As the Citizen’s Assembly comes to a close, Zuzia Whelan considers the results and the response from government.
A controversial ad campaign offering “a safe abortion with pills” has been stickered all over Dublin City.
The campaign is for the online website, Women on Web, which sends abortion pills worldwide to countries where terminations are inaccessible.
Before ordering the pills an online doctors consultation is required. A medical abortion is a termination of pregnancy by using two medicines, misoprostol and mifepristone. The success rate is 98 per cent when taken in the first eight weeks of pregnancy.
Women on Web are a non profit organsiation, for their service, there is a recommended donation of €90.
However, such websites raise serious concerns both for the safety of the woman self administrating and the illegality of obtaining the service.
Speaking to those in Dublin from the 18-34 year old demographic, the response was overwhelmingly pro choice.
Maeve Judge (28), “My own beliefs are pro life. However, I would say that I believe in pro-choice for the nation. As you can live in a pro-choice country, but believe in pro-life and act accordingly. However, you cannot live in a pro-life country and have choice (unless you leave that country).” She said.
“As the Internet has allowed people to educate themselves on medicine, people don’t always have to go to their doctor when something is wrong. So, it makes sense that all sorts of pills will become available online. As long as the pills used for the termination are accompanied with relevant information and guidelines, I do not have any issue with it.”
Matthew Brazel (24) “I am a proud pro choice campaigner. I believe people ordering abortion pills online is unsafe and pushing the problem further underground. This is a reflection of the dangerous consequence of the unfair and oppressive legislation in place surrounding abortion.” He said.
Ashling Durkan (22), “It is disgusting that in the liberal society which we live that some backwards male tyrants are dictating a woman right to choice” she said.
“Forcing a woman to bring an unwanted child in to the world is morally corrupt and a breach of human rights. It is the choice of the mother and that choice should be respected not vilified.”
“However, if I was to get pregnant now, I would have the baby, but that is my choice.” she said.
Jessica O’Sullivan (24), “ I feel that abortion should be legalised in Ireland, however I would consider myself both pro life and pro choice”, she said.
“I do not believe advocating legal abortion makes an individual anti life. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is traumatic enough without the stigma, branding and possible persecution for a woman’s right to her own body and life”
Carina Moran (22) “I am pro choice. I think abortion should be legalised in Ireland but there should be a strict vetting process. It should not be viewed a form of contraception.”
“As for ordering abortion pills online, I think it is highly irresponsible and morally void. While abortion is primarily a physical procedure, the possible mental and emotional implications of such it can be devastating and therefore needs to be managed accordingly by dedicated services.” She said.
In Ireland, legal abortions are only available to women at serious physical or mental distress in cases where their lives are at risk. The current Government have ruled out any new abortion laws in its lifetime, following the introduction of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act last year.
In a poll published by the Irish Times, the majority of Irish people (68%), both men and women are in favour of holding a referendum to extend the circumstances in which women can seek abortions.