International Women’s Day – My Body, My Choice.

Happy International Women’s Day! For the day that’s in it I have decided to have my say on a very important issue going on in Ireland at the moment, Repeal the 8th. For anybody who may not know what the 8th Amendment is, it is a part of the Constitution of Ireland which means the right to life of an unborn child is equal to the mothers.

Nobody on this earth knows my body better than I do and nobody ever will, due to this, I firmly believe and know that my reproductive system is something that I need full control over. I mean, do you think I bleed for five days every month and suffered with pains from an ovarian cyst for years of my teenage life to hand power over these very precious and important parts to a higher authority with no compassion for me as an individual? If I woke up in the morning to find that I was carrying another life inside of me, which is very possible for women everywhere, contraception or not, I would like to think I have options. I am not asking for the feeling of shame, I am asking for support. I am not asking for a plane ticket, I am asking for compassion at home. I am not asking for murder (as many people call it), I am asking for choice.Every single day we are telling women to love their bodies, but how can they fully do this when they don’t have basic rights to their bodies? Irish Government, do you love my body as much as I am expected to? If you are so concerned about my reproductive system, would you like to experience my period pains for me? Would you like to buy my tampons? Would you mind finding a way to make rape a horrific thing of the past? How many of you felt embarrassed reading all of that? This is what is wrong with our country, we are shying away from the real issues. Every woman has a body that functions the same way, there is no shame in sex, and there is no shame in the consequences of sex. Every sex story happens and ends up differently, and we need to have compassion as a nation for these outcomes.

I read something recently where someone said the solution was to just use contraception. This is sadly the realities we are facing when people cannot open their eyes to the bigger picture. I am on the pill, I use condoms, I have taken the morning after pill before, but things aren’t that simple, I don’t know what challenges may face me next month, next week, next year or who will be facing them with me. Every situation is different and being pro-choice doesn’t mean you are going to get an abortion, it means giving women the freedom to choose what is right for them in their own situation. We can’t make a decision for others, but we should be able to allow them to have a choice.

If my body is carrying a child, it is half mine and half of a man, but my body is still carrying it. I am not saying the man doesn’t have rights to his baby but in some cases this baby isn’t going to arrive into the world and be held in loving arms. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a woman who has no man waiting for her outside of the hospital room. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a young girl, who, sadly, wasn’t educated enough to know about contraception. In some cases this baby will be brought into the world by a woman who can’t even look him/her in the eye because the eyes of her rapist will be staring back at her. In some cases this babies life will be full of suffering and pain due to extreme illness or disability. In some cases this baby will arrive into a financially unstable, unplanned, unhappy situation. No matter what the situation, if I get pregnant, I am still the body carrying this child. My body, my choice, right? Wrong.

Wake up Ireland, you are not an under-developed country, you are not a country that is facing extreme poverty or dictatorship. You are however, taking many steps backwards instead of forwards. Why is there such a stigma surrounding abortion? Why do you feel the need to brush women’s wombs under the carpet? You are still so burdened by the beliefs of the Catholic Church even though their own dirty secrets and the lives they claim to value so much are buried beneath the ground you and I walk on.

Let me remind you all, I am not looking for an abortion, I am looking for choice. Every single woman deserves to wake up with options which don’t include isolation, financial struggle and travelling far and wide for basic human rights. A woman should be able to wake up in the morning knowing she has the compassion of her home country behind her and make a decision based on what she knows and feels to be the best choice in her heart and soul. Do you think women take abortion lightly? Do you think those of us who are pro-choice wouldn’t think about the future pitter-patter of tiny feet or whether the baby would be a boy or a girl? Of course we would, I have never been pregnant but that maternal instinct is built into us all, but sometimes it isn’t that simple and sometimes women will feel they have no choice apart from travelling to England or taking abortion pills and when things get to that point there is no shame for anybody apart from Ireland and the 8th Amendment.

Shame on you Ireland, shame on you.


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