Politics June 6, 2018
Congratulations, Ireland! F*ck you, Iowa.
Ireland voted to repeal the country’s 8th Amendment, ending a ban against abortion and reclaiming bodily autonomy for millions of women.
The amendment previously gave equal rights to the mother and to the unborn. Let that sink in.
In 2012, a woman named Savita Halappanavar miscarried in an Irish hospital. She begged the doctors to terminate the pregnancy during the miscarriage, but she was denied this right by the hospital because there was a fetal heartbeat.
The miscarriage and the refusal of medical staff to terminate ended in Savita’s death in her own country. It was enough to make everyone collectively gasp in Ireland and her face soon became the symbol of Ireland’s Abortion Rights Campaign.
“A man is a man is a man is a man, always. A woman is sometimes equal to a fetus. Though there had been other women, of course, the case of Savita Halappanavar was the spark,” Artist Jesse Jones, who represented Ireland at last year’s Venice Biennale said.
People are becoming more aware of stories like Savita Halappanavar’s. They’re becoming more aware of a problem with existing abortion laws. Mindy Kaling posted a heartfelt tribute to her Facebook page saying,
“Savita Halappanavar died at 31 years old from a septic miscarriage, for no good reason. But now, because the wonderful people of Ireland have voted to repeal an archaic and deadly law, perhaps fewer women will suffer the same fate. Rest In Peace, Savita.”
This is the story of women taking back what should have never been taken: Our lives, our bodies, our rights. If you didn’t know Savita’s story, chances are it’s because you don’t live in Ireland. This issue extends far beyond that.
Our sisters across the Atlantic Ocean are pushing for further change in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, some states in the U.S. are going in the opposite direction.
Iowa recently passed a bill that has now become the nation’s most restrictive ban on abortion. The bill was called the “heartbeat bill” because it will ban doctors from performing terminations if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
According to CNN, “In many cases, that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they’re expecting.”
Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on May 4th, 2018.
According to NPR, Reynolds had this to say, “I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court. However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life.”
If this ban is about life, shouldn’t women’s lives matter? This ban is blatantly unconstitutional. It tells Iowa women that their healthcare and bodily autonomy are meaningless.
Erin Davison-Rippey, public affairs director of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa had this among other things to say, “If these lawmakers really wanted to decrease the need for abortion, they would work to increase access to birth control. Instead, they’ve decimated access to family planning because it is not about reducing abortion; it is about oppressing women and catering to a small, extreme interest group.”
A man is a man is a man. Period. But women’s health, women’s rights and women’s bodies mean nothing to these lawmakers who happily invite a lawsuit.
“They do not care how much taxpayer money will be spent on a lawsuit, they don’t care how many women’s lives will be damaged because of inadequate access to care,” Davidson-Rippey said.
The American Civil Liberties Union has announced their intention to sue with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Iowa lawmakers do not know Savita Halappanavar’s name or story. They make it a point to ignore women going through such crises. They make it a point to force women into similar situations. It’s sad to say we’ve been fighting lawmakers and bills like this for too long.
Needless to say, we’re angry and we’re fed up with it. It’s time to take a note from Ireland and reclaim our bodily autonomy.
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