed by a generation of people who considered themselves a superior class of people.”

Read more…

A Victory for the Pro-Choice Movement in NUIG

The Choice and Feminist Societies at NUI Galway secured a significant victory in a referendum held last week. The referendum was to decide whether the Students Union should take a pro-choice stance. The exact proposition that was voted on was:

‘That NUIG Students Union adopt a pro-choice position, in support of the national campaign for full reproductive rights, which includes a woman’s right to abortion, whether elective or medically necessary. Furthermore, the SU should use every available measure to realise these rights on campus and nationally.’

This was a radical proposition that goes much further than the very limited legislation the government is expected to bring forward by the summer. And if we are to believe national polls, the referendum proposition went much further than public opinion. A poll in the Irish Times just last month found that only 37% of people fully supported a woman’s right to choose, although the poll found a large majority in favour of allowing abortion when a woman’s life/health are at risk or in cases of rape/incest or foetal abnormality.

Yet when the vote happened last Thursday, 70% of students who voted, supported the proposition. And this was with the highest voter turnout in years, possibly the highest ever in NUIG. Out of 3,596, votes, 2478 voted yes, 1118 voted no.
Obviously this reflects the fact that young people are generally more supportive of abortion rights. If the same vote was taken on a national basis the result would most likely be very different. But following on from success in referendums in Trinity College and DCU, it shows that things have changed drastically in this country.

Read more…