AnOther Irish Abortion Abroad

Just like that. For the past four years of your life you’ve been in the 99%, and now, at 23 years of age, you are the 1%. Not in terms of politics, or economics – although both are related to what I’m talking about – but birth control. We forget that it isn’t 100% and we take it for granted that we’ll be okay, that we won’t get pregnant. But then our period’s due date arrives and… nothing. Days go by… nothing.

And you know. There’s something inside you that tells you that you’re pregnant. Your friends tell you everyone gets irregular periods, or you must be stressed… but you know. It’s just different this time.

But you take a home pregnancy test anyways because you hold on to a shred of hope that you’re wrong, that your body is wrong. It’s not. The results are shockingly quick, a little plus sign taunting you from inside its plastic cover, screaming your situation for the world to hear.

Today is a signal-boost. A friend of a friend has been blogging about her experiences travelling to the UK from Ireland for an abortion. For obvious reasons- it’s both stigmatised and personal- she’s blogging anonymously. It’s short- just three posts. It’s just one story of many.

 had a fight with my partner on the last night. He was becoming excessively protective about men being in close proximity to me. I’m generally quite an independent person, I like to dance with my friends and I can handle myself with regards to unwanted attention, so this kind of behaviour grated off me like nails on a chalk board. It was embarrassing and he made a few scenes and eventually we left early. I was drunk. I was upset. I vaguely realized then that this was his way of reacting to the news. But not until the morning after did I fully come to understand it.

He’s been so supportive that I forget that he must feel in some way helpless. He’s supposed to be my hero when I’m in distress (as I am his, if he were in distress) and that’s frustrating for him because he has done all that he can for me.

The weekend ended with a pit in my stomach as my friends and their jovial dispositions drove away and I was left to my own devices. No distractions. Only the reality that I am in a liminal and tense space.

There’s no such thing as the abortion story. Every abortion story is different. Every person is different.

From the packing of our suitcases, to going through baggage check, to the waiting at our gate, my partner and I were fixated on one thing and one thing only – this was not a holiday.

My bag was light, packed with practical clothes – not my usual skirts, bikinis, dresses, heels, shorts… simply baggy comfortable clothing – along with  medicine and sanitary pads.  Baggage check was eerily quick as we were so prepared. Our time waiting was edgy, there were no “airport pints”, no pictures to remember the moment, no cheer. I realized dejectedly that my innocence was being stripped away from me – I always enjoyed the airport. I’ve always had this fantastic relationship with it, associating it with happy memories and good friends and freedom. But now I was here, everything was grey and serious. It wasn’t that place anymore. It was now a place full of lonely business people awkwardly posing and talking through ear pieces.

Irish abortion stories have that thing in common, though, don’t they? Not all of them. These days they’re as likely to be accessed over the internet as through our more traditional boats and flights out. But any time one of us needs an abortion we must become outlaws- either by breaking the law or travelling until we are, literally, outside it.

This story does have a happy ending, you know.

Returning home, I feel like me. The airport feels celebratory again, I have an omelette and a smoothie and am happy and hyper, even though it’s extremely early in the morning.

When I arrive home I clean my entire room. I bring my dog for a walk. I plan what I’ll do with my Easter break. I look forward to visiting a friend that’s living abroad. I even plan to bake. Something I always do when I’ve free time but simply haven’t had the energy or will to do it over the past few weeks while waiting for this procedure.

I’m back to normal, I can get on with my life, the cloud has lifted. On top of that, I’m no longer afraid of judgement. It can’t effect me anymore. This is my life. These are my choices. Your opinion of them is absolutely none of my concern. I am happy and confidant.

I highly recommend reading the rest.

AnOther Irish Abortion Abroad

Marie Stopes in Belfast

” I hope that in Belfast, a network of abortion escorts is being drawn up; people who can meet women accessing the clinic and guide them through the rabble of fascists safely. I hope there’s other measures for safety to counter these affronts on bodily freedom.

And for those of us who are not physically in Northern Ireland, we need to be loud and vocal in our support, and drown out the clamour of those who seek to control our bodies. Speak out about your support for what Marie Stopes are doing in Belfast.”

The clinic in Belfast is opening this afternoon to a barrage of protesters. We’ve got to stand up, speak out, and show our support for the incredible and brave work they’re doing. Let’s be not only louder, but infinitely more compassionate than they could ever be.

Marie Stopes in Belfast

Linkspam me up, Scotty: feminism edition.


After the March for Choice the other week, you’d think we’d be done with abortion news for a little while at least. No such luck! Two major abortion-related stories surfaced this week.

UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt voiced his support last week for a reduction in the abortion time limit from 12 to 24 weeks. The Abortion Support Network’s Mara Clarke argued that this would adversely affect Irish women, since we tend to have later-term abortions than our UK counterparts.

In an unprecedented move, Marie Stopes will be opening a clinic in Belfast offering medically necessary medical abortions. Abortions! On the island of Ireland! I’ll be expecting the skies to fall and ground to open any minute now. Either that or Irish and Northern Irish women will finally have some, limited, access to life-saving abortions. agree with me that it’s long overdue. The Donegal Dollop foresee Ryanair protests and Catholic refugee camps springing up on the borders. When faced with Micheal O’Leary on a rampage, I think I might rather the falling skies.

Finally, my own Feminist Ire have a post up on Islamophobia at Dublin’s March for Choice. I hope I’m speaking for more than just myself when I say that, really, I’d prefer to advocate for rights for one group without trampling over the rights of another. As a general rule.

Rape culture, women’s safety, and the right to exist.

I’ve always been of the opinion that my gender is not an excuse to deny me the right to walk or to speak. An opinion shared neither by Jill Meagher’s murderer or Malala Yousafzai’s attacker.

Looking at coverage of the attack on Yousafzai, I can’t help but be frustrated by a common thread in the English-language blogs and articles I’m stuck with reading. It’s been hard to find pieces that don’t talk about how much better things are here in the West. There’s this piece by Nelle. Listen, I’m Irish. That means I’ve got no excuse not to know better. And I’m sick to death of the side-order of Islamophobia with my anti-sexism.

It’s not like things are perfect here. Blaming the victims of sex crimes lets perpetrators off the hook is a response to Jill Meagher’s rape and murder in nice, “safe”, Western Melbourne. Lisa McInerney says that tragic cases don’t need a side of victim-blaming, and Sinead Keogh would like you to know that walking alone at night isn’t a symptom of silliness, thank you.

On a similar note, Crates and Ribbons have been discussing the selective blindness of rape culture and the ‘Kissing Sailor’ photograph. And because it’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion about rape culture on the internet, they followed it up with a post debunking misconceptions.


Robin Ince just became a patron for Dignity in Dying, and explains why.

I believe the desire to live, especially for those who see no glow of an afterlife, is too great for us to just switch off our existence on a whim, as some of those against assisted dying seem to suggest.

In The Monster that therefore I am, Monsterevity talks about monstrousness and mental illness:

Mental illness, while not necessarily taboo in Ireland, is still an issue that others  the person who lives with it.  What I mean by this is that mental illness makes the person who lives with it other to the “normal” people with whom they interact, (often) in the way in which others view them and (always) in the way in which they view themselves.

Progressive Economy argue against government plans to cut child benefit:

 There are three clear features of this payment, which indicate fundamental values and principles: (1) It goes to all children equally; (2) It is paid to all citizens with children regardless of their income, as part of the ‘return on investment’ of taxation and social insurance; and (3) It is a payment from everyone to Ireland’s children, regardless of whether or not they have children of their own.

And finally… back from another globetrotting adventure, Indiana Jones checks his mail and discovers that his bid for tenure has been denied.

Linkspam me up, Scotty: feminism edition.