Thursday, January 26, 2017

Irish women to go on strike in protest over the country's abortion ban

Independent (January 23, 2017): Irish women to go on strike in protest over the country's abortion ban, by Sioban Fenton:

Irish women are planning a strike on March 8 to demand that the government call a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution.  The 8th Amendment recognizes “the right to life of the unborn . . . with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.”  The 8th Amendment has been cited as an obstacle for liberalizing Irish law, which currently criminalizes abortion, except for when the pregnancy endangers a woman's life.  Lack of clear guidelines around this exception led to the  2012 death of a woman who was severely bleeding after a miscarriage. Hospital officials refused to intervene because the fetus' heart was still beating.  Last summer, Ireland was criticized by the UN Human Rights Committee for prohibiting an abortion to a woman whose fetus had a fatal condition. The Committee recommended that Ireland revise its abortion law and amend the 8th amendment if necessary.

The Irish strike follows October 2016 protests in Warsaw and several other European Cities against Polish legislation that would have criminalized abortion in all circumstances.  Following the protests, the Polish government scrapped the legislation.

The strike calls on women to book a day off work as annual leave and also wear a black armband or black clothing in protest. For women who do not work, the strike asks them to withdraw emotional or domestic labour, such as housework or caring duties, roles which are disproportionately performed by women.

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