Monday, May 28, 2018

Ireland votes to give women a choice...

Bill and I spent the Memorial Day weekend in France again.  This time, we went back to Alsace, which is beginning to feel like a second home.  It was our fourth visit to Ribeauville since January 2017.  We love going there because it takes less than three hours to get there, yet has a distinctly different vibe.  Plus, the guy whose apartments we rent is awesome.

Anyway... our time in France did not stop me from watching the news.  On Friday of last week, Irish voters determined that it's time to end Ireland's ban on abortion.  They decided to repeal the 8th amendment to their Constitution, which pretty much made getting an abortion in Ireland impossible except in extremely rare cases.

I can never help sharing my strong pro choice beliefs.  I do have some friends who are pro life and sometimes they take me up on a debate.  I don't mind that, as long as they are respectful about it.  But I don't think anyone will ever change my mind about a woman's right to choose.  I will always choose the rights of the born over the rights of the unborn.  I can't support forcing women to be pregnant under any circumstances, even if I do think that it's reasonable to limit access to late term abortions.  

Someone shared this with me.  I think it nicely defines why this issue is so important.  It did spark a debate with one person who is against abortion, but most of my friends were horrified by it.

Ireland's Minister of Health summed things up nicely and said: "In the past we have told women with unwanted pregnancies to 'take the boat or take the plane' (to England). Now we tell them 'take my hand'."  That's the way it really should be, in my opinion.

Naturally, some people disagree.  One person with a strong opinion on the matter is Ben Seewald, husband of the former Jessa Duggar, who tweeted this:

Um... Ben, this is not going to affect you personally...  but...

An Irish woman in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray group posted this, which I thought was brilliant.

If you want to be sad about something Ben, be sad about Sheila Hodges, and all the women like her who died because their cancer treatment was stopped because they were pregnant.

Be sad about Savita Halappanavar, and all the women who died as a result of not being allowed a medically managed miscarriage.

Be sad about Ms. Y, a rape victim who attempted suicide after being denied an abortion so they locked her in a psychiatric hospital, force fed her until she was 25 weeks pregnant and then forced her to have a c-section against her will.

Be said about Ms P, a woman who died when she was 15 weeks pregnant but was kept alive on life support for 3 weeks. Nurses had to apply make up to her to hide her collapsed eye sockets when her children came to visit because they refused to allow her to die with dignity because they wanted to use her body as some twisted version of an incubator.

Be sad about the thousands women forced through the doors of the Mother and Baby homes and Magdalene laundries. Cruel, deathly, evil places that only closed their doors in 1996.

Be sad about the 800 babies stuffed down sluice toilets at Tuam. Be sad about the 350 babies who died at Kilrush. Be sad about the babies who died at Bessborogh with its infant mortality rate of 68%.

Be sad about the thousands of women who found out their babies had no chance of survival and had to go abroad to access an abortion. Who had to leave their baby's body in a foreign hospital and wait for a delivery driver to return their baby's body to them in a cardboard box like an amazon delivery.

So many women have been negatively affected by Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws.  I don't cheer for abortions.  I simply think that women should be entrusted to decide when they are ready to give birth.  It's simply no one else's business, especially when the other person opining is not in any way affected by the aftermath of the birth.  Too many people resort to slut shaming, too, which is neither productive nor warranted.

I only wish more people in my own country had as much compassion as the Irish do for their citizens.  Watching the news from the United States right now is like being flung into a dystopian nightmare.  I am excited for Ireland and I'm glad I'll be visiting there again in July.  I'll definitely be raising a glass.