Ireland’s Abortion Laws Continue to Harm Women


On June 12, the UK Department of Health published its report on abortion statistics for 2013. The numbers show that the abortion rate fell slightly in 2013, to 15.9 per 1,000 women, the lowest rate in 16 years. A great analysis of the report was done by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and can be found here. (As an American ex-pat, I’d also like to take a moment to gloat over the fact that in England, Scotland, and Wales abortion is free on the National Health Service. No, that wasn’t a typo. FREE.)

The statistics also cover a group of women for whom abortions are not free: women who travel from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to England to access a safe, legal abortion. Abortion, while legal under extremely restrictive circumstances in both parts of Ireland—like if you can prove that birthing a baby will actively kill you—is virtually impossible to obtain in these countries. This means that, when faced with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy in Ireland, women with money have options, and women without money have babies—or, in some cases, do dangerous and desperate things.

The numbers show a reduction in the number of women from Ireland and Northern Ireland traveling to England to access a safe and legal abortion—4,481, down from 4,887—the lowest reported number since 1969. While some organizations and groups in Ireland and Northern Ireland will undoubtedly greet the news of a reduction in numbers with positive fanfare, these numbers only tell part of the story. They do not include the women who come to England and give the address of a local friend or family member, the women who travel to other countries to access abortions, or the hundreds, if not thousands, of women who obtain early medical abortion pills online from Women on Web. These numbers also do not capture the women who cannot travel—women who need but can’t get passports or visas to travel, women who can’t escape from violent partners, women who don’t have anyone who can watch their children while they travel, and women who do not have the £400 to £2,000 ($675 to $3,350) it costs to travel to England and pay privately for an abortion. If these women cannot access Women on Web, they are forced to choose between continuing the pregnancy anyway, or attempting to self-abort in much more dangerous ways.

While the Department of Health is reporting a year on year decline in the numbers of women traveling, another group is reporting an increase. Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a grassroots charity that provides financial assistance, practical information on how to organize the least expensive abortion, and accommodation in volunteer homes for women traveling from Ireland to England. We have experienced a steep increase in calls from women in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2013, ASN was contacted by 446 women and couples seeking support in order to access a safe and legal abortion; this is up from 363 in 2012 and 253 in 2011. We have heard from more than 250 in the first six months of 2014. Every day, ASN receives calls, texts, and emails from women and couples in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In addition to deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, these women must also find the money to pay for the procedure, which can range from £330 to £1,350 ($550 to $2,250) depending on the stage of pregnancy, plus a mandatory consultation fee, not to mention a bus to the airport, plane tickets, a passport, child care, and other costs. This cost is an especially heavy cross to bear for women in Northern Ireland. Though they are also taxpaying citizens of the United Kingdom, they are denied abortion care on the National Health Service.

The continued increase in women contacting ASN is further proof that criminalizing abortion does not end abortion—it simply makes it more difficult for poor women and families to access. (Do you hear that, Texas and Louisiana state legislators?) The sustained economic slump is making it even more of a struggle for women and families to keep their heads above water and Ireland’s severe abortion restrictions make it even harder for this group.

These are some examples of the women and families who have contacted ASN:

“My partner and I found out that the baby we’re expecting is incompatible with life, the baby has a rare abnormality and will not survive outside the womb and because of backward Irish law we don’t know where to turn.”

“I’m a mother of 3 and am in absolute shock that I am pregnant – I never wanted any more kids. My relationship is not stable enough to be having a new baby and financially I can’t afford it. I was totally against abortion but it is the only thing that I want to do. I am trying to get the money together to go if there is any help at all it would be appreciated or even if you know the best clinics or the cheapest ones.”

“Please help. I’ve tried everything to try to miscarry. I’ve been drinking excessively. I’ve tried throwing myself downstairs, and even tried to overdose. I can’t have this child. I don’t want it! I’m completely on my own. No one else knows and I’m at the end of my tether, I feel like I’m going to have a breakdown.”

“I’m a student and I’m approximately 18 weeks pregnant. I can’t financially and emotionally support a child so I’m planning on having an abortion. The problem is my partner and I have both been saving and scraping money together but we’re still short. I was enquiring as to whether we could get any assistance, be it monetary or just providing us with somewhere to stay when we get there.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since opening in October 2009, ASN has heard from more than 1,400 women, couples, and families forced by Ireland’s draconian abortion laws to call a complete stranger in another country to ask for money to help pay for their abortions. Some of these women, before finding out about ASN, have taken dangerous and desperate action to try and get money together or, worse, to self-abort. Women have sold the family car, chased packets of birth control pills with bottles of vodka, rationed food for their kids, skipped meals, borrowed money from unscrupulous money lenders, returned Christmas presents, and drunk bleach trying to procure an abortion. Because no matter what the “pro-life” lobby says, there is no world where all women who become pregnant carry those pregnancies to term and everyone lives happily ever after. Women who do not want to be pregnant will try literally anything not to be pregnant.

Other than ending patriarchy and changing the beliefs of people who can’t seem to grasp that choosing not to have a child at a particular point in your life, or ever, is in itself a valid, moral decision that is, to put it bluntly, not their business, there are interim solutions. Ireland’s Abortion Rights Campaign and Northern Ireland’s Alliance for Choice are fighting tooth and nail for law reform, while groups like Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A (Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion) and Dublin Nights for Choice take less traditional approaches to raising public awareness and helping women access abortions.

The UK Department of Health numbers are not the full truth, but the people and groups working directly with women and families in Ireland know that when it comes to abortion, the statistics seldom tell the real story.

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  • cjvg

    This is just so incredibly sad.
    An unwanted child will be the first one to tell you that these women should not be forced to have children they do not want, nothing good comes from that.

    Even if you make it, grow up and have a wonderful live ever there after, nothing, absolutely nothing will heal the great gapping holes in the soul of children who grew up that way.

    Some will attempt to justify their own existence by forcing others to be born (human misery truly does love company) some will go the other way. Some will volunteer and try their utmost to help others like them, Some will just drink, do drugs, seek out thrills or seek out any other means to fill the holes. But those holes can not be filled

    • catseye

      Mommie Dearest hated my guts from the moment she knew I was going to survive to term, and she made my life growing up a living hell.

      • cjvg

        I’m so sorry

        I know that word can never convey the depth of my sincerely held grieve for you, but it is all I have.

        • catseye

          It’s enough, and I’m grateful. Blessings.

          • cjvg

            Thank you, many blessings to you too

  • purrtriarchy

    Heartbreaking.

  • RNRDOCTOR

    Why are there so many religious nutters in Ireland? All the Irish people I know are intelligent and forward-thinking, is that maybe why they left?

    • canaduck

      A lot of people in Northern Ireland and Ireland are actually pro-choice, at least to a greater degree than the law would indicate. The church just has an enormous amount of power.

  • ldwendy

    “Because no matter what the “pro-life” lobby says, there is no world
    where all women who become pregnant carry those pregnancies to term and
    everyone lives happily ever after.”

    But but but …women who become pregnancy should carry those pregnancies because adoption! And make adoption plans! – sez the forced-birth advocates who have never seen an adoption they didn’t like.

    /sarcasm off

    ———-
    Mara, thanks for showing us what will happen if abortion becomes illegal again in the United States. The details about women attempting to force miscarriages are so sad.

    • purrtriarchy

      They don’t care if women die from botched abortions should abortion become illegal.

      The view them as criminals who deserve what’s coming to them should they die from self induced abortions. They also think a few dead women is an acceptable price to pay for millions of fetal lives saved.
      http://blog.secularprolife.org/2014/05/the-back-alley-argument-repurposed.html?m=1

      The thing is, they claim to care deeply about women’s lives.. Yet treat them as criminals

      • Ella Warnock

        Criminals . . . and livestock.

        • cjvg

          And you know what they do with life stock, they use them for their benefit

          • Ella Warnock

            Yep, exploitation at its finest.

      • Guest

        Odd that a primarily Catholic country so overwhelmingly supports Martin Luther’s position: “If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth – that is why they are there.”

        • colleen2

          Martin Luther was a Catholic Priest so it seems perfectly natural that he would regard women as breeding livestock and wish for our deaths in childbirth.

          • catseye

            Point taken.

      • Andrea Plávková

        No, they don´t say that. They say- and even though I am not for banning abortions (but also not for them being free on universal healthcare, unless they are medically necessary)- I think they are right- that most women aren´t forced to have illegal, high-risk abortions when abortions are outlawed. Of course, there are women who have good reasons to be afraid to admit they are pregnant to their parents, husbands, boyfriends…or who are financially incapable of being out of work because of pregnancy even for a while…but those are the minority(that doesn´t mean they should be forgotten) …but most women who get pregnant unplannedly do have other options that are more sensible,with respect to their lives and health (and more ethical) than back- alley abortions of self-abortions even if they don´t want or can´t raise the child -and women are intelligent enough to realize that to carry to term when you don´t want to may be uncomfortable, but to undergo high-risk procedures when you don´t have to for the fear of your life or health, is complete stupidity.

        • purrtriarchy

          No, they don´t say that.

          It’s pretty heavily implied. If you read the article I linked to, the arguments are all ‘would you make robbery legal just because some people will break the law anyway’. So no, the fact that they use this variety of argument shows that they really don’t give a flying fig about women’s health. The fact that they push for these laws in the first place tells you something (knowing the potential outcomes).

          Oh, and after Savita died, and a new law was crafted for the life of the mother, the pro-lifers in Ireland (and USA/Canada) protested the decision, because a ‘life of the mother’ exception could only lead to a slippery slope of abortion on demand!

          but also not for them being free on universal healthcare, unless they are medically necessary

          So you’re for abortion only if the woman can afford it (fuck the poor) and if, in your opinion, the risk she is facing is serious enough (fyi, pregnancy itself is a medical condition that is not healthy, and every abortion is medically necessary)

          And where abortion is more or less banned now in the USA, women are buying chemical abortion pills from flea markets.

        • L-dan

          You’re not for banning abortions, just making them hard to get. At which point you’re all for shaming women going to extreme lengths to not be pregnant (inevitably those without the affluence to take safer options like traveling abroad) because, to you, nine months of risking life, health, and social consequences is just ‘uncomfortable’. Screw you and your minimizing, concern trolling bullshit.

          I know of zero women with children whose bodies and health were not impacted by those pregnancies. Not all in major ways, but the risk of health impacts, large and small, is there for *every* pregnancy. Deciding to lump that all under ‘uncomfortable’ is extremely minimizing. You’ve decided that it’s not ‘sensible’ to risk death via unsafe abortion rather than risk death via pregnancy. Very nice of you to figure you can weight those risks for everyone.

          So seriously, what you are saying is that the fact that they have ‘options’ excuses the known fact that many of them are going to put themselves at risk via unsafe procedures to escape the unwanted use of their bodies. That doesn’t matter in the pro-life world, because they’re not ‘forced’ to those risks. That doesn’t matter because it’s their own fault for not being ‘sensible’ and putting up with a bit of discomfort. That is precisely what you are saying and excusing.

          Pardon me if I think it’s disgusting bullshit.

          Oh, and the intimation that abortion is not an ethical option? Also fucked up bullshit. Cloaking your agenda in sweet doesn’t make it stink less.

          • purrtriarchy
          • L-dan

            XD

          • purrtriarchy

            The health benefits of fetal stem cells is an oft repeated claim from anti-abortionists. That ‘baby ‘gives back’. Unfortunately for the woman, fetal stem cell transfer is a double edged sword. From the JulyAugust 2014 issue of Discover magazine p.12 (typed out by hand):

            FETAL ATTRACTION: Mothers to be may have their babies to blame for a poorly understood medical condition.

            Fresh from prenatal yoga, a woman walks into her 35 week OB appointment glowing. But the doc frowns as she watches the woman’s normally low blood pressure soar past 140. Then a routine test shows protein in her urine. Diagnosis: preeclampsia. These few symptoms are often the only indications of the condition; the mom to be feels fine, but until she has her baby, she will likely be put on bed rest and monitored closely, as preeclampsia can quickly escalate to severe swelling, seizures and even coma or death.

            As many as 8 percent of pregnant women worldwide are diagnosed with preeclampsia, and while the condition is on the rise in the USA, no one knows exactly what causes it. Some researchers have suspected fetal DNA or pieces of the placenta – long known to circulate in the bodies of pregnant women – could kick off an inflammatory immune response intended to kill and clean up the intruders. Hilary Gammill, an OBGYN at the university of Washington, has spent years looking at fetal cells in particular. In a recent study, she and colleagues compared blood samples from 46 pregnant women diagnosed with preeclamspia with samples from 47 women with uncomplicated pregancies. The researchees found that the women with preeclampsia were more likely to have in fact fetal cells in their bloodstream, and many more of them.

            While carrying more fetal cells seems to protect against breast cancer, women with severe preeclamspia have up to an eightfold risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Such outcomes may be linked to an immune response similar to that of preeclamspia. “It’s sort of a double edged word,” Gammill says.

            She aims to learn more about these stowaway cells so she can figure out what triggers preeclampsia and tailor treatments for her patients, who may experience its effects long after pregnancy. – Cameron Walker

          • Ella Warnock

            ;->

          • Andrea Plávková

            I am for making abortions hard to get? Guess what, in my country, abortions aren´t free. I guess they are partly covered by the universal insurance, but they aren´t 100% free and they shouldn´t be- as when they are not medically necessary, they don´t fit into normal healthcare, as pregnancy and childbirth are normal results of conception, unless a miscarriage occurs. So if we- the state, the taxpayers, support healthcare for pregnant women and support parenthood financially, it is sort of schizophrenic to fund abortions as well, as it leads to exactly opposite result. And yes, abortions are unethical, because it means that someone gets by their own actions into a situation that is inconvenient to them- for many reasons, some are really serious, some are only about spoilt princesses who don´t want to restrict their freedoms and comfort by gestation (but I believe those are a tiny minority and most women have serious reasons that would have a negative impact on their child´s quality of life) and someone else suffers the consequences…so yes, in some cases abortion seems as the least evil option for desperate women…it doesn´t mean that there aren´t better options, but those ladies are under terrible pressure…I don´t think the state should actively support them in what seems as the easiest solution- to get rid of the fetus, I think motherhood should be supported more instead, as well as adoption system. I don´t think anyone has ever regretted giving birth, and if they did, it wasn´t because of the pregnancy itself, but many women deeply regret their abortions, but it seems to me that pro-choice activists consider them “empowered” after the aborition and don´t care about their pain. I don´t shame women who have had abortions they were pressured into by their bad family, social, economic, health or other situation or who were directly or indirectly coerced into it by other person- unsupportive parents, violent husband, careless creator of the child, etc.- but on the other hand, I don´t like the idea of a woman aborting her child despite the fact there is a person (her parent, boyfriend, friend..) who is willing to take care of the child and seems capable of it, only because she doesn´t want to go through pregnancy (if there is no serious threat to her health, of course there are risks connected to every pregnancy, but it is up to doctors to evaluate those risks). Even in those cases, there should be a legal right to terminate the pregnancy, to exercise her “sovereignity” over her body, I don´t like the idea of goverments, or anyone else, being the supreme masters of our bodies at all- but please, don´t tell me you see no ethical dimension in this issue and that you consider all reasons why to terminate a pregnancy morally equal…

          • purrtriarchy

            as when they are not medically necessary, they don´t fit into normal
            healthcare, as pregnancy and childbirth are normal results of conception

            Doesn’t make pregnancy safe, or healthy. It’s still a medical condition. Which is why an entire medical specialty is dedicated to pregnancy. Pregnancy takes a tremendous toll on the female body, and is most definitely NOT the default state of existence for women.

            And yes, abortions are unethical, because it means that someone gets by their own actions into a situation that is inconvenient to them-

            Sex isn’t a crime. And a prenate isn’t a person. And pregnancy and the decision to bring a new person into the world isn’t a ‘minor inconvenience’.

            only because she doesn´t want to go through pregnancy (if there is no serious threat to her health, of course there are risks connected to every pregnancy, but it is up to doctors to evaluate those risks)

            It isn’t up to the doctors. It is up to the person facing the risks. No doctor can predict whether or not a woman will die or become permanently maimed/injured from pregnancy. ANYTHING can go wrong, at any time, in even a ‘perfectly healthy’ pregnancy. And birth and labour are torture. Unless you would consider having a large bowling ball sized object shoved into your vagina to be a ‘normal and healthy’ state of being?

            And none of the side effects listed below could possibly qualify as ‘healthy':

            Normal, frequent
            or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

            exhaustion (weariness
            common from first weeks)

            altered appetite
            and senses of taste and smell

            nausea and vomiting
            (50% of women, first trimester)

            heartburn and indigestion

            constipation

            weight gain

            dizziness and light-headedness

            bloating, swelling,
            fluid retention

            hemmorhoids

            abdominal cramps

            yeast infections

            congested, bloody
            nose

            acne and mild skin
            disorders

            skin discoloration
            (chloasma, face and abdomen)

            mild to severe backache
            and strain

            increased headaches

            difficulty sleeping,
            and discomfort while sleeping

            increased urination
            and incontinence

            bleeding gums

            pica

            breast pain and
            discharge

            swelling of joints,
            leg cramps, joint pain

            difficulty sitting,
            standing in later pregnancy

            inability to take
            regular medications

            shortness of breath

            higher blood pressure

            hair loss

            tendency to anemia

            curtailment of ability
            to participate in some sports and activities

            infection
            including from serious and potentially fatal disease

            (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
            non-pregnant women, and
            are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

            extreme pain on
            delivery

            hormonal mood changes,
            including normal post-partum depression

            continued post-partum
            exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
            — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
            fully recover)

            Normal, expectable,
            or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

            stretch marks (worse
            in younger women)

            loose skin

            permanent weight
            gain or redistribution

            abdominal and vaginal
            muscle weakness

            pelvic floor disorder
            (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
            and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
            incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
            the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

            changes to breasts

            varicose veins

            scarring from episiotomy
            or c-section

            other permanent
            aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
            by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

            increased proclivity
            for hemmorhoids

            loss of dental and
            bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

            higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

            newer research indicates
            microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
            mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

            Occasional complications
            and side effects:

            complications of episiotomy

            spousal/partner
            abuse

            hyperemesis gravidarum

            temporary and permanent
            injury to back

            severe
            scarring
            requiring later surgery
            (especially after additional pregnancies)

            dropped (prolapsed)
            uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
            pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
            and enterocele)

            pre-eclampsia
            (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
            with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

            eclampsia (convulsions,
            coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

            gestational diabetes

            placenta previa

            anemia (which
            can be life-threatening)

            thrombocytopenic
            purpura

            severe cramping

            embolism
            (blood clots)

            medical disability
            requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
            many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
            or baby)

            diastasis recti,
            also torn abdominal muscles

            mitral valve stenosis
            (most common cardiac complication)

            serious infection
            and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

            hormonal imbalance

            ectopic pregnancy
            (risk of death)

            broken bones (ribcage,
            “tail bone”)

            hemorrhage
            and

            numerous other complications
            of delivery

            refractory gastroesophageal
            reflux disease

            aggravation of pre-pregnancy
            diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
            of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
            prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

            severe post-partum
            depression and psychosis

            research now indicates
            a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
            including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

            research also now
            indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
            in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

            research also indicates
            a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
            and cardiovascular disease

            Less common (but
            serious) complications:

            peripartum cardiomyopathy

            cardiopulmonary
            arrest

            magnesium toxicity

            severe hypoxemia/acidosis

            massive embolism

            increased intracranial
            pressure, brainstem infarction

            molar pregnancy,
            gestational trophoblastic disease
            (like a pregnancy-induced
            cancer)

            malignant arrhythmia

            circulatory collapse

            placental abruption

            obstetric fistula

            More
            permanent side effects:

            future infertility

            permanent disability

            death.

          • L-dan

            Thank you for the counter wall of text. I’ve only got the time for so much…and damn…it’s like someone feeling they need to throw every argument on the books at you at once, on the off chance you haven’t heard one of them a million times before.

          • purrtriarchy
          • Ella Warnock

            Always love this list. Not that antis don’t still la-la-la with their fingers in their ears. Happy, golden unicorn farts and rose-scented, rainbow colored fairy turds, alas.

          • purrtriarchy

            I’ve been struggling lately because my SSD is currently inacessible due to a motherboard crash, and I cant access most of my citations.

            List cjvgs essay on fetal sentience((

          • Andrea Plávková

            Why most women don´t choose abortion every time they get pregnant, then? because to them, having a child is worth all those risks and problems…the reason is in most cases they are afraid of what will happen to them, the unborn child, or their already born children AFTER they give birth.

          • DonnaDiva

            Love how you assume all women have a choice in the matter. They don’t. Your next assumption is that all women are meant to be mothers, at any time a pregnancy occurs. Also false.

          • Andrea Plávková

            Not all women are meant to be mothers and all women should be able to choose to remain childless. I agree in many cases women are coerced into having children. That shouldn´t happen. But many women are also coerced -directly or indirectly- into having abortions. That is even worse.

          • Dez

            Forcing a woman to have children or an abortion are equally reprehensible. It completely takes autonym away from the woman and treats her as a object to do whatever with.

          • L-dan

            ” don´t think anyone has ever regretted giving birth, and if they did, it wasn´t because of the pregnancy itself,”

            laughs and laughs. Then your circle is rather small. Plenty of people regret giving birth. Plenty regret the damage to their bodies from the pregnancy. Plenty love their children and do not regret having them but hate pregnancy with the fire of a thousand suns because it is so awful for them. You’re being ridiculous. “nobody regrets pregnancy, but many regret abortion” is flat out false.

            Sorry, going through pregnancy has zero to do with whether someone else is willing to take care of it after it is born. The decision is to whether or not to go through the risks and work of growing the embryo into a baby in the first place.

            Seriously…you hit every space on the anti-choice bingo chart. Yeesh. I’m not remotely going through that shit point by point, there’s an entire site here you can find all of them refuted on.

            You basically want abortion available, but only in the circumstances *you* deem morally ok. You want people to have to check in with you on a decision that should remain up to them, their doctors, and whomever they wish to pull in to the decision. You basically are saying that you do not trust the moral compass of pregnant women. Ick.

            Yep. I consider all reasons to terminate a pregnancy morally equivalent, and all of them aren’t my business unless I’m the one making that decision. I see no moral high ground in forcing people to carry pregnancies to term, period.

          • Andrea Plávková

            I want abortion available in all circumstances, but I can have an opinion about the morality of the woman´s decision…I don´t see moral high ground in forcing people to carry to term, but I see moral high ground in a decision to carry to term despite all the risks and problems connected to it, so yes, a woman who gives birth stands morally higher than the one who refuses to do so in my eyes (of course, unless the woman causes harm to the baby in her uterus by alcohol, drugs etc. or if she doesn´t give the child for adoption but becomes an abusive or neglectful mother instead).

          • purrtriarchy

            Forcing a woman to give birth does not make her more “moral”.

            And sometimes, abortion can be the moral choice.

            Everyone’s life is different and it is not our place to judge

          • Andrea Plávková

            If she is forced to give birth, it is not her moral choice. If she gives birth voluntarily despite all the obstacles and becomes a good mother- or helps to find a good parent for the child- or at least leaves it up to the state, then it is a moral decision. I personally know a case when the abortions the girl had were -maybe- the better thing to do, because she was taking drugs and didn´t want to harm the baby. As I said, when the child is, or is at risk of being severely damaged, abortion is understandable- but those cases should be prevented, by sex education, contraception etc.- they will be probably never eliminated completely, but should be as rare as possible.

          • Dez

            Seriously? That’s sick. I respect both options as long as the woman makes it.

          • purrtriarchy

            I don´t think anyone has ever regretted giving birth, and if they did,
            it wasn´t because of the pregnancy itself, but many women deeply regret
            their abortions, but it seems to me that pro-choice activists consider
            them “empowered” after the aborition and don´t care about their pain.

            imnotsorry.net

            People who regret having children:

            https://www.google.ca/search?q=i+regret+having+children&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb&gfe_rd=cr&ei=NDSnU43NK-OV8QeU_ICIAg

            PTSD and birth:

            https://www.google.ca/search?q=ptsd+birth&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb&gfe_rd=cr&ei=SDSnU-ytNuOV8QeU_ICIAg

          • Ella Warnock

            “I don´t think anyone has ever regretted giving birth”

            It’s taboo to admit it; that’s why women will only speak of it behind the curtain of online anonymity. Anything in the world can be regrettable. There’s no rational reason to believe that giving birth would somehow magically be exempt from regret.

          • Andrea Plávková

            About whether I care for the women who risk their lives by unsafe abortions- imagine you are a drug addict. You need your drug, but it is illegal. You cannot buy it legally. Do I think drugs should be decriminalized? Yes. Do I think the “war on drugs” costs many lives unnecessarily? Yes. But does it mean that the government is directly responsible for what happens to you, if you decide to put some random shit you bought in the streets in your veins? No, they aren´t, they didn´t force you to do so. They could have prevented it by legalizing those drugs, but risking your life and health was your- more or less free-decision. If, on the other hand, a drug or medication you need to save your life or to prevent great harm to your health was outlawed and you wouldn´t be able to get a permission to use it, then yes, the government would be directly responsible for the consequences.

          • purrtriarchy

            So now you are comparing the decision of a woman to engage in a healthy sex life to criminal drug use???

            Just shows where your mind is. S1ut shaming all the way to the bank.

          • Andrea Plávková

            No, that´s not waht I say….the point wasn´t to compare a legal activity, such as sex, to drug use..it was about having another option that is more difficult ( to seek addiction treatment, or to carry to term and deliver the baby), but choosing the more dangerous one instead. BTW I didn´t compare having sex to drug use, I compared illegal abortion(such as in Ireland) to illegal drug use- but only to make a comparison that is easily understandable.

            But OK, let´s make a different example…if, in my country, abortion is legal in the first 12 weeks and I find out that I am pregnant later ( I have used conrtraception, I have my period, no morning sickness etc., so there´s no reason to suspect) and even though the doctors say my pregnancy is normal and healthy, my family doesn´t threaten to kill me, I am not at risk of being thrown into street with no resources, but I think that my pregnancy would affect my life too much at the moment, what can I do? I can travel abroad, or have an illegal abortion by a professional if I have enough money, or try to get an unproffesional procedure, if I don´t. (in Slovakia, the women are not prosecuted, only the people who perform the abortion). I can hire any dumb guy that is willing to do it cheaply, or even try to do it myself- if it affects my health, should I sue the government for not enabling me to have abortion in, let´s say, 20th week? Of course not…any judge would tell me to go to hell, because it was MY (and the other person involved) unreasonable, dangerous action that damaged my health. Yes, abortions should remain legal. Yes, their legalization leads to less injuries and deaths caused by illegal, unprofessional abortions, but that doesn´t mean that in many cases, women don´t have any responsibility for what happens to them if they insist on having abortions at any cost. ( As I said, there are reasons when seeking illegal, back-alley abortions is understandable- I forgot to add, it isn´t only when their lives or health are seriously theratened directly by the pregnancy itself, it´s also when they – or their children are at risk of ending up homeless,starving, in extreme poverty, or the fetus is severely damaged, or similar cases that make the pregnancy impossible for them)

        • Ella Warnock

          “Uncomfortable.”

          **eye roll**

          • Andrea Plávková

            And isn´t it uncomfortable? Yes, it is…but the discomfort isn´t the main reason why abortions occur, as most women who have them either have already had children, or will have them later. Abortions should remain a legal option, but parenthood should be supported and encouraged.

          • purrtriarchy

            Well then if that’s the case, and pregnancy is ALWAYS a minor inconvenience, is perfectly natural and healthy, and really,no one ever regrets actually giving birth, then why do women seek abortion to *end being pregnant*? Why don’t they just keep gestating every time they get pregnant and give the kid up for adoption?

            Why not just be pregnant ALL THE DAMN TIME if it’s only mildly uncomfortable, and really inconsequential, as you keep telling us?

          • Andrea Plávková

            They don´t have the abortions because of the pregnancies, as most of them has already been pregnant or will get pregnant and give birth in the future. They have the abortions because they are desperate that they cannot take care of the child and they see it as the least complicated solution.

          • purrtriarchy

            If it was as simple as that they could just have every baby and give the ones they don’t want up for adoption.

            So why don’t they?

            Perhaps because birth is more than a tad uncomfy

          • Andrea Plávková

            I guess that women who already have families, their own children, think they can´t simply carry to term and give up for adoption, as it would be very difficult to explain it to other people, but, fin the first place, to their children. And many women connect emotionally to the babies they gestate even if they know they wouldn´t be able to raise them- so they rather pretend the pregnancy was never there.

          • purrtriarchy

            Then it is not as simple as you are pretending. And the women are not as selfish as you are pretending.

            Maybe, just maybe, women want to do what’s best for their current children AND their future children – which involves planning if and when to give birth.

            Having children you can’t care for is abuse

          • Andrea Plávková

            I don´t think women are selfish. I have said that a tiny minority of women are selfish and I don´t like it at all, but their rights still should be respected- and that most abortions happen when there are serious reasons for it- and those reasons should be fought and eliminated. I don´t wish abortions to be illegal, I wish them to be as much unnecessary as possible.

          • Andrea Plávková

            BTW most women don´t have abortions…yes, I know the numbers are really high in the US, here in Slovakia the numbers are lower, but still too high in my opinion…but most women keep gestating everytime they get pregnant…they value every baby conceived.

          • purrtriarchy

            Yes if course. The numbers are too high because the women who have abortions are baby hating s1uts. Right???

          • Andrea Plávková

            If one third of American women isn´t a high number, then I don´t know what would be too much for you. Too much abortions that CAN be prevented (prevention doesn´t mean banning them, I hope you already understand that I am not for banning).

          • purrtriarchy

            Of course contraception is preferable to abortion. Prevention is always preferable to anything.

            However, abortion should not be stigmatized. That only strengthens pro lifers who then work to ban abortion under all circumstances.

          • DonnaDiva

            Well yeah, because once you’ve had one baby you should always be ready and willing to have another! This is very similar to the belief that a woman who has had sex with one man has given preemptive consent to all future acts of sex with that man, as well as any others.

          • Ella Warnock

            It’s a lot more than uncomfortable, so of course it isn’t the main reason. But, you know, “only nine months” and “minor inconvenience” and “perfectly natural=always good” tra-la-la. Parenthood should be supported and encouraged if that’s what a woman freely chooses, obviously.

            Otherwise, it’s just another attempt to manipulate someone – usually emotionally – into something that’s ultimately for someone else’s benefit; i.e., the coercer will be happy that you’ve done what ‘they’ wanted you to do, or someone who’s desperate for an infant gets a nice, new, white fresh one (all the endorphins with none of the hard work, what a deal!), etc.

          • Andrea Plávková

            “with none of the hard work”- while no one doubts that pregnancy and childbirth definitely are hard work, most of the hard work related to children starts after the baby is born. I have always thought that people who try to convince women not to have abortions in order to take care of their unwanted baby do it out of love and compassion for the child, in order to provide their love and care to the child, not in order to take pleasure in exploiting the poor pregnant lady´s body, but that´s just my opinion.

          • purrtriarchy

            Your newborn or toddler can’t fucking KILL YOU.

          • Ella Warnock

            Your opinion is fine for you, and you’re certainly welcome to it. I remain sceptical and cynical about many of the ‘pro-life’ crowd. Those who are starting to climb the walls about contraception leave me with little doubt about their motivations. It hasn’t anything to do with love and compassion for children, that’s for sure.

          • Andrea Plávková

            I have never opposed the use of contraception. When I was younger, I used to be radically pro-life, but now I am pro-choice. Tha doesn´t mean, however, that I support normalizing abortions in the culture and in people´s minds. It´s the reasons for for abortions that should be fought and eliminated, not the laws that enable getting a legal abortion- but abortion isn´t something normal. it isn´t anything to be proud of. It isn´t- at least I assume-included in any girl´s life plans, dreams or goals. It´s something people want- rightly- to avoid, so they should be supported in their decisions to never become pregnant, if they don´t want to – and motivated to carry to term without fear for their- or the child´s future.

          • purrtriarchy

            In other words, keep abortion as something that should be shameful and stigmatized.

            Yeah. That’s why pro-lifers find it easy to roll women’s rights back – as long as abortion is kept in the shadows, as something evil and dirty.

          • Andrea Plávková

            To me, choosing abortion is shameful- in SOME cases. In other cases, it is a sad thing that was maybe possible to prevent- by her family, by the man who conceived the child, by her friends,by the state…and maybe wasn´t.

          • Ella Warnock

            Yes, I shouldn’t have had to battle for nine years after I married to find someone who wouldn’t tell me “you’ll change your mind” or “oh, biological clock blah blah blah.” Finally got to shock and awe those pesky tubes when I found a sane gyno out of state.

            As a staunchly childfree woman, I don’t know what I would have done if BC failed. Abortion would have been on the table, though, because reasons. Which would not be anyone else’s purview but mine and my beloved’s.

          • DonnaDiva

            You don’t oppose contraception. Great. I eagerly await the anti-choicers you’ve aligned yourself with to embrace that view. No sign of that happening yet.

          • Andrea Plávková

            I am not an anti-choicer, but I guess you have to sort this out with your anti-choicers in the US. I don´t know anyone willing to ban contraception in my country…

          • DonnaDiva

            But it is still exploiting a pregnant person, particularly if you’re coercing or guilt-tripping her into providing you with an infant. The idea that poor women exist to provide babies to richer infertile couples is quite appalling.

          • Andrea Plávková

            So you oppose paid surrogacy? I think it should be legal everywhere…but that´s not what I was talking about, I was talking about the child´s father, or the woman´s family member, or her friend who would be willing and capable of providing care for the baby…the woman who is “guilt-tripped” into carrying to term properly doesn´t do it for the caregiver, she does it for the baby.

          • DonnaDiva

            Do you not understand the difference between “choice” and “coercion”?

          • Andrea Plávková

            What makes you think so? 1. I am not for coercion, when it comes to pregnancy and 2. Being, as you said, “guilt-tripped” into giving life isn´t coercion- it´s the choice between following your conscience and ignoring it- a choice that everyone has to make in many situations, unwanted pregnancy included.

          • Dez

            Wrong. Women and men should be supported whether they choose to have children or not. It’s sad you value motherhood as a quality for women. It’s not the 1960s anymore. Women are more than baby making machines.

          • Andrea Plávková

            I don´t value women for motherhood only. Every woman´s decision not to have children should be respected. I however respect it even more when you- no matter whether you are a man or a woman- are able to make some sacrifices to your personal comfort for the sake of someone else, especially when it is an innocent being who got into the situation by no fault on their part-such as unborn baby. I know many people don´t consider unborn fetuses to be people, but to me, they are too much alive for us to simply ignore their interests.

          • purrtriarchy

            Every post of yours is dripping with contempt for women who ‘don’t do the right thing’

            Where you’re wrong is that you are assuming that women have abortions out of *selfishness*.

            Sometimes, NOT having a child is the least selfish thing to do. Bringing a child into the world that you know will suffer, that you can’t provide with the best quality of life, IS SELFISH. Having 12 kids and then neglecting them because you have too many IS SELFISH. Mindless breeding results in lowerered quality of life, and that IS SELFISH.

          • Andrea Plávková

            Of course having children and neglecting them later is selfish- or, let´s say, irresponsible- because you have in fact no pleasue from having them, when you don´t care about them…my contempt is reserved for thosw women who choose abortions and men who try to manipulate women into abortions only because of their personal comfort and unwillingness to make any sacrifices, not even to carry the child to term, if there is a good reason to believe the child will receive the care it deserves- or to support thier pregnant girlfriends, wives, daughters etc. at least during the pregnancy.

          • purrtriarchy

            Do you have contempt for men who engage in reproductive coercion?

            For women who would rather kill themselves than be forced to gestate?

          • Andrea Plávková

            Men who coerce women to have children or not to have them are disgusting…women who would rather kill themselves than gestate do probably have some mental problems, there´s nothing contemptible about it…they should receive treatment, but I don´t say they should be forced to gestate…they shouldn´t

          • Dez

            Choosing to have children is not sacrificing anything,. A woman chooses to continue a pregnancy and the possible consequences. That is called talking responsibility that a lot of people do. It’s truly sad you value certain women and men over others. Those of us who choose not to have children should be valued as well. You do not see us bringing in children that we can not care or love.

      • TheBrett

        “Can they not use self-control?!!” – Anthony Comstock, 1870. There’s nothing new under the sun with the Anti-Choice crowd, not least delusion masking itself as high-minded “I’m constricting women’s choices because I just think so highly of them!“.

        I suppose at least the “secular” anti-choice blogger recognizes the importance of preventing unwanted pregnancies, although I suspect said blogger also has regressive views on the most effective forms of contraception and a giant mass of regressive views on women and sexuality if pressed. They almost always do when pressed.

      • DonnaDiva

        I’m pretty sure they also think thousands of women being jailed for violating abortion bans is just fine. Gotta set some examples, amirite?

    • purrtriarchy

      They don’t care if women die from botched abortions should abortion become illegal.

      The view them as criminals who deserve what’s coming to them should they die from self induced abortions. They also think a few dead women is an acceptable price to pay for millions of fetal lives saved.
      http://blog.secularprolife.org/2014/05/the-back-alley-argument-repurposed.html?m=1

      The thing is, they claim to care deeply about women’s lives.. Yet treat them as criminals

    • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

      We find those four examples sad. But if I would copy+paste them at Lie Action News, they would probably get real hard-ons everyone there. Because that is the core of their sick and disgusting agenda: give birth, shut up or die.

  • ldwendy

    It’s interesting that shortly after Mara’s article was posted, Lifenews.com issued a report saying that the number of Irish women traveling to England for abortions have decreased.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/12/abortions-on-irish-women-heading-to-england-drop-again-down-44-since-2001/

    Is the HSE/Crisis Pregnancy Programme a valid data source?

    • lady_black

      It doesn’t include women who obtained medication from Women On The Web and self-aborted.

    • colleen2

      Perhaps Irish women have better sources for effective contraception and mifepristone.

    • cjvg

      The HSE/Crisis Pregnancy Programme is a government organization, it is part of the national health insurance program in the United kingdom. HSE stands for ” The Health and Safety Executive” the part pertaining to crisis pregnancy should be self explanatory. It is comparable to our CDC and Medicare if we rolled it all into one and covered the heath care needs of every person in the states.

      Excuse me if I strongly doubt that your little anti-choice website is not nearly as knowledgeable,(or even in possession of the actual statistics)as the actual government agencies covering the healthcare needs of the citizen of the United kingdoms (the united kingdom is included England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)

      I think its credibility is a tad better then that of some American website that is obviously not impartial and that has a clear pro-life agenda.

      • ldwendy

        Thank you for explaining!

        • cjvg

          You’re welcome

  • Karolina de Honestis

    Patriarchy and Abrahamitic religions are intertwined. In fact, patriarchy is the evil spawn of the abrahamitic religions and their best tool of control, as well as a divider and conquerer.

  • TheBrett

    I fired off an e-mail to my bank to figure out what happens if I make a credit card donation in Euros instead of dollars (Women on Web only takes credit card donations in Euros). I’ve donated money to the Lilith Fund down in Texas, and I’d love to donate money to Women on Web, but I’ve got to figure that out first.