anonymous asked:

what's your "activism burnout"?

Well I hope you like long stories because BOY
When I was 18 you couldn’t drag me away from a pro-choice rally. I volunteered as a steward for the one immediately after Savita’s passing. I went to every. single. event. I roared my lungs out, I shared more of that stuff on this blog even.

I vividly remember the day of that particular march in November 2012. It pissed rain. Everyone was freezing cold, soaked to the skin, I remember being so cold that I couldn’t steady my hands to text someone. I still can’t really take in just how many people showed up against the weather. Thousands and thousands of people marched from the Garden of Remembrance to Kildare street. I couldn’t even see the end of the crowd. We chanted, we chatted, we listened to speakers and cheered. Developing a cold, unable to hold a candle with the shivering, my throat sore from roaring, I thought that would all do something. I thought that those in power would feel some pinch of shame. I thought that nearly four years later we’d be in a much better place than we were.

I kept going to things, but I slowly burned out. I couldn’t handle it. I felt like I was walloping my head against a brick wall and that the government just wanted us to get bored and go away. A few people around me would occasionally pick the argument with me, some of whom have since understood the plight better since then, but it wore me down. My boyfriend at the time would start arguments with me, usually when I’d had a drink and more prone to being bothered, about everything from abortion to street harassment and tell me that it’s not as bad as I think. I didn’t have the energy anymore.

I feel able again. When I see people out campaigning, volunteering, it reminds me of why it all matters. I ran into some ROSA volunteers on Saturday at a Repeal bake sale and I remembered why I almost ran myself into the ground for the cause. Even in the face of defeat after defeat and insult and disrespect, people still fight. We still have to fight, because if we don’t, the pro-life lies win by default, and we risk losing any progress we’ve made.

We were deeply saddened to hear the news about Savita Halappanavar – a woman who died after being denied a life-saving abortion in Ireland. There are too many stories like Savita’s out there and many countries – other than Ireland – where abortion remains illegal.

Remember Savita and the importance of access to safe and legal abortion in the United States and around the world. Please share this in support.

This beautiful woman. This absolutely stunning, caring, compassionate woman made ONE mistake. She lived in a country where abortion was illegal across the board. 

As a result, her husband buried her. Her family buried their daughter, sister, niece, cousin. 

Because of a country where a fetus comes first, a woman’s safety after, she died. And that’s what antichoicers would have us be here in America. 

A nonviable fetus that was literally dying and poisoning this woman as it did, killed this woman. 

Look at her face. Look at this person. She was a person. She had a life and a husband. Their pregnancy was wanted, but the doctors told her the baby was dying. She was in pain. She died in pain and scared. Ending any chance for future children for her and her husband. Ending all the good she could’ve done in this world. 

When you say there’s no medical reason to terminate a pregnancy, I want you to come look at this life ended by that mentality. I want you to see this woman, not a uterus, not a walking incubator, but a woman. With hopes and dreams and passions. 

She is no longer here because of that sort of law. She is, sadly, the face of why your attempt at passing those laws will be met with strong opposition that swats you down every time. 

Look at her face. Did she deserve to die? 

Savita’s death is a reminder that no matter how far we think women have come, to some we simply are not people. Our lives are worth nothing, valuable only for our bodies and what they can provide men, the state, and the culture … But we are not nothing. Savita was not nothing. She was a person and she was loved—as we all are. If we want to honor Savita we cannot stand by while others enshrine women’s dehumanization through policy.
—  Jessica Valenti (read more)

The husband of Savita Halappanavar has said goodbye to Ireland.

Praveen Halappanavar, 32, who lost his wife and unborn child 18 months ago in controversial circumstances at University Hospital Galway, has been transferred to a new position with his employer in the US.

The engineer with medical devices manufacturer Boston Scientific recently finished up at the US firm’s Galway plant and is now based in Los Gatos, California.

Last year, he confirmed he had received hate mail telling him to leave the country, but stressed that Irish people had mostly been kind and supportive.

The “hurtful and abusive letters” had told him to “leave the country”, “mind his own business”, and to “clean the mess” in his native India, he told RTÉ Radio.

Mr Halappanavar is suing the HSE and his wife’s consultant obstetrician, Katherine Astbury, arising from her death on October 28, 2012.

In papers lodged with the High Court last September, the personal injury summons alleges that Ms Halappanavar’s constitutional right to life was breached. It outlines more than 30 issues of alleged negligence which it claims led to her death.

Mr Halappanavar came to Ireland to take up a position in 2007. A year later he married Savita, a 31-year-old dentist, also from India, and the couple set up home in Galway.

She became pregnant in 2012 and was admitted to the hospital on October 21. She was 17 weeks’ pregnant, but found to be miscarrying. On requesting a termination, she was told it would not be possible as there was still a foetal heartbeat and therefore, not permissible under Irish law. She died a week later, after miscarrying, and contracting E coli, leading to septic shock. (via Savita’s husband relocates to the US | Irish Examiner)

Ireland Doesn't Give A Fuck About Women: An Essay

I don’t know how many of you consider Ireland to be a glorious, quaint country of old, but I am here to destroy that well-meaning but poorly informed dream.

Here is the thing: Ireland doesn’t give a fuck about women.

Ireland is an incredibly racist and sexist country, and though this post will mostly concern itself with sexism, race continues to play a part in the treatment of women in Ireland to this day.

Ireland doesn’t give a fuck about women.

Let’s take a look at the Magdalene Laundries. These laundries were basically prisons for any woman who didn’t fit the social norm of the time. The impact and history of those homes are too big to get into here, but let me just say that we are still discovering the graves of women and children from the Church run homes for ‘wayward women’ around Ireland. And no one is treating it like a crime. That’s what kills me. It’s being treated like a historical find. If it was in someone’s back garden it would be a crime, but if it’s in the church’s garden its a quaint historical find, can someone explain that to me?

Ireland doesn’t give a fuck about women.

How about a look at symphysiotomy and how it was carried out in Ireland needlessly for years just to make sure the husband could still get his dick in there. (Seriously, Ireland even has its own Wikipedia entry under the heading). Last I heard, in March 2014, Survivors of Symphysiotomy made a complaint to the United Nations Committee Against Torture about the Irish State’s failure to properly, thoroughly or impartially investigate the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Ireland doesn’t give a fuck about women.

Ireland is still struggling against the hold of the Catholic Church. There is a complete ban on abortion -  at least, unless the life of the mother is in enough danger to warrant an abortion. But what constitutes 'enough danger’? The politicians nodded to each other smugly on reaching an acceptable compromise but never fleshed out the laws, so we’re left in the same situation we always were.

If the woman is suffering from a medical condition which means pregnancy may put her life at risk,  two different doctors who must both agree that her life is in danger. They must jointly certify that there is a real and substantial risk of loss of her life and that this risk can only be averted by a termination of pregnancy.

In the case where a woman is arguing that she is suicidal, she must appeal to three different doctors  – two psychiatrists and an obstetrician. They must all examine the woman and jointly decide that there is a risk to her life that can only be averted by a termination of the pregnancy, having regard to the need to preserve unborn human life.

It is illegal in Ireland to have an abortion in the case of lethal foetal abnormality. It is also illegal to carry out an abortion in cases of rape and incest. It is illegal for a doctor or a one-to-one counsellor to encourage or advocate an abortion in individual cases. It is also illegal for a doctor to make an appointment with a clinic on behalf of a pregnant woman.

Savita Halappanaver was a woman of Indian origin who was suffering miscarriage when she was 17 weeks pregnant. She requested an abortion but was told she couldn’t request such a thing because "it’s the law, this is a Catholic country.“ She died of septicaemia soon after.

Later in 2014 an immigrant woman in Ireland (Miss Y) came to public attention because she was unable to qualify for all the ridiculous hoops the government makes women jump through in order to qualify for an abortion and was forced to bear her rapist’s child. She attempted to take her own life, stopped eating and drinking, and an emergency High Court order was passed to forcibly hydrate her to keep the baby alive. Eventually, the Irish government ordered to have her forcibly undergo a Caesarian section, in invasive, serious operation, to give birth to a child she never agreed to having in the first place.

Are you getting why we’re angry? Is this giving you some indication of the bullshit?

Right now, as of 21/12/2014, an Irish woman who suffered a serious brain injury has been declared clinically dead. Her family want her put to rest. There’s one problem however: She is 17 weeks pregnant. She is being kept alive against her family’s will. At this painful time, her relatives must go to court to stop the Irish state treating their loved one’s body as ”a cadaveric incubator“.

Are you angry yet? Do you understand?

Ireland doesn’t give a fuck about women.

And on top of all of this, we have to put up with bullshit like this, where pasty white men scoff about our daily battles because it’s not Serious Business - and, obviously, only they get to decide exactly what Serious Business is. (Hint: It’s absolutely nothing we do or hold dear).

I don’t even know how to sum this up, except to say that I am tired, and I am angry.

No, I have passed anger. I am furious. Ireland doesn’t give a shit about women, and these cases will only keep coming until this country starts thinking about us as more than vessels for new life, or incubators for babies.

Were we ever the land we claimed to be? Were we ever the land of saints and scholars?

Those saints were all men, who wore the robes washed by women who were denied and used and denied again, women who never sought it but who felt the pure essence of holiness stronger than they ever would, with red raw fingers and smiling, cracked bleeding lips.

Those scholars spent their evenings hunched over dull print while women cleaned out the grates of their fireplaces and composed poetry in their minds to the dull glow of an ember beneath their fingertips, ground in coal dust bringing the sparkle of galaxies to the palms of their hands, the indelible reminder that they were bigger than all of this.

We have lost too many voices. This has gone on for far too long.

I am an Irish woman. And by god, I am furious.

You lose your rights basically when you are pregnant here I think. You lose your rights to get necessary healthcare. Savita and me, we knew that abortion was illegal in Ireland but not termination when it is a planned pregnancy, when you can’t save the baby and the mother may die if you don’t do something like terminate. That was big shock for us.
"This is a Catholic Country"

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I don’t know that I could be considered an activist of any sort on the subject of abortion; that would imply me being active, which I, for the most part, am not.  Yes, I did make a documentary on the subject but the truth is, since it is so deeply personal to me, I am exhausted by it and I just don’t have the energy for any crusades. If I could say I have any agenda it would be to de-stigmatize the experience and put a human face to it, which almost all debate on the subject fails to do.  In the United States, it is legal. It has different restrictions in different states, and women obtain them for many reasons.  Though I see many aspersions cast on this faceless group of people, from the Paul Ryan “no exceptions” types to the “I’m against it as a form of birth control” brigade (pro-tip: no one does that, because abortion is hellish, awful and expensive. Yes, yes, I know you heard of some woman in Florida who’s had thirteen abortions and counting, we all have.) and of course, “sluts”, we take for granted that Roe v. Wade has not been repealed and likely won’t be in the near future.

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I’ve seen a lot of Americans already spin Savita’s story and make it about us; this is not about us. Though it as an issue oft-debated here in America, this is not an American issue, it’s an Irish one.  I’m not Irish; I don’t even know if I’m part Irish. But when I was in college I fell into the Irish department and sort of adopted Ireland as a sort of de facto homeland; I studied there briefly, have travelled there several times since college. Especially easy now as the terrible economy has made it quite a cheap travel destination.  I’ve even flirted with the idea of ditching my native country for Ireland, as sometimes I find it less frustrating than my own, except on this one deeply troubling issue; abortion is completely illegal in Ireland.

I remember once talking about the subject to an ex of mine, who like Savita Halappanavar happened to be Hindu, and him refusing to believe that a country as affluent, wealthy and educated as Ireland would ban abortion in any case, even, ostensibly, for the life of the mother. Up until recently it was illegal to even leave the country to obtain one. Ireland has a higher per capita income and standard of living than we do (yes, even with the bad economy).  Their literacy rate is higher than ours, their poverty rate is lower, and yet this one issue puts Ireland in stark contrast with the rest of Europe, and even India, where abortion is legal and far less controversial (save gender-based abortion, which is both common (and illegal) in India, but that’s another issue.)

I’ve tried very hard to understand the anti-abortion mindset, and sometimes I feel like I can understand them from an objective standpoint but it still makes me ill when, at the end of the day, the potential life of a fetus is elevated above the life of the mother. That is some people’s prerogative, and I will never be able to understand it. This woman’s life was less important than the ceremony of allowing a dying fetus to expire naturally, and therein lies the tragedy of the law today in Ireland. In truth the Irish Supreme Court had legislated to prevent situations like these twenty years ago, but they have not been implemented it into law. Had they done so, this woman, who is neither an Irish native nor Catholic, would still be alive.

I think this person put it best:

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Here is an article on the subject by CBS.

Savita died three years ago today.
In that time we have
1) Exported 12000 people to England for healthcare.
2) Coerced a rape victim into a c-section
3) Sent the family of a clinically dead woman through the court system at Christmas
4) Held the threat of 14 years of jail over untold numbers of people who are too sick, too poor or too foreign to seek treatment abroad.
5) Failed utterly to address a serious problem with this country.
There’s an election soon. Every time a politician speaks you must *make them* address this issue.
Repeal the 8th amendment.
Irish Jury Confirms: Better Abortion Care Would Have Prevented Savita Halapannavar’s Tragic Death

Savita Halapannavar, the 31-year-old Indian woman who died after being denied an emergency abortion at a Catholic hospital in Ireland, sparked a national conversationabout the serious consequences of prohibiting women’s access to reproductive health care. Halapannavar’s husband maintains that her death could have been prevented if hospital officials had intervened earlier to terminate her non-viable fetus. Now, after a two-week review of the coroner’s report, that position has been confirmed by an Irish jury — which hasunanimously concluded that poor health care caused Halapannavar’s death.

Under Ireland’s total abortion ban, medical professionals are wary to provide abortion services even when women’s lives may be in danger. Even though the country amended its abortion ban in 1992 to include an exception in life-threatening situations, Irish hospitals don’t always know how far that medical exception can stretch. Doctors are wary of being prosecuted for murder even if they approve a termination for medical reasons.

That’s why Halapannavar’s doctors denied her repeated requests to quickly terminate her pregnancy once she began to miscarry. They weren’t sure it technically fell under the definition of a life-threatening medical emergency, so they required Halapannavar to extend her miscarriage over the next three days, until the fetal heartbeat finally stopped. It was only then that the hospital realized that Halapannavar had developed serious blood poisoning. She passed away three days later from organ failure.

The two-week fact-finding probe into Halapannavar’s case found that the hospital is to blame for failing to effectively diagnose and treat Halapannavar during her stay. During the inquest, the key expert witness — the former head of a major Dublin maternity hospital — said he was “confident” that Halappanavar’s death would have been averted if she had received an abortion one or two days earlier. He also criticized Ireland’s abortion law, explaining that since doctors can’t perform a termination “unless the woman looks like she is going to die,” the policy sets up a Catch-22 where it can already be too late to save the woman by the time doctors finally reach the conclusion that she is in danger.

After the eleven-person jury reached their verdict, the coroner commended Halapannavar’s husband for tirelessly protesting against his wife’s medical treatment. That activism, which helped spark international outrage around Ireland’s harsh abortion law, could actually spur a shift in the country’s policy. The Irish government has agreed to draft a law that will clarify the medical guidelines for legal abortion services — although conservative Catholics in the country are already mobilizing against the measure.

Halapannavar’s case is not unique to Ireland. Around the world, an estimated 47,000 women die each year because they lack access to safe, legal abortion care. Abortion opponents have successfully segregated abortion from the rest of health care, attempting to make the case that this type of reproductive service is somehow outside of the other routine medical treatment that women may require. But as Halapannavar’s tragic death demonstrates — and as a jury has now confirmed — abortion is an important aspect of women’s health care, and denying access to it has serious consequences.

When Religion Trumps Sound and Rational Medical Practice

Jill Filipovic of Feministe writes in The Guardian on Savita Halappanavar’s medically unnecessary death in an Irish Hospital after being repeatedly denied what could (and probably would) have been a life-saving abortion:

“This is a Catholic country,” was what Irish doctors told Savita Halappanavar after she learned she was miscarrying her pregnancy and asked for an abortion to avoid further complications. She spent three days in agonising pain, eventually shaking, vomiting and passing out. She again asked for an abortion and was refused, because the foetus still had a heartbeat.

Then she died.

She died of septicaemia and E Coli. She died after three and a half days of excruciating pain. She died after repeatedly begging for an end to the pregnancy that was poisoning her. Her death would have been avoided if she had been given an abortion when she asked for it – when it was clear she was miscarrying, and that non-intervention would put her at risk. But the foetus, which had no chance of survival, still had a heartbeat. Its right to life quite literally trumped hers.

US politicians and “pro-life” advocates like Joe Walsh will tell you that there are no circumstances under which women need abortions to avoid death or injury. The Republican platform doesn’t include an exception for medically necessary abortion. And the Republican party is trying to put laws similar to those in Ireland on the books in the United States – laws that would allow emergency room doctors to refuse to perform abortions, even in cases where the pregnant woman’s life or health depends on terminating the pregnancy. The GOP isn’t exactly the most science-friendly or fact-reliant crowd in the world, but to them, women like Savita either don’t exist or just don’t matter.

Savita's Laws

By this stage you’re probably all familiar with the upsetting and horrific story of Savita Halappanavar

2,000 people attended a vigil for Savita last Wednesday outside the Dáil.

20,000 people marched on Saturday to show their solidarity with Praveen, Savita’s husband, and demand that, after 20 years of waiting, Ireland needs legislation surrounding abortion. We need to make sure that there are no more uncertainties, no more confusion and that no more women* are ignored. 

There is another protest/vigil for Wednesday the 21st November at 6pm outside the Dáil, where we will protest for Savita’s Laws, for legislation on abortion in Ireland. And we will not be ignored. the facebook link is here where you can find more info about our aims and how we will pressure our government into making sure this NEVER happens again.

Please, if you give a damn about women, if you or someone you know is pregnant, if you have any ounce of humanity in you, come and support this cause, let your voice be heard. 

You can also follow #neveragain#savita and #repeal8thamendment on twitter. If you’re not in Ireland, these usually have info about international protests (usually outside Irish embassies). 

Protest. Write to your TDs. Make your voice be heard.

NEVER AGAIN will we let a woman* die because of our government's cowardice. NEVER AGAIN will we allow a woman* be denied her agency in her healthcare decisions.