Tuesday 26 September 2017

Irish woman (24) who travelled to UK for abortion: 'I don't deserve to be treated as a criminal'

Tara and Steve on the BBC Three documentary
Tara and Steve on the BBC Three documentary "Abortion: Ireland's Guilty Secret?"

Geraldine Gittens

A young Irish woman has spoken of the trauma she endured by travelling to the UK for an abortion.

Cork woman Tara (24) has told how she and her partner Steve felt they had no choice but to travel eight hours - almost 590 kilometres - to an abortion clinic in west London.

Tara, who does not give her surname, appears in a BBC Three documentary "Abortion: Ireland's Guilty Secret?" to tell her story and why she’s pro-choice.

Under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, it is an offence to "intentionally destroy unborn human life" and those found guilty face a maximum jail term of 14 years.

Tara, who had an abortion because she wanted to travel and she wasn’t yet ready, tells reporter Alys Harte that the Government here is “ignoring” her right to choice.

“I’m really angry. I’m angry that they are ignoring women basically at the moment.”

“They shouldn’t have control over my uterus. I deserve that choice and it was taken away from me by my Government.”

“You deserve to be treated as a human and not as a criminal more than anything else,” she said.

The stress of travelling abroad to have an abortion was “not really pleasant”, Tara added.

“This could’ve been so simple. This could’ve been something I could’ve done two weeks ago basically when I found out.”

 “It’s not really pleasant for anyone to have to go through the fact that you have to leave home and fly across the water and do something that is such a simple procedure. It definitely adds to the stress of it.”

Tara is one of around 4,000 Irish women who travel to the UK every year for abortions because it is illegal to do so in Ireland.

The country's abortion laws will be the subject of a special report this year by Amnesty International.

Ireland is one of five countries chosen by Amnesty as "emblematic of global abuses of sexual and reproductive rights".

The report aims to include testimonies from Irish women who have had abortions and explore issues such as the "prohibitive" high cost of travel, particularly for young women and socio-economically marginalised groups such as asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and Travellers.

The criminalisation of termination of pregnancy which results from rape, incest or sexual violence will also be reviewed as part of the My Body My Rights Campaign.

Tara claims that Ireland is behind its other Western counterparts on the abortion issue.

“The rest of the world can see that this is wrong but we’re in a western society and yet it hasn’t changed yet.”

The documentary also explores the claim that customs officers seized 1,000 abortion pills destined for Irish women last year.

"Abortion: Ireland's Guilty Secret?" will be shown on BBC Three tomorrow at 9pm.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News