Showing posts with label Abortion Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abortion Rights. Show all posts

August 10, 2018

Argentina's Senate Shoots Down The Abortion Bill {The Church had a Counter Fight and Won}

A woman spreads green smoke outside Argentina's Congress after senators rejected legal abortions.
Argentina's Senate has rejected a bill to legalise elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, an issue that has divided the homeland of Pope Francis.
Lawmakers debated for more than 15 hours and voted 38-31 against the bill on Thursday.
The decision could echo across Latin America, where the Roman Catholic Church has lost influence and moral authority due to secularisation, an out-of-touch clerical caste and an avalanche of sex abuse scandals.
For long hours, thousands of supporters wearing green handkerchiefs that represent the effort to legalise abortion and opponents of the measure wearing light blue, braved heavy rain and cold temperatures to watch the debate on large screens set up outside Congress.
The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but after the vote, small groups of protesters clashed with police, throwing firebombs and setting up flaming barricades. Police officers responded with tear gas.
The lower house had already passed the measure and conservative President Mauricio Macri had said that he would sign it, even though he is anti-abortion.
In Argentina, abortion is only allowed in cases of rape and risks to a woman's health. Thousands of women, most of them poor, are hospitalised each year for complications linked due to unsafe illegal abortions.
The Health Ministry estimated in 2016 that the country sees as many as half a million clandestine abortions each year, with dozens of women dying as a result.
The Catholic Church and other groups oppose it, saying it violates Argentine law, which guarantees life from the moment of conception.
The contentious issue has divided Argentines, pitting conservative doctors and the Catholic Church against feminist groups and physicians.
"It's not about religious beliefs but about a humanitarian reason," Cardinal Mario Poli, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, told churchgoers at a "Mass for Life" at the capital city's Metropolitan Cathedral on Wednesday.
"Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the state."
Pope Francis this year had denounced abortion as the "white glove" equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families "to accept the children that God gives them."
"Let's recognise that we're facing a public health tragedy because 3030 women who have died is a tragedy," said Magdalena Odarda, a senator for Rio Negro province.
"We're not deciding abortion yes or now. We're deciding abortion in a hospital, or illegal abortion, with a clothes hanger, or anything else that puts a woman in a humiliating, degrading situation - a real torture," she said.
For months, hundreds of doctors in Argentina had staged anti-abortion protests, in one case laying their white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.
Feminists and other groups led even larger demonstrations in support of the measure, often wearing green that symbolises the pro-abortion movement, or red cloaks and white bonnets like the characters from the novel-turned-TV series The Handmaid's Tale.
Australian Associated Press

June 4, 2018

LGBT and Abortion Rights Are Working Together Against Discrimination in Northern Ireland

Abortion rights protestors hold placards during a demonstration calling for abortion to be legalised in Northern Ireland, outside Belfast city hall in Belfast.


The LGBT and abortion rights movements in Northern Ireland have vowed to fight in solidarity to win the same rights as people in the rest of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland.

While women's rights campaigners celebrated the Republic overturning its longstanding ban on abortion in a historic referendum last month, their attention has now turned to Northern Ireland, where the practice remains outlawed despite being legal in the rest of the UK.

Similarly, same-sex marriage, which is legal in England, Scotland and Wales, remains prohibited in Northern Ireland.

“Just like abortion rights, marriage equality is another issue that Northern Ireland is behind on and there’s an accumulation of impatience,” Eleanor Crossey Malone from feminist campaign group Rosa told BuzzFeed News at the LGBT rights Love Equality rally in Belfast on Saturday.

“It’s increasingly ludicrous that we find ourselves in a situation where we’re surrounded on all sides by states where you can access abortion or marry someone of the same gender and we’re not willing to wait anymore,” she continued. “Something has to be done now.”

Last week, abortion was legalized south of the border after a landslide vote in a referendum to repeal Ireland’s strict abortion law, mirroring 2015’s referendum which saw same-sex marriage legalized in the country. The Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish sea, is also in the final legislative stages of overturning a ban on abortion. 

Some 5,000 people were estimated to have joined Saturday’s march, and abortion rights and LGBT rights were unmistakably intertwined.

“Our basic right to control our body, our sexuality and our basic right to human freedom are so profoundly lodged in both of those issues,” Ailbhe Smyth, the leader of the campaign to legalize abortion in the Republic of Ireland, told the crowd. 

Activists campaigning for an end to Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage take part in a parade through Belfast city center.

Several people on the march wore badges with abortion rights badges from the south’s referendum campaign with Love Equality T-shirts, or LGBT rights slogans pinned to the black Repeal jumper that is now so closely associated with the abortion rights movement across Ireland.

“I think there’s a huge amount of solidarity between grassroots feminist campaigns and grassroots LGBT campaigns,” said Aoife Kelly, who wore a Love Equality badge on one of the black jumpers.

“It was brilliant to hear almost every speaker draw parallels between the struggle for abortion law reform and the fight for marriage equality,” Danielle Roberts, a campaigner with Northern Ireland’s leading abortion rights group Alliance for Choice said after the event. “The statements of support for abortion law reform made today were so much more than words – there is real solidarity between our movements.” 

John O’Doherty, director of The Rainbow Project, told BuzzFeed News that campaigners for equality in Northern Ireland were not willing to settle for one or the other when it came to abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
“We are really seeing a grassroots human rights movement right across the island of Ireland,” he said.

“Northern Ireland can’t stand alone. Rights that exist for UK citizens must exist for all UK citizens. The only way to achieve that is for all of us to stand together.” 

While both issues are devolved in Northern Ireland, the country has been without a government for over a year, and there are loud calls for Westminster to intervene on both issues. Labour MP Conor McGinn recently tabled a ten-minute rule bill in the House of Commons to bring same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland – although it was blocked from moving to its next stage. On Saturday night Labour MP Stella Creasy organized a cross-party letter to prime minister Theresa May urging her to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Theresa May faces a growing rebellion by several MPs in her own party who support Creasy’s intervention, including chair of the health select committee Sarah Wollaston, while women and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt, alongside Conservatives Justine Greening and Maria Miller, have mounted their own separate call for reform of abortion laws.

An open letter by Alliance for Choice signed by several equality advocates in Northern Ireland, including The Rainbow Trust, also calls on May to legislate for abortion rights from Westminster.

If May were to act on either of those issues, however, she risks losing the support of the DUP, the vehemently anti-abortion Northern Irish party whose support she needs in parliament after losing her party’s majority in last year’s general election.

O’Doherty was one of a chorus of campaigners who was keen to put pressure on Westminster to bypass Northern Ireland’s currently defunct legislature and take responsibility for abortion and same-sex marriage in the country.

“Human rights are not a devolved issue,” he said. “It’s mad that we haven’t had a government for 18 months, it’s unthinkable, but it’s the reality for people in Northern Ireland. Why are we not seeing intervention by the British government?”

Jane Robinson, also from The Rainbow Project, agreed that Westminster should intervene, particularly on rights that are afforded to people in the rest of the UK.

“We don’t have equal marriage rights, we don’t have equal abortion rights and there are so many other things that we don’t have equal access to,” she said. “Just treat Northern Ireland the same way you’re treating England, Scotland, and Wales.”

Almost immediately after the Republic of Ireland’s vote to relax abortion laws was declared in Dublin last week, attention turned to Northern Ireland, with the hashtag #TheNorthIsNext quickly spreading across social media.

In Belfast, the abortion rights movement seems newly galvanized, with a flurry of new activists, young and old, signing up at an Alliance for Choice drop-in session in the city on Saturday morning.

“One of the things we’ve been surprised about is how quickly people turned to look at us,” Emma Gallen, a campaigner with Alliance for Choice told us. “Public support is on our side – the Yes badges have made it up here!”

Among Alliance for Choice’s new recruits were activists who were already involved in the LGBT rights movement in Belfast who had found a common cause in the fight for abortion rights.

Stephen Donnan, who wore a Love Equality T-shirt and a “Repeal” badge said he was recently drawn to the abortion rights movement because he wanted to “stand in solidarity with the women who need this change to happen”.

“I don’t want to live in a country that has equal marriage but not access to free, safe and legal abortive health care, or vice versa,” he told us. “Health care and abortion is an LGBT issue as much as LGBT issues are women’s issues. I think they go hand in hand.”

Donnan also believed Westminster should intervene on both issues. “Theresa May calls herself a feminist – well, this is a litmus test,” he said.

“I’m in no position to tell a woman what being a feminist is or isn’t, but for me, this isn’t a feminist issue, it’s a human rights issue and regardless of parliamentary arithmetic, she needs to stand up and say, no this is what’s going to happen.”

Helen Gomez, an LGBT campaigner who had come along to Alliance for Choice’s recruitment session also believed abortion rights and LGBT rights went hand-in-hand.

“They’re two groups of people who are considered minorities when they’re not, and don’t have legal rights that are essential,” she said.

“Feminists and LGBT rights activists both have to struggle together,” Gomez added.

“Let’s fight it together, let’s win it together.”

Women In Northern Ireland Would Welcome Westminster Intervention On Abortion

Abortion Rights Protesters Appear To Have Taken Abortion Pills In Front Of Police In Northern Ireland

A Former UK Cabinet Minister Said Northern Ireland Should Have An Abortion Referendum, Too

By Laura Silver who is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Laura Silver at

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