In conjunction to celebrating the fearless Irish women who participated in the 1916 rising, Sinéad Burke of Minnie Melange challenged me and 14 other wonderful women to answer this question: What do I want my legacy to be?
Thank you Sinead.
“I’m fortunate enough to grow up in a society where education is available to me; as is a roof over my head, a safe environment to sleep at night, healthy food, loving family and friends, and a prosperous future. Yet as an Irish woman in 2016, I still don’t have freedom over my own body. This is something that i’ve never openly voiced my opinion on, yet it haunts me daily.
I am in no position medically, financially, mentally or physically to have a child. If I were to become pregnant however, I would be destined – like countless numbers of women before me – to make the lonely journey to England to have an unjust abortion.
Latest figures reveal that ten strong and courageous Irish women a day travelled to England and Wales in 2014 to endure this painful procedure because Ireland, our own country, abandoned them and deemed them as evildoers.
Because all of my vertebrae are fused together – as is my pelvis – there is physically no room for a baby to grow in my womb. In order for a foetus to develop my pelvis would need to be broken to allow my womb to expand. A woman’s spine naturally curves during pregnancy, but my spine lacks the flexibility required and could potentially break; leading to paralysis. If the child is fortunate to survive the birth, both the baby and I would be totally reliant on the care of someone else – and what kind of life is that?
As someone who comes from a religious up-bringing I can somewhat understand – although cannot sympathise with – the beliefs that abortions are wrong and sinful (albeit these are not my beliefs). But I can’t understand that those who believe that every child has a right to life should be brought into the world in circumstances that are not fit for a child; or the child’s mother.
What do I want my legacy to be? I want to stand with the countless number of fearless Irish women who are promoting active change in a country ruled by retrogression. To the women of the past, I commend you for the pain you experienced. To the women of the present, now is our time to rival for what is truly ours and to ensure that the future women of Ireland are protected, respected and granted a basic human right of choice.”