Strike 4 Repeal launched plans before Christmas for a national strike if the Irish Government does not commit to a clear yes or no question on a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment; a constitutional barrier to autonomy and health for those of us who need to access an abortion and also to those of us who want to continue with a pregnancy but instead face a health and legal system which places a higher value on the life of a fetus over that of women and pregnant people.
After a successful strike took place on International Women’s Day in March last year, of which over 12,000 people participated in over 50 places across Ireland and abroad and which defied expectations and sent a clear message that our movement is strong, defiant, and willing to act, the pro-choice movement has seen progress: The Citizens Assembly made liberal recommendations and the Taoiseach has indicated that we will finally get a referendum in 2018.
However, in the interim, the Government established an Oireachtas Committee to review the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly. While this Committee did make some progressive recommendations, the Government is not actually in any way obliged to take on these recommendations. In fact, The UN, The World Health Organisation, The Citizens Assembly and a score of other international and domestic human rights organisations have already told Ireland repeatedly to legislate for full abortion rights and it still hasn’t happened.
We know that the majority of people in Ireland trust women and pregnant people to make their own decisions regarding their life and health. We also know that the government have never prioritised our health. We are concerned that they will not ask the right question on the ballot paper.
In advance of the difficult referendum campaign ahead of us, we therefore believe it necessary to show once more that our movement will not die down until we have abortion access in Ireland and that . We have struggled for generations and we owe it not only ourselves, but to those who have struggled before us and to those who will come after us, to ensure that we don’t lose this opportunity at this key moment in our collective fight. We believe we must come together once more in our numbers for this final push.
When are we asking people to strike
At present there is no set date for the strike. We are conscious that it needs to happen before the wording of the referendum question is agreed, as this will trigger a referendum campaign from which there is no going back.
We are asking people to participate in a ‘Strike Assembly’ outside the Dail this Wednesday 17 January from 5pm to watch a live stream of the Oireachtas debate on the referendum question. This action is not a ‘Strike’ but a chance to gather together to decide what action is necessary should it become clear that the government is attempting to weaken the proposed recommendations or replace the 8th with restrictive legislation.
What are we asking people to do right now
We are asking people to take a pledge to strike by adding their name to the Strike 4 Repeal supporters’ Google form; wear visible support or share a pledge on social media; organise a show of support in your local area; talk to friends and family about the issue; or write to your political representatives to tell them you want a simple yes or no question on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment; attend the ‘Strike Assembly’ on Wednesday 17th January..