Monday, 18 August 2014


Being pregnant when you don't want to be is grim

You want it gone

Right away

You feel out of control


And isolated

Even if you're going out with a nice, supportive guy

And all the doctors you speak to are kind

And great at their jobs

And your mum is with you every step of the way

And you live in England

Where all you really have to say to the professionals

In order for an abortion to be granted

Is that you don't want a baby right now

Despite all that

It's still grim

You feel alone

And scared

And impatient

And nervous of the procedure

And, despite all your privilege

And education

And liberal parenting

And articulacy

And assertiveness

And friends who are there for you

You might still think, in the few weeks leading up to your termination

While you're standing at the top of the stairs one day

'If I just jumped...'

Or, while you're riding your bike along a busy road one day

'If I was just knocked off...'

And if it's possible for a young woman

With so much privilege

And so much support

To have such dark thoughts

Think about what it must be like

For a teenager in the Republic of Ireland

Where the laws around abortion are abusive and violent

Who becomes pregnant as a result of being raped

Who becomes pregnant as a result of being raped

And who asks for an abortion eight weeks into her pregnancy

And who is found, by experts, to be suicidal

But who is refused permission to terminate her pregnancy

Even though the law in Ireland says

That an abortion can be granted if the woman's life is at risk

What must it be like for this woman?

This woman, whose English is poor

And whose immigration status restricts her from travelling

To a place of safety

Where an abortion would be granted

And who has been described by the BBC as 'very vulnerable'

This is what she says it was like for her:

Medical staff refused to terminate her pregnancy

Until the foetus was 'viable'

A foetus that she never wanted

She told medical staff that she was suicidal

And a panel comprising three experts agreed with her

But she was still refused an abortion

She went on hunger strike

And an emergency Cesarean section was performed

Which is a major operation

25 weeks into her unwanted pregnancy

And her unwanted baby was immediately taken into care

The state of Ireland has committed an act of violence towards this woman

This woman, who has already been the victim of shocking violence

Imagine how different it could have been for her

Imagine if, all she needed to say in order to be granted an abortion was 

'I don't want a baby'

Imagine that

Because then, even in her darkest moments

Those times when she might be standing at the top of the stairs

Or riding a bike along a busy road

She would know that, despite all her suffering

And fear

And loneliness

There was a light at the end of the tunnel

And that the law would do right by her

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