Alison Hackett on why she will be joining Saturday’s March for Choice in Dublin
When women have no access to abortion their lives are in danger (Emer O’Toole, 28 September); when women have some access to abortion (within a legal framework) they live in a safer world. I recommend Mike Leigh’s film Vera Drake, set in the 1950s. Abortion was available to women of means (doctors called it something else). Women at the bottom of the pile – destitute, sex workers, teenagers, raped – found compassion in an ordinary woman who would help them end their pregnancies when they found themselves facing a brick wall.
In 1916, after opening the first birth control clinic in the US, Margaret Sanger was arrested for distributing information on contraception. For women to have a more equal footing in society Sanger believed they needed to lead healthier lives and be able to choose when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent, as far as possible, so called back-alley abortions. Sanger’s parents were Irish born. Her father, Michael H Higgins, was a Catholic who became an atheist and activist for women’s suffrage. Her mother, Anne Purcell Higgins, went through 18 pregnancies (11 live births) in 22 years before dying at the age of 49. I will be joining Dublin’s 6th Annual March for Choice this Saturday. Our voices will be heard.
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