LONDON In the Republic of Ireland, a constitutional ban on abortion means that only women whose pregnancies put their lives at risk can have access to safe, legal abortion services.
For other women in Ireland seeking to terminate a pregnancy, the outlook is markedly different, with many women travelling abroad or turning to methods of self-abortion.Since the8th Amendmentwent into effect in 1983 introducing a ban on abortion an estimated 150,000 women have travelled abroad to have access tolegal abortion services.
On Thursday, 11 Irish women who have accessed abortion services outside of Ireland have published their portraits online to call on Ireland’s newly elected government to call a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.
The #facethe8th project forms part of X-ile Project’s existing photo series which launched in December 2015 with an aim to challenge the stigma surrounding abortion, and to create a space for women to discuss their abortion experiences. Now, the project seeks to put pressure on Ireland’s government following the election in March.
“X-ile Project calls on the new Irish government to address the urgent need to change the current draconian abortion laws and to call a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment,” reads a statement from X-ile Project.
“Our new release of photographs will add to the ever-increasing pressure and demand for politicians to act responsibly on this issue and to help create a more progressive Ireland where women are heard, respected, trusted and valued,” the statement continued.
This comes as a UN report published Thursday found that a woman in Ireland who “was forced to choose between carrying her foetus to term, knowing it would not survive, or seeking an abortion abroad” was “discrimination and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as a result of Ireland’s abortion ban.
The report also stated that Ireland is “obliged” to provide “adequate compensation and psychological treatment” to the woman in question following after she was forced to travel to the UK to have an abortion.
In the report, UN experts called on Ireland’s government to amend its law on abortion and if necessary its constitution, to allow “timely and accessibleprocedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland.”
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