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Michelle Hennessy/
abortion pill train

Pro-choice activists (and one TD) swallow abortion pills in Dublin

Around 30 women travelled to Belfast today to access the pills and bring them back.

Updated 23.05pm

PRO CHOICE ACTIVISTS today travelled from Dublin to Belfast by train and back again, bringing packs of abortion pills, not available in the Irish state, back with them to swallow.

The stunt is aimed at highlighting the need for a repeal of the 8th Amendment and at showing that these pills are a safe option for women.

Around 30 activists and four pro-choice TDs arrived back at Dublin’s Connolly Station this afternoon chanting “Our bodies, our choice” and “Not the Church, not the State, women must decide their fate”.

Among those who swallowed the mifepristone pills was Anti Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger who quipped afterwards: “I haven’t died yet”.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

The 8th Amendment, which was added to the Constitution in the 1983, says that the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and guarantees to defend this, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.

“We should be able to go to our own GPs, to have a discussion with them and get this prescribed. We don’t need a Tribunal, we don’t need an avalanche of doctors, Coppinger commented. “This is a pill that’s been deemed safe by the World Health Organisation and it is also very cheap – €90 online, as opposed to forcing working class women, migrant women and poor women who don’t have money, who don’t have freedom to travel, and closing off this option to them. ”

Rita Harrold of pro-choice group ROSA told supporters outside the train station that thousands of women are forced to make a difficult and expensive journey to abortion clinics in England.

Women had to break the law in the 1970s in the fight for basic healthcare in the form of contraception. A lifetime has passed for some of us since the X-case, it’s two years on from Savita’s tragic death and still someone as vulnerable as Miss Y, who could have safely and simply had an early medical abortion, is brutalised by the 8th Amendment.

Sinead Kennedy of Action for Choice said today’s action is about highlighting how organisations like Women on Web, which helps women gain access to these pills, can provide women living in Ireland with access to safe abortion.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

Through this organisation, the pills are prescribed by pro-choice doctors after the pregnant woman has filled out a form about her medical situation and health.

“Control of one’s fertility, through access to safe abortion, is an integral part of a woman’s right to health and equality,” said Kennedy. “Women living in Ireland must be entitled to make decisions about their own bodies and their own futures. Anything less than access to free, and safe abortion in Ireland is a violation of the fundamentals of what it is to be a human being.”

Activists are calling for a referendum on repealing the amendment to be held on the same day as the Marriage Equality Referendum in Spring 2015.

Read: Socialist TDs call for ‘medieval’ 8th Amendment to be removed from Constitution>

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