Ireland's 'Legal' Abortion Is Starting to Sound A Lot Like America's 'Legal' Abortion

Illustration for article titled Ireland's 'Legal' Abortion Is Starting to Sound A Lot Like America's 'Legal' Abortion
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Last year Ireland finally ruled that abortion would be legal, but not without a few specifications. As of January 1, unrestricted abortions are now legal up to 12 weeks, after which women can still get them if there are present fetal abnormalities or if doctors sign off on the procedure, and a three-day mandatory waiting period is also required. But despite the shiny new legislation, Irish women are already hitting a wall when it comes to obtaining a so-called “legal” abortion.


The New York Times reports that the country is still lagging behind the law and that despite the legality of the procedure, abortion is still seen as a secret. Out of over 4,000 general practitioners of medicine more than 200 doctors have signed up to provide abortions (as they have to opt-in to performing them) and it can be hard to tell which doctors are for or against the procedure. Earlier this month The Irish Examiner reported on a woman whose 13th week of pregnancy revealed her fetus was developing organs in the wrong place, but was told by her doctors that she couldn’t get an abortion because the diagnosis didn’t “neatly fall into a fatal fetal abnormality” category. The NYT interviewed one woman who says she spent three days on the phone before finding a proper doctor and that she was terrified during the three-day waiting period before her abortion that someone might try to change her mind.

And there are unsurprisingly a lot of people in Ireland who want to sway pregnant women to not get an abortion, from those opening fake clinics next to legitimate women’s health centers and increasing protests outside clinics. A hotline established for women looking to get an abortion has already been hijacked by protestors:

Irish women are not entirely on their own. The government has set up an anonymous support line to help them navigate the new system. But even that service got off to an unsteady start after the lines were jammed by anti-abortion activists posing as women seeking abortions so they could identify doctors willing to assist in the procedures and picket their clinics.

If all of this sounds familiar, it might be because Ireland’s anti-abortion climate sounds a lot like America’s! Here abortion is “legal” but not, as insidious TRAP laws keep hospitals and doctors from performing the procedure, wide swaths of the country are without enough proper abortion clinics, and those that exist are bombarded with protesters and pro-life imitators.

Hazel Cills is the Pop Culture Reporter at Jezebel. Her writing has been published by outlets including The Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, and more.


The Tao that can be spoken

One of my wife’s facebook friends shared a story this weekend about her abortion experience.

She lives in Arizona, so not quite Mississippi, but far from California (despite bordering it). She was pretty far along in a wanted pregnancy when she went to a hospital for stomach cramps. The hospital found that she had a still born fetus, but refused an abortion because they were religiously affiliated. She had to wait two weeks for an appointment a four hour drive away to get an abortion, all the while suffering from a decomposing fetus inside her. Even then, she had to sit through a stupid video, interview with a psychologist, and jump through a bunch of other hoops. Afterwards she had to deal with toxic shock and continuing nerve pain that other doctors told her wouldn’t be present if she had an abortion when symptoms first developed.

Anti-choicers are killing women. They are evil, anti-life monsters who would be shunned in a civilized society.