This Is Why 2 Irish Women Live-Tweeted Their Trip to the UK for an Abortion
Safe, legal abortion access has been a major conversation in the United States recently as conservative lawmakers look to limit when, where, why and how women can access it. The bright light: Back in June, the Supreme Court ruled against medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas in a landmark decision. But although the news tends to focus on access at home (after all, there's only 50 states' laws to keep track of), today we had a reminder that we're not the only nation in which women are forced to jump through hoops in order to obtain the procedure.
An Irish woman and her friend are live-tweeting their journey from Ireland to the United Kingdom in order to obtain an abortion on the anonymous account @TwoWomenTravel — and they're tagging Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in each tweet. Along the way, they've prompted an enormous global outpouring of support.
First, a little background on abortion in Ireland: Under the eighth amendment to Ireland's constitution, a fetus is given equal rights to the woman carrying it. Abortions in Ireland are only permitted when the mother's life is in danger but not in cases of rape, incest, or fatal fetal abnormalities. Earlier this year, the United Nations called on Ireland to change their laws after finding that the country's abortion ban, specifically on those where the fetus has fatal abnormalities, violated the human rights of a woman by making her choose between traveling abroad to secure an abortion (and, in the specific instance they addressed, having to return not fully recovered), or carrying a fetus to term knowing it wouldn't survive.
The Twitter account's bio offers a very straightforward description of the goal behind the tweets: "Two Women, one procedure, 48 hours away from home." The tweets chronicle the hardships and expenses of traveling to a different country for an abortion.
The women began their trek at 5am this morning:
Good morning all .Thanks for all of th messages of solidarity and support.Thanks to@EndaKennyTD we're about to hit the road.#twowomentravel— Two Women Travel (@TwoWomenTravel) August 20, 2016
And they provided updates as they journeyed to their destination via planes, trains, and taxis.
Finally, they reached the abortion provider, and though all went well, they still won't be home for another day.
According to The Guardian, 10 women a day travel from Ireland to the U.K. for an abortion. Procuring an illegal abortion carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
@TwoWomenTravel emphasized that they're documenting their travels in solidarity with the other Irish women who have been forced to make the journey before them. Based on the support they've received, this is hopefully a step in the right direction for Irish reproductive rights.
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• Can Having More Than One Abortion Impact Your Fertility?
• Breaking: Supreme Court Votes to Protect Abortion Rights
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