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Róisín Ingle opens up about her abortion: 'I am not a bad person, I am not a murderer'

The Irish Times columnist said now is the time for her to share her experience with the world.

Updated 19.45pm 

IRISH TIMES COLUMNIST Róisín Ingle is no stranger to sharing experiences from her life with the world, from her family, children and troubles with her boyfriend.

Today she opened up about one aspect of her life she has kept secret for over 15 years and she is being praised for it.

Writing in the newspaper today, Ingle speaks out about having an abortion in her late 20s.

She says it was the one topic she stopped herself writing about over the years.

‘What I had done was the right decision for me’

Was I ashamed of it? No. Was I embarrassed? Not at all. Did I feel I’d done something wrong? Quite the opposite. What I had done was the right decision for me.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show, Ingle recounted her story.

Having just come out of a marriage she said she “wasn’t in the best place”.

“I was distracting myself by drinking and going out, enjoying myself… I was trying to get happy again.”

She said she had a one night stand and found out she was pregnant.

“I knew immediately I didn’t want to be pregnant.”

She met up with the man she had slept with in Bewleys and talked to him about what they should do. He was on the same page as her – he wasn’t ready for that in his life.

Travelling to London 

He gave her half the money and she travelled to London with a friend to have the abortion.

Ingle said she felt the time was right now to share her story.

She said she is often asked if there is something she wouldn’t write about.

“Every time someone asks me is there something I would never write about that word, abortion, comes into my head because around 15 years ago I had an abortion.”

Having spent the last number of years “censoring” herself on the issue, she said recently it started to spill out of her.

Influenced by the same sex marriage referendum, where many personal stories were shared in the public domain about what it meant to individuals, Ingle said it is time to hear those personal stories in the abortion conversation.

The discussion around the issue has been “a very abstract one”, she said.

She said people never hear about people who made that decision.

No regrets 

“I have absolutely no regrets,” she said. “It was the right thing to do for me.”

“I didn’t want to censors myself… the only thing stopping me from writing about it was what other people would think.”

She said that it is time to “stand up and talk about it”.

The issue of abortion is very difficult for people, said Ingle. She understands that by telling her story she could be isolating some of her readers.

“I know smoke will be coming out of peoples’ ears… I know what I did was right for me.”

Her hope is to make the conversation “real” by hearing from women like her.

Acknowledging that it is a deeply private matter, she said she is fortunate to have a platform to share her experience.

However, she said she didn’t do so without consulting with her mother, who she said was concerned about her opening up about the subject.

While the majority of the reaction to her story has been positive, she has received some abusive comments.

“If  you are anti-choice I don’t think hearing from me is going to change that.”

“I am not a bad person, I am not a murderer,” she said. She said she understands some people will think she is.

“The only thing I can do is tell my story.”

The reaction to her article and interview has been for the most part, supportive:

First published 13.45pm

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