In a public act of defiance, two Irish women live tweeted their abortion pilgrimage last weekend from Ireland to Manchester, England through the Twitter account @TwoWomenTravel.
Abortion has been illegal in the Republic of Ireland since the 1983 constitutional ban on abortion was passed with the 8th amendment. In the U.K., abortions are typically granted for pregnancies up to 24 weeks, with further restrictions on later-term abortions. The issue of abortion in Ireland has been a hotly contested one, especially since the 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion even though the pregnancy put her life at risk. The country’s current Prime Minister Enda Kenny has stood by the 8th amendment.
An estimated 150,000 Irish women have sought abortion services outside their country since the ban.
The two women started their journey on Friday, August 19 by tweeting a hand-written note. “We make this journey in stern solidarity with all our Irish sisters who have gone before us.” As they tweeted regular updates, they also called on Kenny to repeal the 8th amendment by tagging him in many of their tweets, reminding him of all of the women who have been “exiled” to different countries to get abortions.
The women documented the entirety of the experience, from boarding the flight out of Ireland to the drab waiting room to the post-procedural bleeding that will likely be familiar to many women who have experienced an abortion.
And even though the travels took place across the Atlantic, the women’s experience rings true for the many women in the U.S. who are stuck in states with horrendous abortion restrictions and diminishing access to reproductive health care.