Socialist Worker

LETTERS: The fight is on to repeal Ireland’s anti-abortion Eighth Amendment

Issue No. 2574

People Before Profit on the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday

People Before Profit on the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday (Pic: People Before Profit)


Irish women are still denied autonomy over their bodies and the right to choose.

This denial is encapsulated in the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, passed in 1983, which treats the rights of the foetus as equal to those of the woman. It bans all abortion.

This is because of Ireland’s past history of domination by the Catholic Church and decades of cowardice by the political establishment.

But Ireland has changed. There is now a new generation of young women, supported by young men, and many of the older generations who refuse to accept this oppression any longer.

In 2012 Savita Hallappanavar tragically died after a hospital refused her an abortion of a foetus that had no chance of survival.

Since then there has been a mass movement demanding repeal of the Eighth, a change which requires a referendum.

In an attempt to play for time, the government established a citizens’ assembly of 100 random individuals to consider evidence and make recommendations.

But to their surprise the recommendations of the assembly were for radical change.

Their recommendations and a mass movement have forced the Fine Gael government to concede the principle of a referendum next year.

Now the struggle is on for a referendum which allows repeal of the Eighth—without replacing it with new restrictions. And then to win that referendum.

There was a major March for Choice last Saturday.

Now it is a case of organising in every community and workplace.

We have to get the message out—our bodies, our choice, not the Church and not the state, women must decide their fate

Socialists have a major role to play in this inspiring movement which will build on the great victory in the marriage equality referendum.

Brid Smith, People Before Profit TD, Ireland


Labour should back 5 percent pay rise

After seven years of austerity, public sector workers have seen our pay fall in real terms by up to 20 percent.

In the PCS union we are about to launch an indicative ballot for strikes. The union is calling for a 5 percent pay rise. With inflation running at 3 percent this isn’t asking for much.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell say they would support public sector strikes over pay.

But it is very concerning to hear shadow education secretary Angela Rayner say Labour “will have to be responsible” about pay rises. She committed Labour to rises that match inflation.

The Tories say that 5 percent across the public sector would cost £9 billion. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka rightly described this as small change.

Labour has made many excellent promises.

One of them should be to immediately improve the standard of living of millions of public sector workers.

Pete Jackson, Birmingham


The left needs to get over the referendum in Scotland

Bob Fotheringham is inaccurate to say that Scottish Labour is against Trident “due to pressure from the Scottish National Party” (Socialist Worker, 20 September).

It has always been Scottish Labour’s position to oppose it. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the party becoming more autonomous mean this is now widely known.

Bob’s point that Scottish Labour is “in general terms to the right of Corbyn” is also debatable.

The Scottish Labour leadership contest is clearly about the left’s growing strength.

Kezia Dugdale resigned to make sure the right has a decent chance of making a leadership challenge.

But in many respects, right winger Anas Sarwar’s campaign had crashed and burned before it started.

He is an establishment member, unable to make the case for Corbyn’s agenda.

It’s also too simplistic to look at left wing candidate Richard Leonard just as former GMB union official.His programme is as radical as the Scottish Socialist Party’s one in 2003 Scottish parliament elections.

To keep saying that “Corbyn needs to back independence” ignores why we lost the referendum in 2014.

Bob is correct to say we have to “get people working together”.

But the starting point for this is to stop liquidating the wider movements into the permanent failure of Scottish independence.

Mark Porciani, Glasgow


Hefner did not bring liberation to women

The founder of Playboy magazine Hugh Hefner died last week.

On the morning of his death, commentators on ITV news were saying that what Hefner did led to the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s.

This is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard.

If Hefner and Playboy did anything, they normalised the oversexualisation and commodification of women and their bodies.

There is nothing revolutionary about living in a mansion with the women you commodify in your magazine.

It has fuelled the sleaziness of sexist men for decades.

With Hefner gone, hopefully what he represented will follow soon.

Andriana Sotiris, North London


AfD party’s mask slips

Alice E Weidel of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is sowing the seeds of ignorance, division, prejudice, discrimination, racial stigma and hatred.

Meet the new humdinger of German politics.

Emerging from behind a veil of middle class respectability, her fascist thoughts now loom large.

Nasir Aslam, on Facebook


Labour shame in Haringey

So it’s a Labour council pushing through the housing redevelopment in Haringey (Socialist Worker, 20 September)?

Maybe it’s time to campaign for a different political party.

Andreas Viveros, on Facebook


US’s nuclear hypocrisy

Donald Trump said the US must stop any other country developing nuclear weapons by destroying them with nuclear weapons.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

These countries can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons—yet the US can?

Mark Scott, on Facebook


Tories’ insult over Grenfell

Only the callous Tories could be so shameful not to pay for refurbishment work on blocks to stop another Grenfell Tower fire (Socialist Worker, 20 September).

We deserve a better future for Britain, but the nasty, lying Tories are destroying it.

This is not a government of the people for the people.

This a government of the rich for the rich—and stuff everybody else.

Roberto Ro, on Facebook


Why support nationalists?

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) were international socialists.

Why then are you supporting nationalists in Catalonia (Socialist Worker, 20 September)?

John Nisbet, on Twitter


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