Irish Pro-choice group channeled Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" while protesting the eighth amendment in Dublin.
Protestors in Dublin this week donned the infamous red cloak and white bonnet now synonymous with Margaret Atwood's novel "The Handmaid's Tale" while protesting against Irish abortion laws outside government buildings in Ireland.
Organised by ROSA, the group for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism, and Austerity, protestor Úna Reynolds told BreakingNews.ie,
Abortion is illegal in Ireland and only allowed if it is shown that the life of the mother is at risk. A 1983 referendum set the rights of the unborn child as having equal weight as that of the mother but the battle has raged on for the last three decades, coming to a head in the past number of years due to high-profile cases such as Savita Halappanavar who died of complications in 2012 after she was denied an abortion, despite knowing her unborn baby would not survive outside of the womb.
The public outrage following this case, in particular, lead to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act which allowed for a mother’s right to an abortion when her own life was at risk.
Although abortion is illegal in Ireland, that is not to say that Irish women are not acquiring a termination but they are forced to travel to other countries to do so. An estimated average claims that 12 women a day travel to another country from Ireland for an abortion.
Earlier this year, Irish Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald announced that a referendum could be called next year after a government-selected Citizen’s Assembly voted on not retaining the Eighth Amendment as is.
The Assembly also voted to give the Oireachtas (Irish houses of parliament consisting of the Dáil and Seanad) a mandate to legislate on the issue of abortion, recommending unrestricted access to abortion in Ireland by 64% in a vote taken on Sunday.
The public forum Citizen’s Assembly was established by the Oireachtas to advise the government on a selection of ethical and moral problems within the constitution being faced by the Irish people. Consisting of 99 members in total and including men and women of different ages, from different parts of the country, and from different backgrounds, the Assembly heard testimonies from a range of women about their experience in traveling abroad for an abortion or of their decision not to have an abortion.