Monday 27 February 2017

Importing these pills is a million miles from the 'Condom Train'

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Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Pro Choice activist Aoibheann McShane from Ashtown taking an abortion pill bought from Belfast after bringing back abortion pills denied to women in the Republic of Ireland at Connolly Station, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Pro Choice activist Aoibheann McShane from Ashtown taking an abortion pill bought from Belfast after bringing back abortion pills denied to women in the Republic of Ireland at Connolly Station, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Anyone who compares the idea of importing abortion pills from Northern Ireland into the Republic with the famous "condom train" of 1971 is making what philosophers call a "category error".

Even before the ethics of this stunt are considered, there is an important fact to bear in mind: there is a major difference between a piece of vulcanised rubber and a gynaecological operation.

When, in 1971, we in the Irish Women's Liberation Movement, took a train to Belfast and returned with "birth control artefacts" (which, in practice, means condoms and spermicides), it was done as a gesture to illustrate the point that the 1935 Act banning the said "birth control artefacts" was by then regarded as an archaic law.

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