By ANN MONTAGUE
Women in Ireland are going on strike to protest the country’s ban on abortions.
In Ireland it is a crime to have an abortion, and the procedure carries a 14-year prison sentence. There are no exceptions for rape or incest or when the fetus cannot survive outside the womb due to a fatal abnormality. The abortion prohibition is contained in the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which states that the fetus has the same citizenship and rights as a pregnant woman.
The only way to remove a clause from the constitution is via a referendum calling for repeal, which then receives majority support. The Irish government agreed earlier to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment but has repeatedly failed to carry out its promise.
This women’s strike is not generalized around a number of women’s issues; it has only one demand. The statement of the organizers of “Strike 4 Repeal” state their demand clearly: “We are an ad hoc, non-affiliated group of activists, academics, artists and trade unionists preparing a nationwide Strike For Repeal on the eighth of March 2017. Our demand is that the Irish government call a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment by the 8th of March. If not, Ireland will strike.”
They are also asking people to wear black to remember the women who have died because of illegal abortions.
This strike comes after the victory in October, when the women in Poland went on strike to oppose an anti-abortion law being considered by the Conservative government. The law was withdrawn.
The women in Ireland will not be alone as they strike on March 8. Women in countries around the world will be marking International Women’s Day with strike action. Currently, there are 25 countries in which women are organizing strikes—including the United States, as well as Russia, South Korea, Australia, Turkey, and other countries in Europe and Central and South America.