The 19 women who represent the 19 women who have to travel every day to Britain to obtain an abortion wore T-Shirts with a large X on the front. The 1991 'X-Case' was when the Irish government injuncted a 14 year old rape victim in an attempt to prevent her travelling to Britain for an abortion. Massive demonstrations up to 15,000 strong forced the courts to back down and allow 'X' to travel.
The court decision at the time of the 'X' case opened up the possibility of suicidal women being able to obtain an abortion in Ireland. In 1992 the Government tried to remove that option through a referendum that would rule out the threat of suicide as a reason why doctors could provide a women with an abortion. They failed then but after 10 years of failing to introduce legislation to allow abortion where a women's life is under threat they are again holding a referendum to rule out the threat of suicide!
Cathleen O'Neill of the Alliance for a No Vote said
"By criminalising abortion, this fundamentalist law will keep the blanket of silence over Irish women who have had abortions and those who will have abortions in the future. Not one Irish woman - out of an estimated 100,000 who have had abortions in Britain since 1983 - felt able to tell the Oireachtas Committee about her experience. There is no acknowledgement of their experience - then or now. This law will feed the culture of denial and shame. The silencing of Irish women will, as others have said, cause a "national neurosis that flows from silence to flourish".
The Alliance for a No Vote was set up to campaign against this referendum and is supported by Irish anarchists of the Workers Solidarity Movement. We have been actively fighting for abortion rights since we formed in 1984 and in 1991 were involved in the organisation of the X case demonstrations. We say that women alone must have the freedom to decide whether or not to continue their pregnancy.
The referendum the government is proposing will mean that women who obtain abortions in Ireland could be sentenced to up to 12 years in jail. Irish anarchists must be active in opposing this move and during the referendum we must make the arguments for the right to choose.
Alliance for a No Vote (includes PDF files of the leaflets distributed and press release)
Dublin Abortion Rights Group
Anarchist articles on the fight for abortion rights in Ireland
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