In the early hours of Thursday morning, feminist pro-choice activists Díobháil (Bíonn Díobháil a dhéanamh againn: We make mischief) struck again and dropped a banner from Galway Cathedral stating “Repeal the 8th - Free, Safe, Legal” demanding access to abortion. For too long the Church and the State have controlled our bodies and our choices. It is time to finally end the unholy alliance of Church and State. While Díobháil respects peoples’ personal religious beliefs, these should not be imposed on others, and vast majority of people in Ireland agree. Let us not forget, St. Brigid was our first abortionist, and this is why we demand “Take your rosaries off our ovaries!”
Díobháil, along with the majority of the population in Ireland, are angered that the Irish state continues to fail us every single day when it does not fulfil its human rights obligations by (finally) introducing free, safe and legal access to abortion. How many more women must suffer and die before the Irish state takes real action?
We are treated like criminals facing a 14 year prison sentence for accessing abortion. We stand in solidarity with our comrades in Northern Ireland facing life imprisonment for accessing abortion and call for the 1967 Act to be extended.
Criminalising abortion does not stop abortions from happening. Abortions happen everyday, from pills ordered online to people travelling. Today at least ten women will travel to access healthcare, which should be available in Ireland. We must put an end to this hypocrisy.
Díobháil rejects state control over our bodies. The State’s oppressive laws mean people have no control over their bodies once they become pregnant. The 8th Amendment not only impacts access to abortion but also our maternity services. We stand with those most marginalised by this lack of access including women living in poverty, migrant women, asylum seekers and trans and non-binary folx.
In solidarity with activists, concerned individuals and groups across the island of Ireland, Díobháil wish to spread the pro-choice message near and far. We stand with others reclaiming public space like the Project Arts Centre, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, UNITE in Dublin, and countless street artists. Díobháil welcomes the increasing numbers of people who are demanding a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.
Repealing the 8th Amendment is the first step towards liberalising our abortion laws. The so-called Citizen's Assembly which will comprise of “appropriate” women, and otherwise known as the proverbial can being kicked down the road, is not good enough and we cannot wait.
Díobháil encourage women in Ireland who are in need of abortion to access www.womenhelp.org, www.needabortionireland.org and www.abortionsupportnetwork.org.uk, where they will receive non-judgemental, confidential and safe support.
The movement for reproductive rights is growing, here and across the globe. Díobháil is calling on the people of Galway and the island of Ireland to no longer be the silent majority. We need to speak out, we need to be part of the pro choice movement. Individuals and groups who wish to join the struggle to realise the right to bodily integrity and personal autonomy can join relevant regional groups such as Galway Pro-Choice, and the national group Abortion Rights Campaign.
We are not vessels, we are not incubators, we will not be silenced.
1. Amnesty International’s Red C Poll found that ‘82% of people polled who describe themselves as religious believe their religious views should apply to them and not be imposed on other people’, accessible at: http://www.redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/1...e.pdf