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Suicidal rape victim denied abortion under new law & “broken” by this State


Enough is enough – Labour – name a date for a referendum to repeal the 8th!

“Brittle”, “broken” and the most fragile person she’s encountered in 18 years of journalism. This is Kitty Holland’s description of a young woman who immigrated to Ireland after enduring a rape in her home country. How did this State treat such a woman? This State continued to violate and traumatise her.

State traumatised & violated a suicidal rape victim

After a medical examination received when she arrived in this jurisdiction, she discovered she was 8 weeks pregnant as a result of the rape. Expressing suicidal thoughts, she immediately requested an abortion. Although the HSE commented that they were not made aware of the case until the woman was 20 weeks pregnant, this seems to be questionable with fresh reports contradicting this. There are still huge questions as to what caused the delay that the state and Government must answer. Lacking in visa permits, alone and impoverished, she was unable to travel to access an abortion. Weeks later, after surviving a suicide attempt according to Kitty Holland’s report, she desperately sought an abortion again. It seems that this triggered the HSE to take full control over this young woman. She was so desperate, she went on hunger and thirst strike due to the denial of access to an abortion. The case was dragged through the courts, with the woman and ‘unborn’ both appointed legal representation, and a hydration order enforced. Was this to push the foetus to viability and avert an abortion? Eventually, with a likely court order impending, she acceded to a C-section.

Step up the fight – winning a referendum to Repeal the 8th
The sickening treatment of a young, migrant, highly vulnerable rape victim by this state has to be a spur to re-develop and to spread an active pro-choice movement. We have to seize this moment and through mass protests, mass occupations, and huge political pressure on the Labour Party in particular. Labour is facing electoral annihilation in a general election and is attempting to regain support with Burton as leader – they are susceptible to major pressure from below. We are demanding an immediate referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. Referenda are already planned for Spring 2015 – this must be the absolute latest date for a referendum to remove Ireland’s abortion ban from the Constitution.
This case has highlighted how restrictive last year’s bill is. It was a sop to the Catholic fringe right wing. Victims of rape and incest, fatal foetal abnormality cases, women’s health all are not addressed and all should be raised as immediate changes that should be implemented. The failed process by which suicidality is determined must be immediately scrapped. However, we must ensure that the debate is not narrowed. The fight for repeal is also intertwined with the fight for a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. The woman at the centre of this case was a vulnerable migrant, with no English and no access to money whatsoever. We have to end the discrimination faced by poor women, migrant women, sick women, women in abusive relationships whose ability to travel is restricted – abortion must be free, safe and legal – it’s a woman’s right to choose.

Human Beings not Vessels – We need a new social movement for progress, equality and separation of church and state

Precisely when this young woman was desperately attempting to access an abortion in Ireland, the UN’s human rights committee chair told the Government that Irish abortion law treats women as nothing more than vessels. This case illustrates this reality appallingly and graphically. And it’s not an aberration. It’s a continuation of this State’s treatment of women from its inception – a weak capitalist State leaning on the Catholic Church for both ideology and social services has intertwined Catholic doctrine in laws, health and education feeding into – Magdalene Laundries, Mother & Baby Homes, symphysiotomy, child abuse – and today – continued poor sex education in schools and clergy influenced public hospitals. We need to build a new social movement in Ireland for progress and equality. We need to link the LGBTQ rights movement and the pro-choice movement. Such a social struggle could seek to once and for all separate Church and State in Ireland. Such a movement would be strengthened if it also became a vocal anti-austerity advocate, to challenge the rule of the 1% super-rich elite. This could be a spur to develop an active working class movement that can challenge the economic robbery and injustice that Irish capitalism and the EU/IMF have meted out to the 99%, and raise an alternative to backwards capitalism – a socialist vision of a secular, equal, progressive society, in which wealth is publicly owned, and all human beings have freedom and choice.

Suicidal rape victim denied abortion under new law & tortured by this State
7.30pm Thursday 28 August
Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey St.
Speakers: Ruth Coppinger TD & ROSA speaker

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