Fuming with anger: on Irish political cowardice

I have just watched the video attached to this Guardian article about the increase in Irish women seeking help for abortions abroad, and I am beyond myself with anger, frustration and disbelief. I know that this is what happens in Ireland; I know that it’s inhumane and barbaric yet allowed to go on, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget, and then an article like this comes along and I feel like taking the next ferry over to Dublin and knock on the door of every Fine Gael and Labour TD and tell them about Oliver and show them that there is no sense, no reason, no high-held religious principle that can justify what goes on. I want every woman and every couple to have the right to free abortion with no questions asked, and I know that...

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Let’s talk about having it all

There’s a debate on twitter at the moment around the hashtag #havingitall: about the women who want to have it all, and about whether or not they can. It’s funny how the having-it-all discussion gets stuck at greedy, career-hungry women who are stupid enough to think that they can do well professionally, lead a good life, and have a family at the same time. No one talks about the greedy, career-hungry men who are stupid enough to think the same thing. And, much more annoyingly, no one gets that, really, the discussion we should be having is about choice as opposed to greed. Can women really have it all?, people ask. How about we change that to: Why can’t women choose from it all? Or, even better: Who’s allowed to choose what...

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Is choice still choice with strings attached?

According to the documentary The Right Child [Det rätta barnet], which was broadcast on Swedish television recently, a prenatal screening programme in Denmark has started a trend which, if it continues, will lead to no more babies being born with Down’s syndrome. With more advanced screening technology, more and more parents are choosing to terminate pregnancies when the condition is diagnosed. In a leader editorial about the documentary, Hanne Kjöller raises her concerns for the kind of society prenatal diagnostic testing creates. Highlighting that she is a pro-choice advocate, she asks what will happen when screening programmes that can detect autism in foetuses are introduced. How narrow can the perception of the perfect child...

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Baby on board – shout it from the rooftops!

“I like to think I’m a fairly tolerant person. I’m not, obviously, but I still like to think it. In truth, as I get older the list of things that disproportionately annoy me gets longer. Grammatical errors. Tourists who walk too slowly down busy London thoroughfares. Pregnant women who wear “Baby on board” badges when travelling on public transport. That kind of thing.” I read the first paragraph of Elizabeth Day’s column in The Observer last weekend and thought: I like her; she’s a bit like me. Because not only am I a notorious grammar stickler, but I used to think exactly that – in fact, I still feel a bit like that – about those stupid badges. Still today, I refuse to wear one. Despite finding out that the back pain...

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