By Connor Kelly
Witch Burnings in Belfast
A Belfast woman has been handed a suspended prison sentence for the crime of being too poor to travel to England for an abortion. This is the long and short of it. It not being sufficient to make the woman’s life miserable by having her travel to Liverpool and pay for a termination on the NHS, it was deemed appropriate to punish her for not having the means to do so. This is how the Northern State treats women. If you are unlucky enough to have been born a woman, you should expect punishment, and be thankful for it too.
What is worse is an article cynically published by the Belfast Telegraph telling the sob-story of the two housemates who ratted the woman into the police. How traumatized they were! What an injustice had been done to them! “Housemates tell of shocking scenes,” ran the headline. They claimed they were being “vilified.” And why should these good and honest God-fearing citizens be vilified for the mere fact that they shopped their housemate into the police? By God, they were practically doing her a favour!
What is most interesting, and sickening, about this article are the statements of the two housemates themselves attempting to justify what they had done. They claim that they did what they did, not out of a sense of legal obligation (abortion being illegal on the whole island of Ireland) but out of their disgust at the way the woman was behaving. One claims, “This is about her attitude. It was as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing,” and going on to say, “There was absolutely no remorse. Even the way she was up and away out and doing her own thing a day after the abortion, while me and our other house-mate just walked around in shock.”
So here we have the crux of the issue. The woman did not feel sufficiently guilty for inducing her abortion. She should have been weeping and rocking in a corner wrecked with the shame of it all. And these fine upstanding citizens – merely doing what anyone in their situation would have done! – felt that they simply must induce a trauma otherwise absent in this woman. For her suffering was the only way to save her soul. So they called the police.
The perverted sadism of this is as disgusting as it is revealing about the psychology of the pro-life movement. Essentially a form of religious fanaticism, at its base it believes that women must be made to suffer, that somehow, this is their duty. They should suffer by being forced to bear a child that they do not want, that may even be damaging to their health. If they have an abortion they should suffer a deep sense of shame over the act and be shunned by their peers. Suffering if you do, suffering if you don’t. There is no place in the pro-life movement for women throwing off the centuries old muck of shame and declaring their right to control their own bodies, in confidence and pride.
Women and men in Northern Ireland need to rise up and once and for all smash the bigoted, sexist, homophobic and sectarian regime that governs us. Demonstrations will be taking place across these islands on Saturday in support of the woman concerned – attend one in your town, and if there isn’t one, organise it.
In the name of God and of the dead generations….
Meanwhile in our glorious southern republic, history has entered a sort of ironic bubble from which it can’t escape. The 1916 commemorations, still in full swing, are reaching truly preposterous heights. The wall of remembrance for the martyrs of 1916 at Glasnevin cemetery is a work of satire worthy of the Savage Eye. Not being content to piss on the graves of Connolly et al by selling the very republic they fought for from under the feet of the nation, the powers-that-be proclaim that the imperialist British dead must commemorated equally with those who sought to throw off the yoke of empire.
Perhaps there should be special commemorations for the Black and Tans’ role during the War of Independence, or better still, commemorations to the British Paratroopers placed throughout Derry. The circle is completed, the Republic is a farce.
This drift into a parallel universe is not new. After all, what right does the Irish state have to commemorate the Glory Days of 1916 when they gave up claim to the Northern part of Ireland and bought into the “the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.” What right does an Irish state which denies women control over the own bodies have to commemorate the Proclamation of the Republic which clearly grants, “equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation.”
If we want to remember the spirit of 1916, the best way to do so is to rise up and smash the Irish state to pieces, and resolve to institute the radical programme of the Proclamation and go about the formation of a 32 county socialist republic.