Health

What Happened When Portugal Decriminalised Abortion?

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With the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment on May 25th drawing nearer, it’s with great interest that we look at the experience of other countries which have struggled against an abortion ban like ours, to learn from the lessons of the campaign, and to ‘look into the future’, as it were, and see the result of decriminalising abortion. As such, here are some brief notes on Portugal.

On 11th February 2007, in a national referendum, the Portuguese voted in favor of the decriminalization of the "voluntary interruption of the pregnancy" (VGI). It was the end of more than 30 years of struggles, advances and retreats, with many public debates dividing several quarters of Portuguese society.

Extremists on 'both sides'? Not really.

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If anyone says to you that 'there are extremists on both sides' in the referendum campaign, do be sure to point out that it's only the 'No' side that has the Far Right activists and the people with the big gory pictures that stand outside maternity care centres trying to harass and shame women.

The man in the pictures on the left is Justin Barrett, former leader of Youth Defence, and current leader of the anti-immigrant, homophobic, National Party.

The National Party wants 14 years imprisonment for women who access an abortion and the death penalty for doctors who provide abortions. Justin Barrett has attended neo-Nazi events in Germany and Italy in the past and his Far-Right party have been putting up posters around Ireland calling for a 'No' vote.

Health and Happiness as a Political Organiser - Brief Notes

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This is a quick article about some of the psychology and health issues of being a political organiser. There is as much to say about this topic time in the universe would allow, as such, this is a brief sketch which will be part of an ongoing series of articles dedicated to mental health and psychology with a particular focus on its application to political organising.

Fascist Party Openly Campaigns as 'Abortion Never' to Keep 8th Amendment

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Seen any of these posters around recently? You may be interested to know they are a product of the 'Abortion Never' campaign, an initiative of the anti-immigrant, far-right National Party. The party is led by one Justin Barrett who is arguably best known for leading Youth Defence from the early nineties until 2004.

In the past he has attended several events hosted by the German NPD, a Neo-Nazi group, whose then deputy leader confirmed that the NPD was 'friendly' with Youth Defence. Italian fascist group 'Forza Nuovo' reported that Mr Barrett has also attended several of their events in the early 2000's.
Even after Mr Barrett's departure, Youth Defence still managed to grab the headlines though. In 2013, a Youth Defence billboard truck parked outside the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre carrying a billboard that read: "The abortion bill won't make women safer, it will just kill babies". The company who owned the truck refused to carry any more Youth Defence material after the wave of outrage that followed.

Sometimes Lightning Strikes Twice: Pledge to Strike 4 Repeal

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A new intention to #Strike4Repeal has been announced as we still wait for a referendum and as importantly to see what it is we will get to vote on.

See https://www.wsm.ie/strike4repeal for coverage from last year.

Pledge to Strike 4 Repeal here: https://goo.gl/forms/DTDfA9tQ0kZ0HQ6F3

 

Comic - Why Pro-Life is a Lie

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Anti-choice advocates like Youth Defence / Precious Life and the Iona Institute claim to be driven by an indiscriminate empathy and a genuine concern for human beings' universal right to life, hence invocations to 'Love Both' and the 'pro-life' label.

Are these claims to be taken seriously? Not for a second, as clearly illustrated in this pro-choice comic (PDF).

The Nazis were Pro-Choice? Think Again

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It's not uncommon for someone arguing in favour of criminalising abortion to draw a comparison between pro-choice advocates and the Nazis, often on the basis that supposedly the Nazis had the same liberal views on abortion, or that pro-choice campaigners are of a similarly genocidal bent.

Comparing the Nazis to the Irish feminist movement is bizarre. In summary, Nazi abortion policy was driven by sexism, ‘pronatalism’, and eugenics, while pro-choice campaigners in Ireland are driven by personal freedom.
 

The political and personal landscape of choice in Ireland

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It is all but impossible, both in theory and in practice, to legally obtain an abortion on the island of Ireland, both north and south of the imaginary border that divides this island. It is completely impossible to safely and legally obtain an abortion anywhere in Ireland;  the legal framework in the south specifically requires that in order to obtain an abortion without being criminalised for so doing, the woman who needs it must be ill enough to die; thus it is rendered impossible for her to be safe in access to legal abortion. 
 

Irish government schemes to force disabled to work despite UK death tolls

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The government plans to force disabled individuals into work. It is set to consider new proposals that would see those receiving Disability Allowance being assessed on their ability to work and forced to work if they are deemed by a government official able to enter full time employment.

This new round of attacks on the most vulnerable in our society have recently been sent to the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. The new report which was given to Mr Donohoe last night  (23 May) suggests that disability allowances should be slashed in order to cut down on what they call ''welfare dependency'' - a fancy way of construing that some people, who are extremely vulnerable in our society, simply cannot go into paid employment.

Emergency Protest Takes Place in Belfast in Favour of Free, Safe and Legal Abortion

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Somewhere in the region of 70 people attended an emergency protest yesterday outside Belfast City Hall.

Those present were protesting in favour of free, safe and legal abortion on demand, as early as possible, as late as necessary.

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