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To remind you about NI

(159 Posts)
NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 18:36:29

There’s been a lot of discussion (and condemnation) on these threads about abortion laws in Alabama.

We still don’t have safe, legal abortion in all of the UK. 28 women a week have to travel from Northern Ireland to the mainland because they do not have access to the same medical services as women in the rest of the UK, despite paying for the NHS through taxation.

Women’s reproductive rights and autonomy over their own bodies are worth fighting for - please consider emailing your MP to keep this on the agenda.

Thank you!

PS I’m not formally linked to the Now for NI campaign, I just think it’s bloody important

LindsayDentonsCat Thu 16-May-19 18:40:59

Absolutely. It just goes to show how insignificant NI is in the minds of many British people, that there has been so much outrage about US abortion law (rightly) and yet so little about the lack in reproductive rights for Northern Irish women.

Alsohuman Thu 16-May-19 18:44:00

It beats me how NI politicians can take this stance when abortion has been legal in the rest of the UK for 52 years. I’m surprised NI women aren’t kicking up far more of a stink about it.

fancynancyclancy Thu 16-May-19 18:46:03

LindsayDentonsCat Completely agree.

Justheretosee Thu 16-May-19 18:48:05

Precisely LindsayDentonsCat

whatwouldbigfatfannydo Thu 16-May-19 18:48:34

I wholeheartedly support this. You aren't forgotten about.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 18:50:12

It’s a devolved issue - but Stormont isn’t sitting. Westminster has the power to intervene but isn’t, arguably to prop up the agreement with the DUP.

Either way, politics mean that women don’t have access to care.

Banning abortion only prevents safe, legal abortion. It doesn’t stop backstreet abortions. It increases health inequalities as those who can afford to travel. It disproportionately impacts vulnerable women.

LindsayDentonsCat Thu 16-May-19 18:55:53

But it isn't just an issue that NI women can solve on their own by "kicking up a stink" Alsohuman . The online activism around Alabama has highlighted that few people consider the voices of NI women to be relevant. This is an issue everyone needs to "kicking up a stink" about: men, English people, Scottish people, Welsh people, Westminster politicians...

badlydrawnperson Thu 16-May-19 19:06:42

I mentioned this on the Alabama thread but I got slapped down by some on the basis that NI hasn't reverted to this but has always been that way.

Surely if its wrong, its wrong?

Alsohuman Thu 16-May-19 19:11:13

I completely appreciate that NI women can’t solve it on their own. But you would expect to hear from them every now and then. Women in the Republic were a lot more vocal.

flashbac Thu 16-May-19 19:15:12

I think there's more outrage because Alabama shows how quickly and easily women's rights can be taken away. Going backwards on women's rights is more shocking than staying still.

LindsayDentonsCat Thu 16-May-19 19:15:16

I don't think the British media gives a platform to NI people in general, maybe that's why you don't hear from them. After the GFA Northern Ireland disappeared from national media, because, you know, all issues had been solved, thanks to Clinton and New Labour.

gamerwidow Thu 16-May-19 19:18:26

I emailed my MP James Brokenshire you’ll be unsurprised to know he gave no fucks about this. Up to the people of NI apparently, nothing he can do hmm

Alsohuman Thu 16-May-19 19:18:34

I think that’s true but my husband’s from Belfast and I’ve never heard it raised as an issue when I’ve been there. Maybe I talk to the wrong women.

happyhillock Thu 16-May-19 19:22:14

The women in NI can come to Scotland and get a free abortion and free travel, NI doesn't contribute to Scotland's economy, the free travel and abortion is paid from the Scottish budget, that grates on me.

gamerwidow Thu 16-May-19 19:23:37

I think that’s true but my husband’s from Belfast and I’ve never heard it raised as an issue when I’ve been there.
It’s because it’s one of those things that won’t really affect you until you actually need an abortion. It doesnt affect everyday life most of the time. I’ve known about the situation in NI for ages but filed it under ‘something I don’t need to think about’ which was selfish and stupid because of course it should concern all UK women.

Justheretosee Thu 16-May-19 19:27:07

Has that always been the case *? I know a few woman who have travelled over to England/Scotland for abortions but as far as I know they paid for everything, including private abortion clinic, I remember one girl did look into having it done on the NHS but was shot down as GP was N.I.

It seems that we are so far behind in many a right here that atm they are just choosing what they see as the biggest and tbh it would be brilliant if we were brought into the 21st century on all accounts!

implantsandaDyson Thu 16-May-19 19:27:20

Alsohuman I'm in Belfast and I talk about it a lot - with my friends, with my family especially my mum and with my eldest daughter recently. I talk about it with every politician and councillor that had the audacity to ring my bell asking for my vote. I asked Penny Mordant about it on the last MN chat fiasco. I dont talk about it on MN much anymore but in real life I can go all day.

Justheretosee Thu 16-May-19 19:28:27

Sorry happyhillock I thought I had tagged you in the prev. Comment

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:30:53

I’m inclined to think that trying to work out which is worse is unhelpful - the fact is women are denied care in both places.

Full disclosure: I’m not from NI, although I have family there. My (Tory) MP didn’t give a shit either. However I personally don’t think the devolution argument washed: 1) because it’s a 1861 law from Westminster that criminalises abortion, which could be revoked. NI politicians would then have to it, as a devolved issue, if they felt they had the democratic mandate to. 2) My personal view is that it’s a health issue not a political one. Decisions about access to health care are largely apolitical in the UK - organisations like NICE rightly sit at arms length from government. Abortion should be treated in the same way (I know this will be a bit controversial to some)

LindsayDentonsCat Thu 16-May-19 19:31:16

Women from NI can come to England for free abortions too. And you know what happyhillock it doesn't grate on me in the slightest. I'm glad they have that option.

rosesandveg Thu 16-May-19 19:31:30

Actually, women here are talking about it. Unfortunately the lack of government means no new laws can be passed, and the political situation in Westminster means that nothing will be forced through. People want change here but the politicians are not working for the people in any respects.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:32:35

That as meant to say: NI politicians would then have to recriminalise it

gamerwidow Thu 16-May-19 19:32:43

Yes I’m not happy with the devolution argument either. It’s a public health issue.

gamerwidow Thu 16-May-19 19:33:32

Women from NI can come to England for free abortions too. And you know what happyhillock it doesn't grate on me in the slightest. I'm glad they have that option
Me too, I don’t begrudge them a penny.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:34:26

@happyhillock it grates on me that they don’t have access to care without travelling.

And by “grates on me” I mean really fucks me off.

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:35:13

What can anyone do when people keep voting the DUP into power who are vehemently opposed to abortion.

Alsohuman Thu 16-May-19 19:36:19

Totally agree that women accessing services in England and Scotland is the right thing and don’t understand why that would bother anyone. They really shouldn’t have to, though.

MaximusHeadroom Thu 16-May-19 19:37:02

Well said.

It really is disgusting that women in the UK do not have the same level of human rights.

I remember someone mentioning this after the referendum in Ireland, saying that abortion is banned in parts of the UK and everyone was scratching their heads trying to work out where it could be. Nobody realised it was NI.

The attitude towards the GFA in relation to Brexit shows that most British people don't even think about NI.

We have so much more freedom than millions of women across the world when it comes to reproductive rights in Britain.

British women are able to speak out for the women in NI and we should.

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:40:16

Sinn Fein which is quite republican, campaigned in Ireland for both LGBT rights and for abortion rights. The DUP as far as I know stands for the Democratic Unionist Party? I think? So they're Unionists, hence more British than Irish. You guys really need to vote for who might bring in policies you agree with. If you keep voting the DUP in, knowing how opposed they are to abortion, what can anyone do?

hopeishere Thu 16-May-19 19:41:34

This is interesting research

I'm always surprised by the answer about a woman having a termination because she doesn't want to be pregnant. 43% disagree it should be legal that's a pretty high amount.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:43:38

@asdou *what can anyone do?* Great question! Things you can do:

1) lobby your MP
2) vote
3) if you’re able to, support organisations like BPAS who work to promote reproductive rights
4) talk about it, educate people, and keep it on the radar

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:44:50

But we can't do anything for you! You're going to have to do that for yourselves!

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:46:03

You need to be appealing to people in NI who have a vote. There is nothing we can do.

Evidencebased Thu 16-May-19 19:46:04

I think the lack of publicity/energy/concern for women in N.I., and ignorance/lack of concern over the future of the Border between N.I. and the RoI speaks volumes about the way British people have disregarded N.I.

It's shameful, as UK citizens, our ignorance of this part of our own country.
And this ignorance is part of the reason why many in UK are happy to renege on the hard won GFA.
And seem more concerned about abortion bans in US , than bans which exist in our OWN country.

So, apologies to sisters in N.I.

What can we do to help?

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:48:56

@asdou that’s not actually accurate. Westminster has the power to decriminalise abortion across the UK, including NI, by revoking the 1861 Act that was put in place before women could vote. NI would then need to bring in a separate law to make it illegal there. Basically, Westminster are able to force the issue.

LindsayDentonsCat Thu 16-May-19 19:51:01

asdou you do understand how inequality works, don't you? It is perpetuated by people saying "not my issue". Was slavery abolition only for black people to fight?

There is no sitting parliament in NI, this issue falls to Westminster. And do you seriously think that people who have voted DUP for years are going to vote Sinn Fein? You have a very naive understanding of NI politics if that's the case.

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:51:32

But Westminster is unlikely to force an issue where a people vote against abortion? It's not really their place to overrule democracy.

asdou Thu 16-May-19 19:53:04

But what can anyone do when you repeatedly vote for parties with policies you abhor? And then complain about the policies!!!

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 19:58:02

@asdou - I don’t know if that was aimed at me, but at the last election I voted labour. Stella Creasy has been doing fantastic work on this.

I live in England. I don’t see woman in NI as “not my issue” when it’s a law made in Westminster that makes abortion illegal. And agree with the pp about how inequalities are perpetuated.

asdou Thu 16-May-19 20:02:02

But it's the people themselves who need to vote for what they want.

hereiam19 Thu 16-May-19 20:02:04

Every time there’s an election I do really wonder is something going to change and I know this year alliance seen a good increase in seats but the DUP seem to have a big hold on people and until that changes nothing else will,unfortunately. I live in a predominantly catholic area (I do have Protestant friends/colleagues) yet I don’t know anyone who admits to voting DUP - yet they always have the most seats! Infuriating!

FlaviaAlbia Thu 16-May-19 20:09:12

I've mostly stopped talking about it on here because it's really fucking depressing.

MNHQ asked if they should campaign on it a few years ago and the survey response was pitiful in number and I was mansplained to by a male poster who patted me on the head figuratively and told me we had to sort it out ourselves and not involve the rest of the UK. That and the other posters and FB acquaintances who don't believe NHS money should be spent on women from NI.

As for voting in the DUP, I live in an area with high unemployment, low educational prospects, ripe for their divisive politics. NI's economy needs to improve before the politics will but with Brexit on the cards it's getting worse not better.

And as for talking about it to people I don't know who don't live here and think we should just be a bit louder and make it all ok, no...

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 20:10:10

@evidencebased well said. I wonder if sometimes it’s because it’s easier to get enraged about something that feels distant and abstract - “look at those awful Americans; we’d never let anything like that happen here because we’re too liberal and enlightened!” than to actually try and make a difference about issues on our doorstep.

Alsohuman Thu 16-May-19 20:10:13

Nothing’s going to happen in Westminster while a minority government is dependent on the DUP to get legislation through.

TheVandalsTookTheHandles Thu 16-May-19 20:14:37

I've started a monthly donation to the Abortion Support Network today. It helps women in NI, Malta, Gibralta and the Isle of Man access abortions safely.

implantsandaDyson Thu 16-May-19 20:18:11

FlaviaAlbia that's why I dont bother with MN and abortion rights for women in NI anymore either. Its painful to watch posters tie themselves up in knots in order to blame people and I'm not in form to "educate" anymore. I've been on several threads (not this one) over the many years I've been on MN where I've been patted on the head and told to budge up.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 20:25:06

@implantsandadyson @flaviaalbia
I hope my suggestion to talk/educate didn’t come across as flippant - but it always annoys me how many people don’t appreciate it’s a huge issue. I hope more awareness, and more people across the UK, standing in solidarity with women in NI, will eventually lead to change.

RedForShort Thu 16-May-19 20:25:20

I don't think you were 'shouted down' badlydrawnperson. Honestly it would seem mad for any person angered about Alabama would be coola boola about NI. The outrage is just different as it's horror and fear that its a backward movement. A removal of women's rights that had been fought for.

The day the 8th was appealed was emotional. I'm unlikely to ever have an abortion due to age or circumstance but the fact that women in Ireland. The idea this could revert is horrifying. But don't forget almost immediately after the Yes vote was revealed to have won #thenorthisnext began.

It does need to start being made loud in NI, the rest of the UK will support. You honesly think millions of women care more about alabama? The whole chip on the shoulder that no one cares will just hinder. If people don't know it's just ignorance so loudness will inform. (I hope
happyhillock's attitide isnt standard in Scotland)

It sickens me there's still women a short drive from me who still have to travel.

RedForShort Thu 16-May-19 20:31:53

The DUP bleating on about not wanting to be treated different with Brexit was galling. Perfectly happy to be different with women's rights and marriage equality. Disgusted me, wanted someone in westminister to tell them to fuck off with their bollocks.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Thu 16-May-19 20:32:11

I wonder if sometimes it’s because it’s easier to get enraged about something that feels distant and abstract - “look at those awful Americans; we’d never let anything like that happen here because we’re too liberal and enlightened!” than to actually try and make a difference about issues on our doorstep.

If you take a look on the FWR boards on here there are plenty of MNetters there talking about women's rights issues here and abroad and turning that into action. (There was loads of repeal the 8th threads) Sadly there's a few MNetters who have changed their settings to block seeing FWR threads in active threads - there are women who care and are doing their bit but many would rather not see it (their choice but there you go) . So when you say MNetters don't 'try and make a difference about issues on our doorstep' - there are ones that do.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Thu 16-May-19 20:32:32

The sea change in the Republic of Ireland took years and a massive change in apolitically away from the traditional view that the church dictates what the political parties do. NI isn’t in that place yet. The yes campaign which was instrumental in the Irish referendum is trying to take on NI but it’s a tall order. Don’t forget the DUP who are propping up Theresa May are anti gay marriage anti gay in general and extremely anti anti abortion. They have an automatic veto in the NI assembly which means they can refuse to allow any parliamentary decisions on this. The best thing that could happen is for someone to force the issue while they are all slacking off and refusing to form an assembly. I’d say Arlene would be back in stormont by morning

DonDadaOnTheDownLow Thu 16-May-19 20:35:07

Does anyone have a link to a NI charity or organisation which helps women with the costs associated with travel, etc,? I'd like to donate something which goes specifically for women struggling with this.

Mummyshark2018 Thu 16-May-19 20:35:57

I don't think it's high on the agenda for NI people as there are other things that are more prominent in people's minds. Attitudes towards having babies/ families is different there also imo and there continues to be very religious sections who wouldn't want this to come in. Being from NI it has never ever come up in discussion amongst my friendship group or family, and I generally move in wide circles. Very few people I know would actively support it, or perhaps they would support it but they certainly don't talk about it.

Two4Tuesday Thu 16-May-19 20:37:26

I find it almost distasteful that the DUP insist on constantly peddling the rhetoric that NI is part of the United Kingdom, and that they go apoplectic at the thought NI would be treated differently (just look at the whole Brexit situ to see this in action).
But when it comes to women's healthcare... well, that's a different story. Then they're quite happy to deny us our reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, which our sisters in the rest of GB can (thankfully) access.
And don't get me started on their use of the Petition of Concern in Stormont... angry

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 20:38:03

@thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sure - my post was a bit clumsily worded and I agree, there are many amazing feminists doing great things here.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Thu 16-May-19 20:43:11

DonDadaOnTheDownLow Might be worth checking Bpas?

implantsandaDyson Thu 16-May-19 20:43:37

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter to be honest it was actually on the FWR board that I felt most ignored and belittled. But there's no point rehashing old ground. I know there are lots of posters on MN who feel very strongly about supporting women's reproductive rights equally throughout the UK.

Comtesse Thu 16-May-19 20:45:33

I just emailed my mp. Thanks for the prompt. Why get outraged about Alabama and do nothing about what’s happening in your own country? Seriously, we should get our own house in order.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Thu 16-May-19 20:47:16

NowforNI - yes there's a great many women on FWR whom I totally respect and admire for the tireless work they do. I've learnt so much from them, but it's so frustrating that there are plenty who don't think feminism is even relevant anymore.

justdog Thu 16-May-19 20:53:48

It strikes me that in many ways, NI is a bit of a backwards country in terms of liberal thinking. My dd's father is from a small town near Belfast, and his parents are very religious, they were outraged by the gay cake shebang, and refer to people who aren't white Christians as foreign, dirty and as 'coloureds'. I was actually really quite shocked and horrified when I realised how many people in that town shared their views, so it doesn't come as a surprise that abortion is still illegal there.

TheCatDidSay Thu 16-May-19 20:54:39

Because not everything is about NI. Because NI could vote in a party who would change it where as Alabama are having this forced upon them and going backwards rather than forwards.

Evidencebased Thu 16-May-19 21:13:23

The campaign to decriminalise abortion across the UK.

Read that again: the campaign to decriminalise abortion across the UK.Thats our country, where some women have no access to terminations, no matter how desperate their situation.

Evidencebased Thu 16-May-19 21:18:40

The NI assembly has been suspended, so I'm not clear how people in NI could vote to change the law . And one issue is that the rest of the UK looks the other way/ is ignorant/ doesn't care about NI/ feels that this part of OUR country is really somehow nothing to do with us.

Alabama is a democracy- in what sense have these measures been 'forced' on them?

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 21:24:34

@Comtesse thank you

bellinisurge Thu 16-May-19 21:29:09

Thanks for the reminder, op.

Waveysnail Thu 16-May-19 21:32:30

Woman rarely travel to Scotland as they dont provide one day early abortion service

Waveysnail Thu 16-May-19 21:32:55

BruthasTortoise Thu 16-May-19 21:34:22

By the logic of some on this thread the women in Alabama deserve exactly what is happening to them because they could've just voted in different people hmm

NI, for being such a small place, has an incredibly complex intersect between politics and religion and it's not in any way as straightforward as voting for different people. Sinn Fein are, albeit relatively recently, a pro-choice party - however many of their members, never mind their electorate would not vote to legalise abortion. The SDLP are historically a pro-life party though many of their voters would vote to legalise. Unionist pro-choice people will not vote Sinn Fein no matter what their abortion stance. Theres not a chance in hell the DUP will allow a referendum in the first place so it would take a change in the parties first to force the issue. The Alliance I think would schism in a abortion referendum though the Greens and PBP would hold together as pro-choice.

And none of this matters anyway since we don't have a government with no end in sight...

I'm so glad my child bearing days are over.

Mummyshark2018 Thu 16-May-19 21:34:38

My in laws are from the east end of London and use those same disgusting slurs against non- whites, and Easter Europeans. There are racists and small minded people everywhere- even in the cosmopolitan city of London.

NowforNI Thu 16-May-19 21:54:47

@bruthas thanks for the further context.

I’m not sure a referendum is the answer - obviously there’s been success in the Republic with referendums, but I’m quite sceptical of referendum for minority issues (and I’d class women’s issues as minority issues due to power imbalances etc.) as it feels very risky to ask a majority to vote on issues only impacting a minority. It’s a really tricky one as to what the best political vehicle is, and in getting the timing right

happyhillock Thu 16-May-19 21:56:29

@NowforNI Not as much as it grates on me, NI has some really antiquated laws, start voting for the right party, women need to start having there voices heard.

hereiam19 Thu 16-May-19 22:07:36

The problem is we have very complex historical political parties and even if people do want a change they won’t vote for the party that is offering to do exactly that as they aren’t the same background! Until it’s no longer “green” or “orange” nothing will change and whilst no one is doing their job in Stormont anyway

cardibach Thu 16-May-19 22:21:16

Thanks for the link Evidencebased
I’ve emailed my MP.

Pesto37 Thu 16-May-19 22:39:38

@NowforNI, thank you, yes women here (I am in NI) we deserve the same rights as the women in the rest of the island and the women in the UK. For those who state they resent money spent on us and those kinder souls who say no it's ok we don't mind I would point out that we work we pay taxes and contribute a sizeable amount of doctors, nurses, and teachers to the rest of the UK.

ItsAllGone19 Thu 16-May-19 22:53:20

I haven't forgotten NI...or Gibraltar for that matter. Both are fighting against an old system that does not want to recognise the right to a woman being in control of her own body.

But I'm honestly gutted that a modern country like USA could actually allow States to take a step back and condemn women to either be unwilling incubators for children or to act desperately in order to end their pregnancy.

TheVandalsTookTheHandles Fri 17-May-19 07:02:03

DonDadaOnTheDownLow the Abortion support Network helps women access abortions safely and helps with travel expenses.

DonDadaOnTheDownLow Fri 17-May-19 07:46:30

Thank you TheVandalsTookTheHandles - I've set up a monthly donation. smile

It did occur to me yesterday that I was horribly upset about Alabama and yet this shit is happening just a couple of hundred miles from my home so I'm glad I can help local women in some small way.

bellinisurge Fri 17-May-19 07:55:55

It's quite revolting that the DUP want NI to be treated exactly the same as the UK. Except on basic civil rights. And yes, I know it isn't only the DUP that have done this. Fake consensus by patrician extremists.

fairweathercyclist Fri 17-May-19 08:32:38

Women from NI can come to England for free abortions too

Can they? I thought they were denied them because of devolved NHS administrations? I do know that Chester hospital was saying it wouldn't take patients from Wales for example (not for abortions, generally, because of lack of funds, so they're saying they can't afford to).

I agree the law in NI is a disgrace and the Westminster's government's lack of responsibility even more of a disgrace. But that's their attitude to NI for you. Lets trigger Article 50 before we've sorted out a constitutional problem in one of our constituent countries. It's just another example.

RedForShort Fri 17-May-19 08:45:03

Also the outrage over is reactionary. It will die down. NI is effectively static, campaigning is hugely getting momentum and it's a huge uphill exhausting struggle.

Campaigners in ROI didn't win on the back of a few months effort. Nor was it a few years. It was decades and gaining supporters and keeping people supporting.

BogglesGoggles Fri 17-May-19 08:50:03

A reminder to those of us living in the England and Wales jurisdiction that abortion isn’t legal here either. If you don’t live in NI you can still make a positive impact by setting a positive example. Get in touch with you MP and let them know that abortion is still andalwats will be an important political issue and you want to legalise the right to an elective abortion.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:03:58

I don't understand why it would be so awful to vote for Sinn Fein, if you feel passionately about the right of women to abortion. What are their other policies that you don't agree with? I know they want a United Ireland, but other than that, there policies seem quite mainstream. They're very much campaigners for the poor in society, so maybe not as capitalist as some might like, but I think you need to look at the policies that are most important to you and vote on that basis.

I don't agree with every policy of every political party, but I vote on the basis of which policies mean the most to me.

It almost feels like you want Westminster to do something while absolving you of any responsibility for your own future. I don't mean this in a patronising way, but it's the only analogy I can think of, but it seems like NI is like a child who wants Mammy (Westminster) to sort everything out for her. You've got to grow up and fight yourselves. Ireland did, by raging against the machine that is the Catholic Church. There was massive campaigning internationally, with a group set up called #HometoVote whereby Yes voters would have flights subsidised if they still had a vote - proof was required in the form of their name on the register and a copy of their flight bookings. Priority was given to Irish in Europe as subsidising one flight from Oz or Canada could have subsidised 5 or 6 European flights. The other massive shift was that the College of Surgeons or some other medical council, put their weight behind campaigning for a Yes vote, whereas previously they had not taken any stance. Therefore you had doctors involved in debates, who hold a lot of respect in the minds of ordinary people. We also had a few pretty tragic cases of teenagers who were victims of rape, and women having to travel to Liverpool or Birmingham to abort their baby who was not compatible with life.

All of this massively aided the vote. I think the result from the gay marriage referendum encouraged a lot of young voters out of their normally apathetic bedrooms to vote.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:07:06

I also know that Mary Lou McDonald (the leader of Sinn Fein) is a massive pro-choice activist. If there was a loophole whereby they could get Westminster to do something, she'd have found it. It's a pity really that they're vehemently opposed to taking their seats in Westminster, but what can you do.....

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:08:12

She frequently gets thrown out of the Dáil in Ireland, so I'd pay good money to see what ruckus she'd cause in Westminster grin

They wouldn't know what to do with her! Hee hee.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:09:49

It may well be that NI is not experienced enough yet at ruling from home. It took Ireland 100 years as a Republic to really come of age and sort its own affairs out.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:34:18

OP, all last year I was on a number of Pro-choice FB groups. It was a good platform to rally support. Have you anything like that in NI yet?

Would you contact a pro-choice politician in NI to ask for their assistance in setting up some sort of campaign group within NI itself?

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:35:26

If you could garner support and arrange rallies or similar, you might persuade public opinion and political opinion.

MindyStClaire Fri 17-May-19 13:41:37

It's so hard to understand just how entrenched the green and orange thing is here until you've spent some time living here I think. I'm not from here originally, but I've been here about 10 years, my thoughts would be (and obviously this is speaking very generally, lots of individuals won't fall into these boxes):

- I don't think either side in NI hates the other. But I do think each side is genuinely terrified of the other getting a stranglehold on governing.

- This is fair. Catholics have seen the discrimination they faced in the past. It's not hypothetical for them, it's (very recent) history.

- Working class unionists have in some ways been the big losers of the peace process. They had a stranglehold on a lot of industry, but now employers are (rightly) expected to employ from both sides of the fence and those industries are struggling too. There isn't a culture of education in those communities (because there was no need in the past) and so whole generations are floundering. They have simultaneously seen working class nationalists prospering post peace process.

- If either side gained significant control, the other would (justifiably in my view) think "That's it, we're fucked". And I'm not talking in terms of whether NI is part of the UK or ROI, I'm talking in terms of employment, housing, funding etc.

- So people don't necessarily vote for the DUP or Sinn Fein, they vote against the other. Both the DUP and SF have been very very skillful (and not in the slightest bit subtle) in cultivating this attitude.

- Obviously, reproductive rights are just one issue that people vote on. Even as a pro choice woman in my child baring years, it's not the first issue on my list of reasons to vote for a candidate or party, so I can't expect it to be on others'. That doesn't mean I don't care deeply.

- SF is the most obviously pro choice party here, but there is the oh so small issue of their connection to the IRA and which means many will never ever vote for them, regardless of anything else (I'll happily declare myself in this category). (Oh, and Mary Lou would not cause a ruckus in Westminster since a) she's from Dublin and thus unlikely to run for a seat in the UK and b) wouldn't take her seat as part of SF's abstentionist policy, but I suspect you know that asdou.)

Basically, life in NI was very hard for a very long time in a way that those of us who didn't grow up here during the Troubles just can't understand. It has unsurprisingly left the place a bit fucked up, and actually I think NI should be really really proud of how it's fighting to progress, and to grow. It is a fantastic place to live and I would hate to leave.

Expecting NI to legislate for abortion is just too big a step right now. It just is, there's too much else going on, it's too emotional, everything is too fraught as it is.

Westminster could step in. It would be the humane thing to do.

Patronising comments about how women in NI should do something about the laws (oh gee, why didn't we think of that), or stop voting for the DUP (see above) don't help. Nor do comments about how NI should "get over itself" (as I've seen on here before) - it's basically a whole country with trauma.

What would help, is talking about how British and Irish women living in NI don't have access to healthcare that their sisters in the rest of the UK and Ireland do. Lobbying Westminster to step up. Demystifying abortion (seriously, it's just not talked about here, ever). Patronising shite about how NI women bring this on themselves and that it was GB who can take responsibility for repealing the 8th in ROI helps absolutely no one and completely ignores the political and historical reality in NI.

MindyStClaire Fri 17-May-19 13:42:58

Would you contact a pro-choice politician in NI to ask for their assistance in setting up some sort of campaign group within NI itself?

Do you really think such a thing doesn't exist? Seriously?

FlaviaAlbia Fri 17-May-19 13:46:29

Gosh, I'm glad you didn't intend to be patronising asdou. I'd hate to see what you'd have said if you did.

The fact that you can claim that we're watching for Westminster to sort it out while apparently not having the faintest clue what actually does happen on the ground and in the courts here doesn't exactly help your intent.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:50:20


Mary Lou has a seat in Westminster as far as I know, but refuses to take it. Happy to be corrected on that.

That's she's a Dub doesn't stop her causing havoc in Dublin!

She's been thrown out of the Dáil more times than I can count.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:54:36

But you're asking us to help you while simultaneously rebutting any helpful suggestions we're offering!

We're not experts on NI and you can't expect us to be. YOU are. You're the ones who understand the situation. You're the ones who should know how to campaign for change given your particular set of circumstances. If pro choice campaigners from Ireland or the rest of the Uk marched into NI with campaign posters, there would be bloody uproar. So again I ask - what do you want us to do?

MindyStClaire Fri 17-May-19 13:55:06

asdou why on earth would Mary Lou have a seat in Westminster? Like, seriously, why on earth would you think that? She's from Dublin, she runs in a Dublin constituency for the Dáil. Are you confusing her with Michelle O'Neill? Who also doesn't, btw, she is an MLA and would be sitting in Stormont if it weren't for that whole clusterfuck.

But Mary Lou, no. I highly doubt she's ever run for office in NI.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:56:00

You repeatedly tell anyone from outside NI that we can not understand it, then shout at us when we declare that we don't understand it. confused

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:56:40

Could be Michelle O'Neill that I'm thinking of.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:57:07

I know SF have seats in Westminster - that's my point.

asdou Fri 17-May-19 13:57:43

I doubt you know who the Irish politicians are!

MindyStClaire Fri 17-May-19 13:58:08

You repeatedly tell anyone from outside NI that we can not understand it, then shout at us when we declare that we don't understand it.

You could listen to women in NI rather than declaring you know the answer. Look at the NI activisits and see what they advocate. Lobby your local politicians to advocate for women in NI.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Fri 17-May-19 13:59:16

@happyhillock what grates on me is that any woman in the UK has to travel to access a service that is provided free on the NHS, which they pay towards. It reduces the availability to those who can travel. I don't begrudge anyone travelling to the nearest possible place, I don't understand how anyone can.

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