The powers that be are in the Dark Ages. We want to move into the future
independent.co.uk, 31 May 2013 by Ruth Bowie
A nurse who wants an easing of Ireland’s draconian anti-abortion laws explains how she found the courage to take on the religious establishment
Growing up in Ireland, I never gave much thought to abortion or the lack thereof. I do, however, have a vivid memory of being a young teenager and coming across an extreme pro-life stand in the centre of Dublin, with horrific pictures of aborted foetuses. I was so enraged that I told the middle-aged man behind the stand how utterly insensitive he was, displaying these images when women may have been walking past who had lost their much-wanted baby from miscarriages or complications. Little did I know that I would go on to experience such a loss.
In the summer of 2009 I was newly married and pregnant with our first baby. My husband, Mike, and I were anticipating the most exciting time of our lives, but it turned out to be the worst. After two bleeds, I booked a private 12-week scan to reassure myself that things were going smoothly. Things were far from smooth.
Our nightmare began when we were told that our much-wanted baby would not survive. She had anencephaly, a condition that meant a large part of her skull and brain did not develop. This condition was labelled “incompatible with life” and, as a paediatric nurse I knew there was no hope.
We asked the consultant what we should do next and he replied: “You either continue with the pregnancy and your baby will die in utero or at birth – or you travel.”
“To travel” is an Irish euphemism for booking a cheap flight to England to obtain an abortion. Continuing with the pregnancy was not an option for us. I couldn’t contemplate another 28 weeks of carrying a baby that I knew had no chance of survival. I couldn’t imagine people watching my bump grow and asking well-meaning questions like, “Have you got your nursery ready?” What was I to reply?
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