LONDON An Irish couple is live tweeting their journey as the anonymous pair travels across the Irish Sea to get an abortion in England.
The couple began tweeting in the early hours of Thursday morning as they set off in a taxi to the airport in Ireland, and will be posting updates throughout the day.
In the Republic of Ireland, a constitutional ban on abortion means that only women whose pregnancies put their lives at risk can have access to safe, legal abortion services. This constitutional ban means that abortion is not permitted in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities. In July, the Irish parliament blocked a bill that would have allowed abortions to take place in Irish hospitals in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.
The couple explained in a tweet their joy to discover the two were expecting a child “after many attempts”.
However, joy soon turned to sorrow when a fatal foetal abnormality was discovered during a genetic screening test.
“We had never heard of Edwards’ syndrome before but we were told even if carried to full term the period of life would be counted in minutes and hours after birth,” read a tweet posted by the couple.
The husband and wife explained that their first child was born with a genetic condition that resulted in many months spent in hospital and will have to continue to do so for the “foreseeable future”.
“It is a crushing sentence for any person to to hear let alone for my wife who has had to give up her career to become a full time mom for our little boy,” the tweet continued.
“What should be a simple procedure that could be carried out 20 mins from home in a risk-free environment we are being forced to travel to the UK, leaving our child behind,” wrote the couple.
Explaining their decision to document their experience from start to finish on Thursday, the husband and wife said they hoped it would “enlighten those who do not want to listen or even allow the people of this country to decide for themselves” on the matter of abortion.
“Our government has continually kicked the can down the road and we the people must decide if we can allow this to happen. We hope that documenting our experience may help those that may have been through something similar or may be unfortunate enough to do so in the future,” the couple wrote.
We have arrived. Forms filled in and shown to the waiting room that’s almost full. Deathly quiet only broken by some very familiar accents..
Heartbroken&Punished (@itstimetorepeal) November 10, 2016
Many Irish women seeking abortions due to fatal foetal abnormalities are forced to travel overseas to gain access to safe and legal abortion services.
However, this is not an option open to everyone. Women and girls seeking abortions who are unable to afford the travel fees and cost of paying for a private abortion are often left with no other choice than to illegally buy abortion pills online, a crime that carries a 14-year prison sentence.
Earlier this year, a UN report found that a woman in Ireland who “was forced to choose between carrying her foetus to term knowing it would not survive or seeking an abortion abroad” was “discrimination and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment” as a result of Ireland’s abortion ban.
“It’s hard for us. Imagine making this journey on your own like the thousands of women that made it before us and others that will have to,” tweeted the couple wrote while boarding a flight to Liverpool early Thursday morning.