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!