|Organisation:||Irish Women United|
|Issue:||Volume 1, Number 2|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
|Subjects:||International Tribunal on Crimes against Women, 1976|
Please note: The Irish Left Archive is provided as a non-commercial historical resource, open to all, and has reproduced this document as an accessible digital reference. Copyright remains with its original authors. If used on other sites, we would appreciate a link back and reference to the Irish Left Archive, in addition to the original creators. For re-publication, commercial, or other uses, please contact the original owners.
Many thanks to Cllr. Paul Mulville for forwarding this to the Archive. From 1976 this – the journal of Irishwoman United, is a very useful insight into the challenges that faced feminists both during the 1970s and long after. It also seems appropriate in light of the result this last weekend in regard to the 8th Amendment to consider a document that predates it and to see the range of issues, including abortion services provision, that were intrinsic to feminism in Ireland.
The publication contains a wide range of articles, including Crimes Against Women, A four section overview of The Family which considers The Patriarchal Family, the Suburban Family, the Rural Family and the Single Woman.
There’s a piece on ‘I’ve Started Another Pregnancy’ and another on Women in Other Countries.
The editorial notes that in 1951:
…the Catholic Church brought down a government which offered to provide free milk for babies up to six weeks after birth. The Mother and Child Scheme, devised by Noel Browne to provide pre and ante natal care for pregnant mothers, was seen by the Hierarchy as an evil state interference with the family.
And it continues:
Today, 25 years later the Church is proposing that the government provide, not just free milk, not just pre-natal care for the pregnant mother, but a wage which will support her and the unborn child from conception to birth. The Church’s shenanigans are designed to ensure that the Male Catholic Hierarchy keep control of the female body. Where 25 years ago they resisted State support married mother and child, they today advocate State support for the unmarried mother and child. Why?
Like King Canute they are trying to stem to the advancing tide. Women have asserted loudly and clearly a claim to control their own bodies, regardless of Church and State interference. This assertion takes two forms – the use contraception despite state laws against it – and the desperate recourse to abortion where contraception has failed or been unavailable. 10,000 Irish woman have gone to England to terminate pregnancy.
The Church’s answer is no longer ‘the wages of sin is eternal damnation’. The Church is now saying ‘the wages of sin is free milk and a petty State allowance’. Keep the woman pregnant at all costs, or minor cost to the State.
Irishwoman United say to the Church and Start -no offer of milk for unwanted children; no miserable wage for the unborn child.
We want free legal contraception now. We demand that all our children if and when we decide to have them, be born free.