Ahead of the first public meeting of the Dail Committee on the 8th Amendment this Wednesday, in which the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly will be considered, two ‘Handmaids’ made an address in advance of their planned lobby.
As part of the campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment, the feminist-socialist group ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity), two 'handmaids' made a symbolic appearance outside the Dáil, to call on other ‘Handmaids’ to join up with the lobby on Wednesday.
“The Dail Committee on the 8th Amendment has it’s first couple of meetings and Handmaids are gathering to demand no retreat from the Citizen’s Assembly recommendations”, said the two spokespeople, Keisha Taylor and Aisling Grace of ROSA, both of whom were dressed in red robes and white headpieces, as worn in the novel, The Handmaid's Tale written by Margaret Atwood.
“We want to make a point," Taylor explained, that the Citizens Assembly was called and then delayed, but actually it came out in favour of really pro-choice recommendations, which is more than we hoped for or expected.”
“It goes to show that, when normal, ordinary people are given the correct information, they will come to this progressive position," Grace added. "Now, this committee wants to water these recommendations down. We want to put pressure on the committee, so that they listen to the people who have spoken, and give us a chance to vote.”
“We want to show that it is a women’s rights issue, as much as it is a health issue”, Taylor concluded.
Meanwhile, in a very bizarre development, which indicates the extreme lengths to which some anti-choice agitators are willing to go, Tim Jackson, a 26 year-old Donegal independent election candidate has declared that he will begin a hunger strike to persuade Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of the committee, to consider the anti-choice argument.
According to a statement, Jackson "will drink water and says the hunger strike will not be to the point of death." Asking Varadkar and Noone to watch footage of an abortion, before reaching a decision, Jackson claimed, "the government has no right to take away the right to life of innocent human beings."
"The rights of women are not being infringed upon, because they wouldn't have the right to kill."
"It's never necessary to kill a human being even if they're conceived during rape. If you're going to suggest the death penalty, normal rapists should have it, not innocent humans, not that I'm advocating the death penalty."
It is expected that a referendum on the Eight Amendment will take place before June 2018.
The Dail Committee on the Eight Amendment meets this Wednesday, with ROSA calling on 'Handmaids' to come out in support of the Citizens Assembly's recommendations at 1pm.