Tag: Feminists

Huge Turn up for the Repeal the 8th Rally in Cork

Cork residents gathered outside the City’s Grand Parade Library to demand the legalization of abortion this afternoon.

Cork Library Grand Parade Repeal the 8th
Repeal the 8th Rally in Cork City

The event which lasted for two hours included a march from Grand Parade to Parnell Place, Patrick’s Street and back. Speakers from various organizations also spoke to protesters.

Cork Abortion Rights Rally
Cork People Mach for Abortion Rights

Union of Students in Ireland President, Annie Hoey, was the first talker of the event. Hoey compared today’s protest to marriage referendum protests in Cork and said:” We do not need to call for a referendum anymore, we are having a referendum.”

Annie Hoey Cork Abortion Rally Mick Barry
Annie Hoey President of Student Union in Cork Speaks to the Crowd

Hoey encouraged everyone to get registered to vote in the long-awaited 8th Amendment referendum.

Abortion Rally Students Cork UCC
Students Showed up in Large Numbers

Liz Madden of Cork Feminista was the second speaker of the protest. “ Statistic from the U.K. Government shows that 3000 Irish women have traveled to the UK to access abortion,” said Madden to the crowd. Madden counted poverty, being underage, being in unhealthy relationships, dealing with mental issues as some of the reasons for why women are willing to travel to the United Kingdom to access abortion. “There are many reasons why women want to have an abortion, and it’s not even our place to ask,” added Madden.

Actress, comedian, and writer Tara Flynn also spoke to the crowd. Flynn said that since her experience with abortion (having to travel to Netherlands to access abortion) she has become involved in this campaign.

 Tara Flynn Cork Abortion Rights Rally
Actress Tara Flynn Speaks to the Pro-Choice Crowd

“Anti-choice rhetoric has had the floor all to itself. That’s why we need to let people know what exactly pro-choice means. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is pro-facts, pro-reality, and pro-kindness. It is pro-pregnant people from every class and background,” added the Irish comedian.

Pro-life vs. Pro-choice Cork Face off
A Pro-Life Activists Crashes the Pro-Choice Rally

After the rally, more people spoke to the crowd including a South African asylum seeker who had traveled to Ireland while pregnant and was shocked to find out that abortion was illegal in the country. “ It was a huge culture shock for me because where I come from in South Africa, abortion is legal. It has been since 1994.”

South African immigrant pro choice cork
South African Immigrant and Pro-choice Activist Speaks to the Crowd

Eli Doliver from University College Cork’s feminist society was the last speaker of the gathering. “ The government fails the women who leave the country to seek medical help. Last year alone more than 3000 women went to England and Wales to access abortion. Doliver called the fact that Irish women have to travel to England to seek abortion “an international disgrace” for the country.

Eli Doliver Abortion Rights Rally Cork Library Grand Parade UCC Feminists
Eli Doliver of UCC Feminist Society Speaks to the Crowd

Pro-life activists also stood behind with their banners and displayed their objection throughout the event.

Pro life Christianity Virgin Mary
A Pro-Life Woman Holding a Picture of Virgin Mary

One Pro-life activist crashed the pro-choice rally and was trying to convince the protester that they are wrong. Abortion rights in Ireland were specially brought into the spotlight in 2015 and after the death of Savita Halappanavar. Halappanavar was a young dentist who died due to complications of a septic miscarriage after being denied an abortion.

Pro life Anti Abortion Activists Cork Ireland
Pro-Life Activists Stood behind the Whole time



Wind of Change: Abortion Rights Activists of Ireland Spread Hope in Cork

Abortion rights activists from all over Ireland, gathered round at Clarion Hotel Conference Room in Cork city today, to demand a repeal to the 8th amendment (the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution outlaws abortion in this country) and voice their frustrations over the growing rate of violence against women (a phenomenon that is also known as Femicide).

Abortion Rights Banner Ireland
Pro-Choice Banners were Everywhere to be Found in the Meeting

Polish, South Korean and Latin American Women Against Violence in Cork 

Ms. Inga Wojcik of Poland was the first speaker of the panel, she started her speech by remembering the abortion rights movement in Poland which inspired women in other parts of the world such as South Korea, Ireland and Latin America. She said that the massive Polish Anti Abortion Protest was mostly organized by Facebook groups , she described protesting such foreign notion to some people in Poland that some of them were wondering how does one even protest?

Polish Activist Inga Wojcik
Polish Activist Inga Wojcik Spoke of the Massive Pro-Choice Polish Protest with Pride in her Eyes

She said that although media portrayed the Polish protest as a massive victory but in her view nothing much has changed since. However she praised recent victories for women in places such as Turkey , in which a new bill which would allow rapists to marry their victims was repealed.

Ms. Melissa Lopez was the second speaker of the panel, who gave shocking statistics of women killed in Latin American Countries. She said that even though laws do exist that are seemingly in favor of women, but 98 percent of crimes against women remains unpunished.

Mexican Activist Melissa Lopez
Mexican Activist Melissa Lopez said that she Fears for the Life of her Family Members in Mexico

According to Ms. Lopez women of Latin American countries are constantly harassed in the streets , and even the current president of Mexico (where Ms. Lopez is originally from) makes sexist comments on TV. She gave examples of some empowering protests such as a protest that was organized for a 15 year old girl who was beaten up and killed by her boyfriend in Mexico. In the end she expressed her content of the recent rise in feminist movements by stating :” Women in Latin America , are finally starting to speak up.”

The third speaker of the panel was Ms. Hyewon Choe from South Korea , whose speech was also accompanied by slides and a video of the black protest in South Korea on 29th of October.

South Korean Activist Hyewon Choe
South Korean Activist Hyewon Choe Demanded an Stop to the Objectification of Women in South Korea and around the World

She described South Korean society as a misogynistic one and criticized objectification of women by South Korean media . She went as far as saying that South Korean media even objectifies little girls. She also blames such culture for the rise in the rates of women who undergo plastic surgery in South Korea, something that according to Ms. Choe has dubbed Seoul the Capital of plastic surgery.

She said the abortion rights protest of 29th of October in South Korea was hugely influenced by Polish Protest, she said that she was devastated to find out that she had left her own country to live in a better place such as Ireland, only to find out that abortion laws are even more restrict in her new country. At the end she spoke of hope and tangible progresses.

Male Feminists
Presence of Young Men in the Audience


The final speaker of the panel was Ms. Fiona Ryan, from Ireland Socialist party who describes herself as a “Socialist Feminist” . She started her speech by quoting David Quinn who is a key figure of the IONA institution in Ireland (Conservative Catholic Group), who had said :” If the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution would be repealed, the next step would be the rise of Socialists.” Something that Ms. Ryan described as a heartwarming truth. She said that the two major political parties in Ireland are not doing enough for pushing the abortion rights agenda, even those such as TD Kate O’Connell  of Fine Gael Party who seems to be pro-abortion does not support this cause in practice. Even members of the Sinn Fein Party who are pro-choice are saying that they only support abortion when it comes to pregnancies that might endange mother’s life. However she also spoke of slow progresses and hoped for a referendum on the Issue in 2018 (the year that Pope Francis is going to visit Ireland).

A Brief History of Abortion Rights in Ireland

Ireland is a country which follows United Kingdom policies on most issues but when it comes to abortion, Irish people have to go their British neighbor to abort their unwanted children. Years ago a teenager who threatened to kill herself if she wouldn’t get an abortion, made the judges to rule for an abortion in a decision known as the “Legislation X”, (the girl miscarried anyway). However, it did not happen in the case of Savita Halappanavar a 31-year-old woman whose life could’ve been saved if she would’ve been allowed an abortion.

Traveling to UK for Abortion
Irish Women have to Travel to England in order to get an Abortion

Activists in Ireland are pressing the government to repeal the 8th amendment, for many years, hopefully after the legalization of gay marriage, the time will come for this taboo to break as well.