Tuesday 24 October 2017

'I had an abortion, I am not a murderer' - Róisín Ingle says it is time Ireland had a real conversation about abortion

Róisín Ingle telling her story today on RTÉ Radio 1 Credit: RTÉ
Róisín Ingle telling her story today on RTÉ Radio 1 Credit: RTÉ

David Kearns

Journalist Róisín Ingle says she has been overwhelmed by the positive response she has received after revealing she had an abortion.

The Irish Times columnist who is no stranger to sharing life experiences wrote today about traveling to London in her late 20s to have an abortion – an event she said she had kept secret for over 15 years.

“Over the years I’ve often been asked was there something I wouldn’t write about, and one that word would always come into my head – abortion.

“I’ve censored myself on that issue all these years but recently I started to realise that the timing was right – maybe the winds have changed but now I feel I can finally open up about it.”

Speaking to RTÉ Marian Finucane Show, Ms Ingle said she had no fears on how people who view her, saying that: “I am not a bad person, I am not a murderer.”

“If  you are anti-choice I don’t think hearing from me is going to change that.

“Was I ashamed of it? No. Was I embarrassed? Not at all. Did I feel I’d done something wrong? Quite the opposite. What I had done was the right decision for me.”

Based on the overwhelming positive reaction to her piece, Ms Ingle said she felt she had made the right decision to speak about her own experiences with abortion.

Influenced by the same sex marriage referendum, where many shared their personal stories about what it meant to them, Ms Ingle said it is time to hear “those personal stories in the abortion conversation”.

The discussion around the issue has been “a very abstract one”, she added.

“People never hear from those who made that decision.

“I didn’t want to censors myself… the only thing stopping me from writing about it was what other people would think… [but] now is the time to stand up and talk about it.”

Recounted her story to Marian Finucane, the Irish Times columnist said she had no regrets about her decision.

“I have absolutely no regrets… having just come out of a marriage I wasn’t in the best place.

“I was distracting myself by drinking and going out, enjoying myself… I was trying to get happy again.”

She said she had a one night stand and found out she was pregnant.

“I knew immediately I didn’t want to be pregnant.”

Meeting the man she had slept with in Bewleys, the pair talked about what they should do.

“He wasn’t ready for that in his life and neither was I,” she said.

“He gave me half the money and I travelled to London with a friend to have the abortion.

“I know there will be smoke coming out of peoples’ ears [but] I know what I did was right for me.”

Acknowledging that the issue of abortion is very difficult for people, Ms Ingle said she was fortunate to have a platform to share her experience.

Her hope, she said, was to make the conversation “real” by hearing from women like her.

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