In yet another stunt designed to trivialise the abortion debate in Ireland and endanger the lives of women facing unplanned pregnancy, pro-choice activists have announced their plans to travel round the country again, handing out abortion pills.
Sadly, this is nothing new for ROSA, the group behind the stunt. In October 2015, they drove an “abortion pill bus” on another tour to promote the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, Ireland’s last remaining constitutional protection for unborn children.
A consultation space was provided on the bus where women who boarded were provided with a phone line to a representative of the group Women On Web – which is connected with the group Women On Waves. The organisers of Women On Waves sailed an “abortion boat” into Ireland back in 2002. Whipping up a huge media storm, they announced their intention to bring pregnant women out onto the board in the high seas and perform abortions there in a stunt fuelled by a desire for publicity rather than a concern for the health of the women involved.
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Last May, ROSA and Women On Web were at it again – this time flying a drone into Northern Ireland with the intention of dropping abortion pills, once again ignoring the warnings about these pills which are considered so dangerous enough to elicit that advice that they should not be taken without medical supervision – and of course, the risk to the woman is less than the risk to the unborn baby who loses his or her life in the process.
Given this history, pro-life supporters in Ireland will see this publicity tour as what it is – a stunt that places the health and safety of women second to media hype for the campaign to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws. No consideration will be given to the rights of the unborn child and no room for any discussion of the intrinsic worth and dignity of every human being.
At the end of the day, stunts like this offer nothing to the abortion debate in Ireland, which involves deeply sensitive and complex issues of how we support women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancies. Encouraging women to take dangerous pills without medical supervision is highly reckless. Ignoring the rights of her unborn child is inhumane. But neither of these things seems to trouble the members of ROSA. In their eyes, there is no such things as bad publicity when it comes to abortion. On that score, however, they are making a mistake. If stunts like this prove anything, it is that the organisers care nothing about the real needs of ordinary women, and that they have no credibility in the debate.