National Women’s Council campaign to represent #EveryWoman

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The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) launched their new women’s healthcare initiative #EveryWoman, on Thursday the 16th of November.

As part of the National Strategy for Women and Girls (2017-2020), Ireland’s largest women’s welfare organisation, the NWCI put forward their initiative to be considered in the government’s Women’s Health Action Plan.

The campaign, which is centred around a woman’s right to a comprehensive, safe and confidential healthcare system, aims to build consensus and understanding of what reproductive services the system needs to enable all women and girls to realise their potential in life.

“Reproductive health matters at all stages of our lives, from sexual health education in schools to menopause services. Access to reproductive health care is fundamental to women’s family and life decisions and essential for women’s equality,” said Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI.

In addition to this, a large part of their campaign is centred around the Eighth Amendment. They want to eliminate the pro choice and anti-abortion debate by removing the Eighth Amendment altogether in favour of women’s health, needs and the reality of their lives.

The council also said that they would allow for early abortion care in cases of rape and incest depending on the needs of the woman involved. They also are adamant women receive professional medical care in Ireland, throughout and after the procedure.

“Instead of focusing on criminal sanctions, restrictions and limits of care options, it focuses on women’s health needs. It acknowledges that each person or couple choosing to end a pregnancy has real needs and their own personal and private reasons for making healthcare decisions,” said O’Connor.

Other guest speakers at the launch included Sonya Lennon, designer and businesswoman, Alison Cowzer, a businesswoman and investor on Dragon’s Den, and Suzy Byrne, disability rights activist.

“I’m tired of disability being thrown into the mix by pro-life groups without the voice of people with disability,” said Suzy Byrne, who feels that she is ill-represented in the debate and her circumstances are not always taken into account.

The public figures represented all types of women included in the conversation and were able to explain the wants and needs of each, which tied in nicely with the campaign’s slogan: “We are Traveller women, rural women, migrant women, women with disabilities, older women and younger women.”

By Megan Walsh

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