Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pro-choice film showing in Cork - Wednesday 11 December

Cork Women's Right to Choose will be hosting a showing of the film "If These Wall Could Talk" at Solidarity Books (43 Douglas Street, Cork City) on Wednesday 11 December at 7:30pm

If These Walls Could Talk consists of three short separate stories that each deal with the controversial issue of abortion. Although each of the stories is set in a different decade, the unifying element (aside from the subject matter) is that all three transpire in the same house. The first story stars Demi Moore as the widow of a soldier killer in combat. She becomes pregnant and does not feel it would be morally appropriate to have the baby. Because it is the '50s, she must attempt to secure an illegal abortion. The second story, set in the '70s, stars Sissy Spacek as a mother of a struggling family. Having successfully raised four children on a meagre income, Spacek's character must now decide if she should seek an abortion after finding out she is expecting a fifth. The final story takes place in the '90s. Anne Heche portrays a grad student who crosses protestors' picket lines in order to consult a doctor (Cher) about having an abortion.

This event has a fund-raising aspect to it and there will be a raffle along with entry by donation.

After the film there will be a short discussion period for anyone interested in getting more actively involved in pro-choice campaigning in Cork.

Submission to Constitutional Convention

Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group

Submission to the Convention on the Irish Constitution

For a referendum to repeal Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution

About Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group

1. Cork Women's Right To Choose is a long-standing single-issue group; a loose alliance of women and men who believe that a woman has the right to control her fertility. We believe that abortion should be treated as a health issue and not as a criminal law matter. We campaign for full safe and legal access to abortion and reproductive health services for all women in Ireland regardless of income, age, sexuality, race, ability, geography, immigration status, or culture. We are a voluntary, not-for-profit lobby and direct action organisation.

Executive summary

2. Under the Resolution of the Houses of the Oireachtas of July, 2012, the Constitutional Convention is required to examine a range of issues and make other recommendations as it sees fit. Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group asks the Constitutional Convention to include consideration of Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann in its deliberations, and to then recommend there be a referendum to remove this article from the Constitution

3. We make this request on the basis that the Constitution should reflect the reality of the lives of Irish citizens – and this Article manifestly does not.

The facts

4. At least 150,000 women have been forced to travel to the UK for an abortion since the Eighth Amendment was passed in 1983. In the past few years the thousands who still travel abroad have been joined by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who are procuring the RU 486 “abortion pill” over the internet. They are then self-administering at home without suitable medical supervision and thereby putting their health in danger.

5. Alongside this social reality that somewhere between 10 to 15% of women in Ireland today have had an abortion, opinion polls in recent years consistently show a significant majority of people living in the Republic favour an extension of abortion rights. This parallels the latest research into the opinions of GPs and medical students which also shows a clear majority in favour of extending abortion rights.

6. These figures highlight the clear social need for this generally straight-forward medical procedure to be made freely available in Ireland.

For social justice

7. Migrant women, women with little or no income, women with disabilities or who are unable to travel for whatever reason, women facing a pregnancy with a medical diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality have all suffered disproportionately over the past three decades.

8. The constraints of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution led to the new legislation on abortion rights, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, prohibiting abortion in cases of rape, incest, inevitable miscarriage and fatal foetal abnormality, while women or girls who are suicidal as a result of unwanted pregnancy will most likely travel abroad rather than seek an abortion here under its terms. This Constitutional straightjacket ignores the needs of women who decide that having an abortion is in their best interest, and in the form of the new Act criminalises women and those who support them, including their doctors, if they access abortion here in Ireland.

9. As Alan Shatter's observed in the Dáil on 27th November 2012:

“There is no impediment to men seeking and obtaining any required medical intervention to protect not only their lives but also their health and quality of life ... It can truly be said that the right of pregnant women to have their health protected is, under our constitutional framework, a qualified right ... This is a republic in which we proclaim the equality of all our citizens but the reality is that some citizens are more equal than others.”


10. Women’s rights should be reinforced and not qualified or restricted by the Constitution. It is time women in Ireland were treated as valued individuals with full and equal human rights. Termination of pregnancy should therefore be treated as a women’s health matter and not a criminal or constitutional one. Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group want to see a legal framework that really meets women’s needs and reflects the importance of women’s rights by providing for free and safe abortion on this island available for all women who require it.

11. We therefore call on the Constitutional Convention to stand with the majority of the Irish population who support an extension to abortion rights within the State by recommending there be a referendum to remove Article 40.3.3.


Other pro-choice submissions to the Constitutional Convention - Available on the Constitutional Convention web site:

Message from Abortion Support Network

Dear Supporter,

It’s been a milestone year for ASN – in September  we took our 1,000th call. And although we can’t always help everyone who calls, we’re amazed that we have been able to help so many women who needed to travel to England to access a safe and legal abortion.

Did you know that the more people who support us - the more people like you who know about us - the more women we can help?

We know that many of you already talk to close friends and family about what we do, and that some of you found out about us from a friend. Will you help us spread the word about ASN today?

“I had assumed that travelling to the UK for an abortion was a straightforward option for Irish women. Talking to a friend who was a supporter of ASN, I realised that my view was quite naive, and that the economic restrictions for certain women were as big a barrier as the law.” – ASN Supporter

It's easy to spread the word! The next time abortion comes up in the news, please consider telling a friend or family member (or two!) who we are and why you support us. You can also share our page on Facebook, or copy and paste the email below to your friends who would be interested in how we help women in Ireland every day.

Thank you very much for all your support – let’s reach even more supporters today!

With great thanks,

Mara Clarke
Director, Abortion Support Network

PS: Thank you so much for your support for ASN. Please help us spread the word about ASN today by sending the below email to three – or more! – friends who may support us too.

Hey there,

With abortion in the news so much lately, I thought you might like to know about a charity that’s important to me, Abortion Support Network (ASN).

Campaigning for legal change is vitally important, but every day women in Ireland have to pay £400-£2000 and leave their own country to access a safe, legal abortion. ASN helps women by offering practical information about travel and procedures, free accommodation for women who need to stay overnight in England, and grants for women and families who can’t afford the fees and travel on their own.

I support ASN because I don’t think it’s fair that Irish women in Ireland – including Northern Ireland – who can’t afford to travel are forced to continue pregnancies they don’t want, sometimes putting their lives and health at risk. As little as £20 can be all that stands between a woman and the abortion she needs.

If you’d like to find out more about their work and how they help, you can sign up to their newsletter by clicking this link. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CWRCG contingent at the March for Choice

Friday, September 27, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Join the Abortion Rights Campaign on September 28th at 2 pm at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin to March for Choice along with millions of people across the world who will participate in the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion

Join the Facebook event

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pro-Choice public meeting in Cork

Cork Womens Right to Choose Group is hosting a public meeting to discuss the topic "After the X-Case legislation - where now?" on Thursday 3 October, 8pm at the Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain St, Cork


- Mara Clarke from Abortion Support Network (who provide financial, logistical and emotional support for women travelling to Britain for abortions)

- Mary Favier from Doctors For Choice Ireland

- Sandra McAvoy from Cork Womens Right to Choose Group

This is an important opportunity for pro-choice activists in Cork to discuss our future activity so there will plenty of time for discussion.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cork Women's Right to Choose Group on legislation

Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group (CWRCG) begins its campaign to Repeal of the Eighth Amendment today.

Pro-Choice organisations supported attempts to legislate on the X Case because of the symbolic importance of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

As amendment after amendment was rejected, it became clear that the legislation would be very restrictive and represented no advance in women’s rights. Indeed, the section dealing with suicidal women, in particular, seems designed to ensure those who can afford it can travel to England while those too poor or sick to travel risk involuntary admission to a mental hospital.

In particular CWRCG would point to the penalties that can be imposed on any woman having an abortion outside the framework of the new Act:

CWRCG spokesperson Sandra McAvoy explained:

“We know that hundreds, if not thousands, of Irish women are now using the ‘abortion pills’ to self-abort every year. A punitive fine and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, as provided for by the new law, will only make these women much less likely to seek medical assistance if they suffer complications. It does not take much imagination to understand that a young girl, afraid to tell anyone she is pregnant may access pills through the internet and be terrified to seek help if she bleeds profusely.

By continuing the criminalisation of women self-aborting in Ireland (while guaranteeing the right to travel for an abortion) far from resulting in the “Protection of Life” this new Act will actually endanger the lives of the increasing number of women who take this pill in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.’ 

Thousands of women every year will continue to make the difficult decision to seek an abortion. Bizarrely, the same legislation that threatens them with prison for having abortions in Ireland protects their rights to travel and to obtain information on having abortions abroad. CWRCG, like the rest of the Pro-Choice movement in Ireland, will continue to offer what support we can to women going through this process. Alongside that we will continue to fight to bring about real change in Ireland that will see the end to the current dark-ages approach to women’s rights. The only way to do that is to repeal the 8th Amendment.

Abortion Rights Campaign on legislation

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) welcomes the Irish government’s initiative in moving the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, while noting that the Bill is over 21 years overdue. Despite a mandate from the European Court of Human Rights, women in Ireland have been forced to wait unnecessarily while legislators drag their feet, ignoring the ABC case decision and the results of two referendum. At last, the pro-choice movement, buoyed by the support from the people of Ireland, could not be ignored.

Despite the move to legislate, ARC asserts that the bill is not fit for purpose, nor does it comply with the ruling that any legal framework for abortion services must include accessibility. Failure to comply with the European Court of Human Rights judgement violates women’s rights. Politicians, who otherwise promote the importance of mental health issues, have absurdly created a traumatising process of assessment for suicidal pregnant women. The steps involved in procuring legal termination to save a woman’s health in this Bill do not constitute accessibility. ARC therefore welcomes the principled stance taken by a number of pro-choice TDs in voting No to the legislation.

This is legislation we can’t live with. Provision must be made to allow terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities. Women and their families, suffering the grief of knowing their much-wanted pregnancies are incompatible with life, should be able to avail of medical care in their own country.

ARC are seriously concerned about the potential outcomes from the criminalising of women and those who assist them. Women who self-administer the abortion pill, dissuaded from seeking necessary medical follow-up lest she be prosecuted, will be denied their basic right to health care. Because of the criminal penalties outlined in the Bill, a doctor may once again refuse to provide a life saving abortion because of potential legal sanctions against them. This Bill lacks the clarity to earn its name.

We now need to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution which equates the right to life of a woman to an embryo or foetus, regardless of the woman’s state of health, regardless of all the other factors which may make it necessary for a woman to seek an abortion. Consistent opinion polls have shown that access to abortion is supported by the majority of the Irish people. It is only a matter of time before free, safe and legal abortion will be available in Ireland.

Galway Pro-Choice on legislation

21 years since the X Case Ruling, the Irish Government has finally introduced legislation to provide for life-saving terminations. However, instead of protecting women, it has made the route to their constitutional right to be so arduous that it effectively encourages them to continue to travel abroad even when legally entitled to a termination in this country.

For the first time in Irish law, this Act defines ‘unborn human life’ which was given an equal right to life to that of the woman, as a fertilised ovum from the moment of implantation. Consequently this bill does not offer the right to choose a termination to women in Ireland who are pregnant with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality. It makes no provision for abortion in cases of rape or incest, during an inevitable miscarriage while there is still a foetalheartbeat, nor indeed does it serve the needs of women whose health is at risk if a pregnancy is continued.

Orlaith Reidy of Galway Pro-Choice stated:

“Forcing women who are suicidal to face panels of between 3 to 7 medical professionals is such an ordeal in itself that women entitled to a legal abortion here will continue to travel abroad, rendering the legislation ineffective. There is also no provision to ensure those against terminations in all circumstances cannot sit on these decision making panels raising the possibility of a woman not being granted a termination regardless of her case including if there is a genuine risk to her life.”

Savita Halappanavar died in Galway University Hospital after being denied a termination of an inevitable miscarriage. The inquest into her death found that had she been granted it when she made the request, she would most likely still be alive today. T.D’s, including five from Galway voted against this legislation as they believe it is too broad and will equate to ‘abortion on demand’. Yet this legislation is so incredibly narrow it would not have saved Savita’s life.

Dette Mc Loughlin of Galway Pro-Choice said:

“Under the bill ‘illegal’ abortion continues to be a criminal offense, carrying a 14 year prison sentence for the woman, and also for a doctor that performs such a termination, putting undue pressure on medics. This will affect only the most vulnerable women; mostly the thousands who order abortion pills online and take them without medical supervision. This will have potentially devastating consequences as women will be afraid to seek the medical care they require.”

Galway Pro-Choice concludes that we now must move towards repealing the 8th amendment (Article 40.3.3 of the constitution) to deliver what women in Ireland need and deserve, and the majority of people in Ireland support. We, along with other groups in Ireland, are calling for a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment and will be launching our campaign with a public meeting at the end of the month.

Doctors for Choice on legislation

Doctors for Choice welcomes the end of 21 year filibuster however Criminalisation and Chill factor for Doctors remains in Bill.

“The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill is expected to pass later today following an adjournment at 5am. Whilst women and doctors have been waiting over 21 years for legislation on the The X Case judgement, this Bill does little to help women or doctors.

This Bill would most likely not have saved Savita Halappanavar. This Bill will not provide women with choice in the case of a fatal fetal abnormality or a pregnancy resulting from a criminal act- despite the overwhelming majority of the population supporting choice in these limited circumstances. In addition, an obstetrician will certify the mental health risk of women, though they are not trained in this area, and an inquisition-style panel of up to 7 medical practitioners will certify whether a woman can access an abortion.

Critically, the criminalisation of doctors and women with a 14-year prison sentence, for what is a standard healthcare procedure anywhere else in the world, will heighten the ‘chill factor’ in Ireland.

This passing of this Bill is but a pyrrhic victory. It is doubtful if the legislation will meet the ‘accessible and effective’ test of the A, B and C V’s Ireland case at the European Court of Human Rights. The Bill must be improved in the Seanad. We must also campaign for a repeal of the 8th Amendment, which has had such a toxic effect on women’s health.

We are committed to campaigning to make this Bill a better Bill for our patients and to repealing the 8th amendment’.