“I’ll never catcall, I’ll treat and respect and help create an Ireland that will stand in awe of all mná”-Emmet Kirwan, Heartbreak.
If the Catholic Church would listen and loosen its grip on the Irish state; women could decide their own fate, or more importantly their own body autonomy. The church and state think of themselves as ’embassadors’ of the patriarchy thinks they have ownership over the Irish female body. This is why we need to repeal the 8th amendment and give Irish women the rights they deserve. I have spoken at length about body autonomy and after reading many articles recently surrounding the Strike4Repeal movement, feminism and even the horrors that arose from the Tuam Mother and Baby home investigations; I agree that the 8th amendment is more than pro-choice; it is about the obsessive control of Irish women and their reproductive integrity.
Going back to Kirwan’s Heartbreak, the Catholic church never treated single mothers or their children with respect and they never will. A referendum for abortion rights is needed now more than ever because although it can not repair the sufferings of the past, it can be start of a new era for women’s health and wellbeing. It will show that Ireland actually cares about its vulnerable and will help them when they need it the most. With a repeal on the 8th amendment, there will be no more Ann Lovetts, Ms. X’s, Ms. Y’s and no more Savita Halappanavars abandoned by the Irish state. There will never be a need for the future generations to march through the streets of Dublin with repeal signs shouting ‘ENDA, ENDA, WE WANT A REFERENDA’ for their human rights will be acknowledged and respected by the state. They will ever be denied these rights and forced to become human vessels, losing their bodily autonomy to a barbaric religious institution.
The hashtags that were used to support the strike on social media were #WECANTWAIT #WEWONTWAIT and it aptly describes the urgency that surrounds this issue. By making abortions illegal,it only makes safe abortions illegal, women who have been put in that desperate situation will find a way out which puts them in further danger and risking their own lives. This needs to stop and if the 8th would be repealed, it will stop as free, safe and legal abortions will be available to everyone and anyone in need. It is very frustrating knowing that the €1 penalty for abortion was rejected by the government just yesterday as that would have been progress for the pro-choice movement, alas, we might get a referendum in early 2018. It is most unlikely however as Enda Kenny is the Church’s sheep when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. The fight continues but I am hopeful that one day, our rights will be granted.
The 8th of March is also International Women’s day and it was strange spending it in America with Trump in office. I went to a rally at the corner of Central Park and stood in a sea of red clothes and pink hats and the speakers motivated the crowd to keep fighting for gender equality, ending the pay gap and to keep holding each other up as powerful and strong women. It was an incredible experience to hold my fist up in solidarity with the American women and chanting ‘BE BOLD FOR CHANGE’ and ‘A DAY WITHOUT WOMEN, A DAY WITHOUT ME’, the rally ended with the crowds dispersing and heading to surround Trump Tower and make a human wall.
It reminded me that the women of New York and America are angry as ever and ready to stand up against their oppressor. It reminded me of the turbulent days after the election results and again during the inauguration and I saw, with my own eyes, the struggles for women increasing-white women, black women, Latina women, Muslim women, working class women and even disabled women. They were prepared to fight back however and the resilient energy was incredible to witness.
‘Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it’, this is Hillary Clinton’s infamous line from her concession speech that women everywhere took away and ran with it. Even me. We declared to never stop being ‘nasty women’, because if we do then the patriarchy has won again. The American and the Irish patriarchy has won again.
That was an unfortunate day in November when an alleged rapist, racist and misogynist was elected the 45th president of the United States. The day when a woman was not elected even though she was the better candidate and more suited to the job because the white man couldn’t handle a powerful woman. And yet the fight continues…there’s still a long way to go, for Hillary, for me and for women everywhere.
We must persist with the repeal the 8th movement as we must continue to challenge our oppressors. The 8th of March challenged the 8th Amendment, it was a historic march in march. Let’s persevere together to get a historic outcome.