12th June saw the publication of the The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. In this piece of legislation, it states,
"It shall be an offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life"
"A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or both."
It was clarified in the legislation that this includes people who induce their own abortion. The government wants to criminalise those people, who are left in the desperate situation and seek out an abortion in this country. This government includes members who were willing to go to prison to give people that access, but now will happily give more sentence time to a woman who induces her own abortion than the rapist who forced her into that decision.
It is a well-known fact that people seek out abortions in this country and the very desperate are those who have to look for options here. It might be because they are an asylum seeker who lives on €19.10 per week and can't afford the abortion nor find a pro-choice solicitor to get them the papers to travel over to the UK. Or they are a mother of one disabled child, but can't find the means to take care of a second one, but not sure if they can get the €2000 together and find someone who will take care of their child when they go over.
Or they are in the middle of secondary school and can't tell their pro-life parents that they need an abortion. Or they simply don't want a baby for whatever the reason and just can't get the money to pay for an abortion. These are the people this government wants to lock away for fourteen years as they induce their own abortion whether by abortion pills or endangering their lives through other methods such as pushing themselves down stairs.
These examples highlight not only that abortion needs to be legal, but it also has to be free. It should not longer be the case that people with money have options and those without are optionless.
We need to stop arguing about how many doctors. Can we not trust women with their choices and doctors with their decisions? We are now faced with much the same choices as before this bill: Plane ticket or prison?
This is why we need free, safe and legal abortion.
More on this story by visiting: http://www.wsm.ie/c/abortion-choices-plane-ticket-prison