Reproductive Health Matters

Migrant X is Not a Vessel: My Belly is Mine at the Irish Embassy

My Belly is Mine attended the protest yesterday evening outside the Irish Embassy in London. The protest was co-organized by Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A. and Abortion Rights East London to demonstrate against the barbaric treatment at the hands of the Irish Government of the woman known as Migrant X, a non-Irish citizen who was pregnant as a consequence of rape. According to reports, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons,  sought an abortion early this summer under a clause in the new Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, saying that she was suicidal.

The case was referred to a panel of three experts — an obstetrician and two psychiatrists. The psychiatrists determined that Migrant X had suicidal thoughts, but the obstetrician overruled their decision by stating the pregnancy was viable. The unnamed woman, who is only 18, went on hunger strike and was eventually forced to give birth via a caesarean section.

My Belly is Mine attended in solidarity with the women of Ireland and performed alongside activists Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A.

Speakers at the protest included: Jo Tacon from Abortion Rights East London, Mara Clarke from Abortion Support Network, Ann Rossiter from Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A., Mairead Enright from Lawyers for Choice, and Cristina Ríos from My Belly is Mine. Cristina spoke of the cooperation between Irish and Spanish prochoice activists in London historically and at present. Indeed, there was a strong presence of Spanish women in the crowd, mostly from the Spanish Women’s Assembly.

My Belly is Mine has signed the statement by Reproductive Health Matters, calling on the Irish Government to repeal the 8th Amendment and to replace the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act with a law that prioritises women’s health and rights.

Here are some photos by Luca Neve and by Heather Blockey of the protest. More photos and a video to come.

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Hanging Hangers on Hungerford Bridge

British pro-choice activists join international campaign against proposed Spanish anti-abortion law

Cristina addresses the crowd at the My Belly is Mine protest by Hungerford Bridge, Southbank on February 1st, 2014.

The 1st of February, trains departed from all over Spain carrying prochoice campaigners to Madrid. In London on the same day, the British prochoice activist group My Belly is Mine and its supporters travelled to Madrid ‘in spirit’ via a symbolic journey from Charing Cross Station to Waterloo East, and then met at 1pm on Hungerford Bridge. Supporters were encouraged to decorate coathangers, transforming them into symbols of protest which were then hung from Hungerford Bridge with a symbolic view over Houses of Parliament.

Over 250 people turned up, which is fantastic considering the My Belly is Mine campaign was founded less than a month ago. Speeches were made by Cristina Ríos founder of My Belly is Mine, Ann Rossiter from direct action feminist collective Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A. and Lisa Hallgarten of Reproductive Health Matters.

On Saturday 8th February,  ‘bellyhangers’ (as these decorated hangers are known) will be taken to the Spanish Embassy and presented as a gift to his Excellency. More action is planned in the months to come in conjunction with protests in Spain.