WHO WE ARE
Sligo Abortion Rights Campaign was set up in August 2015 and is a regional member of the National Abortion Rights Campaign and the Coalition to Repeal the 8th. The group was set up to respond to the overwhelming need for a local, rural and non partisan campaign group to Repeal the 8th amendment, to campaign for free safe and legal abortion in Ireland and to give a voice to people who have had abortions from Sligo. We say free as part of our already free maternity care scheme and for those who can least afford it, safe because when abortion is illegal it leads to unsafe abortion and death, legal because 14 years in prison is unacceptable and a gross abuse of human rights, any prison sentence is unacceptable and we call for full decriminalisation.
The group meets monthly for members in the Sligo Rape Crisis Centre, we also hold open meetings for new /interested members in various venues. We run a monthly information stall in Sligo town, where we provide factual information on the repeal the 8th campaign and get signatures for our national petition. We write articles, press statements and give radio interviews to local press around the Northwest and do creative actions to highlight the repeal the 8 th Campaign in the Northwest. We also work with pro choice groups nationally and elsewhere to highlight the campaign and Ireland’s need to come in with line with international basic human rights standards. We have marched for the past two years in the Annual March for choice which is organised by our National Campaign and also in 2016 attended Rally for Choice in Belfast in solidarity with Alliance for Choice who organise the event and with pro Choice campaigners from North and other parts of the country also campaigning for their rights.
WHY REPEAL IS IMPORTANT
In 2015, 38 women left Sligo for an abortion; this does not take into account the number of women who took abortion pills illegally. Some members of Sligo abortion rights campaign personally know what it is like to be these women and have made the journeys. As women from Sligo who have been forced to seek safe legal abortion in another country we all fully agree the effects of the 8th amendment and subsequent Irish Government’s actions have caused us extreme stress, hardship, mental torture and unnecessary financial expense. We absolutely do not wish for any other people or their families to go through this. We look towards a future Ireland where the choice made by a citizen about an unwanted pregnancy, can be made without being persecuted and treated like a criminal by our own politicians, governments and Taoiseach. We are not criminals or vessels.
WHY WE ARE PART OF THE COALITION
There has been a growing movement nationwide to Repeal the 8th , it is far from a Dublin based Campaign. The visible presence of pro choice groups all over the country can no longer be denied. We in Sligo ARC and other Northwest groups face specific barriers in campaigning due to our rural location, lack of public transport, lack of broadband and the fear of small town stigma. Being part of a Coalition gives us the opportunity to be part of a bigger picture, part of an important network of activists nationwide. Membership of the Coalition provides us with networking opportunities and the practical and moral support needed to overcome some of the challenges we face running a campaign for abortion rights in rural Ireland.