For a woman’s right to choose

The following is the text of a leaflet distributed by the Socialist Party at a recent protest demanding legislation on the X case.

20 years ago, the X Case graphically exposed the rotten nature of the ultra-conservative Irish capitalist state. The court intervening to prevent a 14 year old, pregnant as a result of rape, travelling to seek a termination provoked an explosion of anger and protest which in reality, pushed the state back, with the Supreme Court establishing the right to seek an abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, including from risk of suicide, through its ruling on ‘X’.

Subsequently, there has been two referenda upholding this right, and still there has been no legislation passed to enact this ruling.

It is in this context that the Socialist Party and United Left Alliance, have worked with Independent TD Mick Wallace to propose the Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in Case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012 – a bill to legislate for the X Case. Shamefully, there is no guarantee that the Bill will get passed, even though it only provides for very limited access to abortion.

No Trust in Establishment

The Socialist Party has facilitated the proposal of this bill, with a view to igniting a new struggle in Irish society for full abortion rights for women.

We cannot trust the Labour Party, that has participated in a number of governments in the past 20 years without broaching any attempt to implement their policy to legislate for the X Case, nor any other section of the establishment, to do the right thing for women’s rights. Women in Ireland seeking terminations is simply a reality. In 2010, 4,402 women gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in Britain alone, giving a glimpse of an insight into the thousands upon thousands of women that the establishment continue to force to suffer alone and away from family and friends when in the very difficult situation of accessing a safe termination.

Austerity – Grave Threat to Women

Women, who are very reliant on the public sector both as workers and as users of the service, are particularly affected by the horrific austerity being visited upon ordinary people at the hands of the EU/IMF/Government.

In 2009, (figures for 2010 are not yet available), 1216 packs of abortion pills were seized by customs. For many women, the substantial cost of travelling abroad is forcing them to risk their health and even their lives by ordering tablets over the internet that could contain absolutely anything. Travelling is not an option for many migrant women. Women in Ireland who are desperate to end an unwanted pregnancy are being forced to take major risks with their health.

System at Fault

The Socialist Party demands the immediate right for women to access free, safe and legal abortion, provided through a public health service. We support the right for women to choose when and if they have children. For us, this struggle is connected to a struggle against the nightmare of a capitalist system that’s wedded to bailing out the super-rich, at the expense of everyone else. Real choice means that the poverty, low pay, unemployment and austerity attacks and privatisation of public services, are eradicated such that they are not considerations that affect women’s decisions.

Women, and the struggle to gain and to defend their rights, must be a central part of the socialist struggle for the democratic public ownership of wealth, resources, and the banks and key aspects of the economy – ensuring that women have genuine economic security, excellent and free public services and childcare, choice and a chance to live in a society based on human solidarity and equality, not greed and profit.

We Stand For:

  • Legislate for the X Case
  • For free, safe, legal abortion on demand, provided through a public health service
  • Reverse the government attacks on lone parents
  • Total separation of Church and State – for a public education system with a progressive & fulsome sex education for all within it
  • For easy access to free contraception, sexual health clinics, crisis pregnancy counselling etc, including for young people & for fertility treatment for those who need it provided through a public health service
  • For comprehensive, quality and free childcare for all, provided through progressive taxation

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