LONDON A woman who live-tweeted her journey from the Republic of Ireland to Manchester, UK, to obtain an abortion has received an outpouring of support on social media from celebrities and members of the public.
The woman accompanied by a friend, and posting via the handle @TwoWomenTravel made the journey “in stern solidarity with all our Irish sisters who have gone before us”, according to one of their tweets.
Since Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion went into effect in 1983, an estimated 150,000 women have travelled abroad to have access tolegal abortion services; with many Irish women travelling to England to get access to services. Women who cannot afford to travel overseas for an abortion feel that they face no other choice than to purchase abortion pills online; a crime which carries a life sentence.
Their live-documentation of the experience prompted women to share their stories of travelling overseas for abortions, and instigated an outpouring of support from high profile people, including James Cordon, British MP Stella Creasy and singer Alison Moyet.
“Everyday at least 12 Irish women are exiled in the UK to procure an abortion. These women choose to have abortions, but they do not choose to be shamed into the secrecy, panic and guilt that the journey to leave their country inspires,” read a statement posted by the two women on Twitter.
According to the statement, the women wanted to share the “ordinariness” of travelling abroad for an abortion.
The women tagged Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in many of the tweets, thanking him for “exiling” women seeking abortions. Kenny recently warned that any attempts to reverse the ban on abortion would be defeated, and has previously refused to hold a referendum on Ireland’s abortion legislation.
While Kenny remained silent, Ireland’s Minister for Health thanked the women for tweeting their journey and for “telling the story of the reality which faces many.”
“We defy the Irish government to ignore us and we defy our Taoiseach Enda Kenny to avoid this conversation,” the statement continued.
The women’s tweets followed the journey from start to finish, beginning with the pair’s flight at 6am Saturday.
The women tweeted their experience of waiting “with bated breaths” in a waiting room.
Before they had to travel to another waiting room.
The women tweeted an image after the procedure, highlighting that many Irish women are still bleeding after their abortion when they make the return journey to Ireland.
Their tweets garnered moving messages of support and solidarity from members of the public.
Mashable has reached out to Kenny’s office for comment.