A pro choice way to pay it forward

A while back I wrote for the Irish Examiner in their Last Word slot about legislating for the X case. (You can read the article here.)

I was overwhelmed and heartened by the numerous positive comments I got in response to the piece on Facebook and Twitter. And then the letters came. I got a letter (via the Examiner) from a 90 yr old man who was actually quite polite in outlining to me that I was wrong and I should read the accompanying documentation he sent me so I would realise the error of my ways and refer to abortion as what it truly is ‘the killing of babies’. And looking back on it now I appreciate that he stuck to the topic rather than launching any personal attacks on me. The next letter I got though (again via the Examiner) was far from polite. It was a 3 page rant about how I was a terrible person who was no better than the rats of London, how I was scum, worse than child abusers and how I should go drown myself (amongst many other things.)

So why am I telling you this? Because as much I have a very thick skin at this stage – receiving these letters definitely shook me, particularly the second. You can’t help but wonder are you doing the right thing when you provoke this vitriolic response in another person. So imagine if you are a politician thinking about voicing a pro choice opinion on the abortion issue. It’s not easy and it is not common either. Which is why I’m writing this post. Because I want you, if you are reading this, if you are pro choice and if you are proud of pro choice politicians to pay it forward.

Yesterday in the Dail, Deputy Mick Wallace questioned the Minister for Health on the governments inaction in response to the ABC Case. The transcript is available here: http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2011-11-08.83.0. As you will see from the transcript Deputy Clare Daly also questioned the Minister for Health.

I can guarantee you that over the next week both of these TDs will get plenty of anti choice letters and emails condemning their position. I’m writing to them both today to thank them for bringing the issue up and for questioning the Governments inadequate response.  I want you to do the same. We need to let them know pro choice voters are out there and that this is an issue we are delighted they are working on. It doesn’t haven’t to be a long or in depth email, just something to encourage them to keep working on this issue. They need our support as much as we need them to keep asking the hard questions.

So what are you waiting for??

Mick Wallace Email:  mick.wallace@oireachtas.ie

Clare Daly Email:  clare.daly@oireachtas.ie

And then if you are in the swing of letter writing why not write to Deputy Anne Ferris (anne.ferris@oireachtas.ie) who has also been vocal on the issue: http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/130816573310284350.html

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4 Responses to A pro choice way to pay it forward

  1. Denise Ryan says:

    Here’s the email that I sent to Mick Wallace and Clare Daly. I’ll draft a separate one for Anne Ferris. Feel free to use and edit as you wish:

    Dear Mick,

    A word of sincere thanks for questioning the Minister for Health James Reilly on 8th November last on the government’s blatant inaction in response to the ABC ruling by the ECHR in December 2010.

    Thank you for keeping the issue of abortion rights on the political agenda and for pressing the Minister on the need for urgent reform in this area, notably the long overdue obligation of the government to implement the Supreme Court’s X case decision of 1992, as outlined in the ECHR’s ruling in the ABC case.

    Thank you for putting pressure on the government to provide details on the ‘expert’ group to be set up and to explain why the government rejected recommendations from European countries to legislate for life-saving abortions. I really think that it is essential to ensure that ordinary women’s voices are heard throughout the consultation process of this so-called ‘expert’ group and that a large proportion of the group members selected must be people who work in the area on a day to day basis and see the reality of the situation i.e. health care providers, crisis pregnancy counsellors, human rights professionals, activists etc.

    I recently completed a Masters thesis entitled “ABC v. Ireland: The Potential of ECHR Litigation for the Irish Pro-Choice Movement”, supervised by Senator Ivana Bacik. I would be delighted to provide yourself and other interested Deputies with a copy.

    Many thanks again Mick for challenging and pushing the government on this human rights and health issue that is so fundamentally important to me and thousands upon thousands of other ordinary Irish women.

    Best wishes and kind regards,

    Denise Ryan

  2. Joan Collins TD raised the ABC case in the Dáil today and asked the Taoiseach when the expert group would begin its work. The Taoiseach gave a waffly answer “it won’t be long”. Please email to thank Joan for raising the issue! joan.collins@oireachtas.ie


  3. Pingback: Time to legislate for life-saving abortion – 20th Anniversary of the Infamous X Case, February 1992 « Tomás Ó Flatharta

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