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2 Irish Women Live Tweeted Their Trip to Britain to Get an Abortion

Aug. 22, 2016

'Now in a waiting room, weighted by bated breaths'

Two women took to Twitter over the weekend to document their voyage from Ireland to Britain to have an abortion. The women created an anonymous Twitter handle called TwoWomenTravel to speak out against Ireland’s abortion ban. Of the two women, one needed an abortion and the other was a supportive friend, The Washington Post reports.

Ireland’s Eighth Amendment equates the life of fetus to that of the mother. The women, who remain anonymous, called out Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny in every single tweet and used a photo of a “Repeal 8” logo as their Twitter profile picture.

The two women documented every step of the journey, from their flight, to the train ride to the clinic, to their plane ride home. The women emphasize the arduous process of getting to England, receiving the abortion, and then flying home.

The Post notes that Ireland, largely Catholic country, has one of the strictest abortion bans in all of the European Union. The only time a woman can have an abortion in Ireland is if the mother’s life is in danger. According to the UK Department of Health, over 3,000 women make the trip every year. Irish women also account for 66% of abortions for non-U.K. residents. The U.K. Department of Health also notes that between 1980 and 2015, over 165,000 Irish women have received abortions in Britain.

The United Nations’ human rights committee recently called out Ireland’s stringent abortion laws and advocated for the country to reform its abortion policies. In 2011, an Irish woman, Amanda Mellet, filed a complaint after she was forbidden from having an abortion even though her fetus was discovered to have congenital defects. On behalf of Mellet, The UN’s committee ruled that Ireland’s abortion policy subjected Mellet “to discrimination and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as a result of Ireland’s legal prohibition of abortion.” The Guardian says that the ruling by the United Nations was so important because “The judgment marks the first time that an international human rights committee has recognised that by criminalising abortion, a state has violated a woman’s human rights.”

Ireland’s abortion ban won’t stop TwoWomenTravel from speaking out and rallying support.