Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Open Letter to Lucinda Creighton

Open Letter to Lucida Creighton:

Dear Ms. Creighton,

As a non-national resident of Ireland, I do, as you recommend, reflect on the privilege I enjoy every day in this country, particularly as an educated caucasian woman with a loving husband. But when you use that collective "we," you assume that every woman in Ireland is like you. A short walk around Dublin will prove otherwise. Women in poverty, migrant women, asylum seekers, women in abusive relationships being controlled by their partners, and women too ill to travel live here too. Is it not the duty of us privileged people to ensure that they have the same access to their rights as we do?

You mention that we live in a "free" society here in Ireland while simultaneously trying to argue that women shouldn't be allowed to have bodily autonomy, which in my opinion is the most basic human right there is.

Furthermore, I am disappointed that you felt the need to claim you have "no respect" for the "hysterical" opinions of Olivia O'Leary in such a public manner, claiming her arguments are not rational. These are the exact ways in which patriarchy has been characterising women's opinions as invalid for centuries. To accuse another woman of hysteria rings of self-hatred and serves to give the world permission to dismiss vocal women, including yourself. How can you "respect the right of everyone to speak freely and honestly" immediately after you've just said you have no respect for someone else's honest opinion?

I myself have been trying to conceive a child for nearly two years. However, I would never allow my experiences with infertility colour my views on how other women view their pregnancies. Your implication that because some women can't become pregnant, women who are pregnant need to carry those pregnancies to term is slightly outrageous, particularly since adoption laws in Ireland are so restrictive. If a disabled person can't run, she doesn't demand that all able people should take up running.

But perhaps the most alarming statements in your blog are about late term abortions. You and I both know that the overwhelming number abortions happen in very early stages. I believe your misleading comment comparing late term abortions to premature births was meant to whip up people's emotions. I suppose that's what politicians do. But it doesn't reflect the rationality you claim to own. We're supposed to be talking about the current proposed bill, which is supposed to put into place measures to save a pregnant woman's life. Conjuring up images of baby killing helps no one. It only makes you look like you don't understand the issues. Have you even bothered to read the Heads of Bill?

Women should be guaranteed effective acces to their right to termination when there is a risk to their lives. Suicide is a real risk to a person's life. I don't know if you have ever suffered from mental health issues, or if you have ever known someone who has committed suicide, but I do, and I feel strongly that a suicidal woman would not survive the scrutiny outlined in this proposed Bill. If a woman, to avoid this exploitive evaluation process, doesn't have the "privilege" of traveling for an abortion, she effectively hasn't been guaranteed her right.

Furthermore, criminalising women who self-induce abortions is unacceptable because it would result in women in medical crisis being afraid of seeking medical attention for fear of prison time. Did you know that the average prison sentence for a rapist is 5 years? A woman who is impregnated by her rapist who takes the abortion pill (which, by the way, can only be taken in the earliest stages of pregnancy) could spend more than twice the time in jail as her rapist. So instead of "protecting life," the Bill puts the health and lives of women who have self-induced abortions dangerously at risk.

We all get the privilege you feel, Ms. Creighton. You have shouted it from the rooftops. But to claim that Ireland is serving all its population to the best of its ability is frankly a false claim and makes you sound like you don't recognise others' experiences of living here which are vastly different to your own. I wonder, how can you be a representative of the people if you don't even acknowledge their realities?

Sincerely,
Angela Coraccio
Dublin

34 comments:

  1. Thank you for saying so eloquently what many, many of us are thinking! I desperately hope that my daughters will never have to suffer the ignominy of travelling to a foreign country in secret to avail themselves of basic healthcare, as I had to. We are none of us alone!

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  2. Fantastic post. Thanks for writing!

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  3. Hit the nail on the head :) Thanks for writing it! :)

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  4. Really really great post, agree with you 100%

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  5. Angela: Excellent letter. Certainly echoes my sentiments on the issue. Did you actually send it to Lucinda?

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    1. I'm glad it resonated with people. I definitely emailed it to Ms. Creighton this morning!

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  6. So well said. I hate the argument that because some women can't have babies, other women should be forced to have babies. So medieval. And the tough sentencing for abortion is utterly ridiculous.
    I think you also bring much needed attention to the fact that just because you don't have a vote here, doesn't mean you are any less affected by legislation. I often wonder how on earth asylum seekers deal with unwanted pregnancies.

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  7. Thanks for writing this - so calmly and intelligently put.

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  8. Brilliantly written piece. Massive thanks indeed

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  9. Brilliantly written.

    Brilliantly eloquent.

    And brilliantly powerful.

    Every politician in Ireland should read this letter.

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  10. thank you for this

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  11. Beautifully written, heartfelt, eloquent and accurate piece. I very much look forward to reading Deputy Cerighton's response.

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  12. Excellent letter. Thank you Angela.

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  13. Amazing post, and as an Irish person living in the UK, happy in the knowledge that I can choose when to carry a baby, I feel my heart sink every time I read the latest nonsense spewed be the likes of the por-life lobby. Why can't we vote to change the constitution I would like to know...

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  14. This woman should be in Government! Well said Angela. Xxx

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  15. well done, very nicely put!

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  16. Written very well Angela. Immediately got mad reading it though when I think of that god damn woman. It disgusts me that she can make comments very loosely and dis-respectfully. We should all take a leaf from your book and speak up.

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  17. Well said, intelligence, dignity and empathy emmient from this women!

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  18. Well done, you represented the views of the majority of women both Irish and 'non-nationals' ( I dislike that word) living here!
    Thank you.

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    1. Thank you - I dislike that word too!

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  19. Wonderful work and words, I hope all who find them truely hear them. You'd have my vote.

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  20. Very well said, I wish these people would stop playing politics with a woman's right to her anatomy and access to proper medical care. Criminalising self-induced abortions is absurd, facing down more time than a rapist for refusing to carry his child is a preposterous scenario.

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  21. LC is the most sanctimonious bird brained twat ever placed on this fair isle. Well said, and keep writing as this dialogue should never be closed.

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  22. excellent letter - you have shown LC for what she is a politician pandering to what she thinks is public opinion - criminalising self induced abortions will result in more women dying and that is unacceptable.

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  23. Wow! Well said.
    Women do not take the decision lightly. It's not like taking a pair of bloody shoes back to the bloody shop.
    I had a choice. I chose not to, but I know people who did. I respect their decision.

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  24. Such an intelligent, thougtful blog. Well done ... Personally, I don't think the hardline, unmoving and tunnel-vision view of Creighten can be altered, but I admire you for confronting and challenging her rhetoric. Well done.

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  25. Such a great piece of writing. I don't understand how Women can be treated so badly by the Irish government. Women have no rights over there own body? Why? If anyone hasn't read "One Dimensional Women" by Nina Power, it's an amazing piece of writing. But it's sad, so sad that we are letting our own human rights be taken away from us so willingly and fighting against each other instead of trying to understand and support.

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  26. Well said, you obviously speak from the heart and with honesty something which is lacking from FG antichoice faction which is driven by relegious dogma.

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  27. Fantastic piece, well done and thank you!

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  28. Well done on this article and for sending it through.

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