Content warning: this post discusses abortion and police, and mentions domestic violence and suicide.
I read your piece of remarkable self-justification for the unforgivable in the Belfast Telegraph and I am shaking with fury. Your housemate was just 19 years old, so young and in a difficult situation. She was forced to buy pills from the internet to induce an abortion, because she couldn’t afford to hop on a boat or plane across to the rest of the country, where she could have accessed the medical care she needed. Because of your actions, she is a convicted criminal who could be sent to prison on a whim of any old judge with an axe to grind.
You know this, of course, and you chose to do this to punish her, because you are horrible people.
There, I said it.
Sorry, there’s nothing about this situation that doesn’t make you horrible people. In trying to explain why you did it, you’ve just made it even more obvious that you are horrible people, outright admitting that you did it because she didn’t show adequate remorse, and you have feelings about abortion which basically translate to you don’t think access medical care is something which should always be available to someone with a uterus.
You go on in sensationalist detail about how very traumatic you found your housemate’s abortion. Maybe that’s true. Abortion is not always a tidy business. However, I suspect your account is at least part fictitious: your description of the foetus does not match with what the physical evidence found was a 10-12 week foetus. Unless you have frankly microscopic eyesight you’re not going to be seeing it in the detail you describe. And furthermore, in another statement, one of you said that it was about four inches long: more than twice the length of a foetus at that point of gestation.
I’m not saying you’re lying maliciously (although you’re such horrible people, maybe you are). Human memory is a funny thing. It can be very easily modified without you ever knowing it’s happened. If you’re the sort of person who hates other people having control over their own uteruses, you’re probably quite a fan of anti-choice propaganda, where they like to show pictures of foetuses far later in gestation. Those little pieces of misdirection probably wormed their way into your subconscious and you thought that was what you’d seen on the night your housemate was driven to take drastic action and end her own pregnancy due to archaic laws in your part of the country. And I don’t know, maybe your boyfriend is a small-dicked liar which is why you said four inches when in reality it should be no more than two.
Anyway, because of the excesses in your descriptions of what you saw, I don’t believe a word you say about what happened that night.
Maybe you really were traumatised. It can be traumatic when someone you’re close to has a health emergency. I have epilepsy and I am achingly aware of how much worse my seizures are for other people who witness them than they are for me, because at least I have the luxury of being unconscious at the time. Thing is, your situation is different. You have absolutely no empathy for your housemate. None whatsoever. You didn’t help her in her time of need, because you felt she was to blame for what was happening. However traumatised you are about what you think you saw, it would have been much more traumatic for her: desperate and unable to seek medical help for something which needs to be done under medical supervision. If you’re traumatised by what you think you saw, imagine how much more traumatic it must be when that is happening to your own body. Oh wait, you can’t. Because you have no empathy. Because you’re horrible people.
What you did next is beyond cruel. You called the police on your housemate, because you didn’t like something you saw in the bin. Once, a (thankfully former) housemate of mine put some gone-off taramasalata in the bin. When I took the bag out, it split and pungent off-pink fish goo went all over my bare feet. It was gross and upsetting, and I cursed her name and that of all of her ancestors. I was absolutely furious. I didn’t call the fucking cops over it though.
No matter how pissed off you are at something someone else has done, no matter how much you disagree with it, you do not call the police on people. (There may be exceptions to this rule, e.g. in a domestic violence situation or if someone is about to kill themselves. Many people find police intervention even in these situations to be somewhere between useless to actively harmful, and a lot of the time an ambulance is a better bet)
Calling the police shows exactly what you are: horrible people with a desire to punish.
Your housemate made a terrible mistake. Not in self-inducing her abortion, but in trusting you enough to tell you what she was doing. Perhaps she was reaching out, and she didn’t want to suffer alone. Perhaps you had a good relationship before it. I don’t know why she would have trusted you enough to let you know, but I know if she hadn’t, she would not be considered a convicted criminal. Her options were essentially to go through the whole thing alone, or to trust others enough to talk to them. You betrayed her trust, her confidence. You threw it back in her face.
You know that in your part of the country, abortion is illegal and those who need it can face imprisonment. You know that your part of the country has laws which contravene basic human rights–and indeed, basic human decency. You know that Northern Ireland abortion laws are not designed to help, but rather to punish. Rather than feeling disgusted by that, you decided to take advantage of that fact and use this state of affairs to get revenge on a young woman who who made a dire decision.
There are no other words for it. You’re horrible people.
Seeing the anger within and outside your part of the country at what you set in motion gives me hope that perhaps soon these laws will not exist. And perhaps, up and down Northern Ireland, people realise just how important it is to not betray their friends. If someone has an abortion, they’ll show basic solidarity and keep their fucking gobs shut, no matter how much they disagree with a pal’s decision. Maybe they’ll go beyond that and offer help, support and empathy until your horrific abortion laws disintegrate. I hope you are the only people who are as nasty as to dob someone in to the police over something that in no way concerns them.
I wrote a much longer letter to you than I thought I would, but I am furious. I am angry at you, I am angry at your part of the country’s laws and I am absolutely livid that you would choose to throw someone at the mercy of those laws.
You, dear Belfast abortion snitches, are horrible people.
P.S. Anyone reading this may want to donate to Abortion Support Network’s Cover Her Costs campaign, giving people who need abortions in Northern Ireland the financial means to travel to where it’s legal for their care.
Note, added approximately an hour after publication: A friend has pointed out that a lack of empathy doesn’t always equal horrible person. I’d just like to echo and elevate this point, and apologise to neurodiverse people for the implication in my phrasing. What I used “empathy” to mean here was “compassion” or “kindness” or “caring about another human being’s welfare”–“empathy” is a loaded term and not necessarily the appropriate one. However, these Belfast abortion snitches are horrible people.
16 thoughts on “An open letter to the Belfast abortion snitches”
The aborted foetus was said to be between 10 and 12 weeks gestation. At this stage it would be about an inch long. And certainly not four inches. And if the foetus is 4 inches long, how long then is the umbilical cord?
I tried to find that information, but couldn’t–but yes, definitely a massive discrepancy on the size of the foetus: two inches is absolutely largest end of the scale for how big it would be.
I wondered at first if maybe it was because she’d had to have the abortion later in her pregnancy, but it seems like the 10-12 figure was from inspection of the foetus, so I call bullshit on their story.
Have a look at this local site in Ireland:
Commentators there see the hand of Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life behind some of the comments.
[Disclosure: I write occasional medical-related articles for Slugger; I suggested one on this, but my editor thought that it wasn’t going to change attitudes.]
Bravo! I had a similar response: Quick note on the Belfast abortion rats | Feminist Ire
Boom! You’re much more succinct than me. I cannot believe the fucking cheek of these people.
Reblogged this on de frémancourt and commented:
#StopTheSham #ReproJustice #Queers4Repro #ReproJusticeNI
The sharpest commentary I have read so far on the evil inhuman backward-minded pieces of excrement who reported someone suffering with a very challenging health emergency to the bloody police.
You are absolutely spot on. They are horrible people. Anyway you look at it.
As a born-and-bred Belfast resident, I don’t think I have ever been so enraged by a non-Troubles-related current affairs issue. Disgusted and saddened as I was at the heinous, Draconian prosecution of this poor woman in the first place, if anything I was even more incensed by these women trying (and spectacularly failing) to justify their actions in this piece. They can’t believe they’re the bad guys?! Fucking seriously?!
The reported the young woman to the police because her attitude of relief didn’t align with theirs of, “oh, look, a previous fucking baby” (I don’t for the life of me see how anyone can consider an embryo or early-term foetus a ‘baby’, but whatever). In other words, there was no sense of civic duty about their decision: it was borne out of vindictive spite because she didn’t agree with their anti-choive views.
I am very proud to be Northern Irish in many ways, but am thouroughly and utterly ashamed that my country inconsistently refuses to overturn a law that predates women getting the fucking vote, and that allows horrible people like this to honestly believe themselves victims when their vile actions are called out.
I’m not involved with this campaign, but – not for the first time – donated to it in the wake of this scandal. It’s called the Abortion Support Network, and financially (as well as emotionally) helps women from both sides of the Irish border travel to Great Britain for safe abortions. Maybe you could share the link to donate on Twitter or something, Stavvers? This shit must never happen again 😦
Thanks for sharing this, and I’ve not just tweeted the link but added it as a PS in the main post. In the current climate, it’s so important we do all we can to ensure access.
I completely agree. Thanks for sharing it on both counts 🙂
I love ASN, they are wonderful, wonderful people. I try to chuck money their way whenever I have a bit spare.
As for those sick, twisted snitches, they make me want to puke blood. The PSNI (is that the right ones?) haven’t covered themselves in glory either, with their “In the public interest” shite. There are women holding notices up with their full names and addresses, outside police stations, that say “I’ve bought X abortion pills. Come and get me”. Strangely enough, they remain entirely unmolested.
Thanks for posting this stavvers, I hadn’t heard about it. I’m avoiding the news because benefit related stuff triggers the hell out of me.
It was really clear from the interview that she wanted to raise the child. She basically reported this woman to the police for refusing to be her incubator for another 6 months. And on top of that she has the cheek to say ‘she wasn’t forced into anything’. Yeah except you know, carrying and giving birth to an wanted pregnancy just so you can have the baby you wanted. Scumbag.
I didn’t mention that in my piece, but it’s certainly something I got the feeling was the motivation. Absolutely disgusting that she did that. It’s exploitative, especially since she was twice her age!
I wrote a post on this too, in a similar way.
I can’t believe people would do such a thing.
I’m in the Republic – a different jurisdiction with similar laws and, clearly, the same religious hangover. That one is expected to feel contrition for one’s “crimes” (which usually translates simply to being a woman and/or LGBTQI) is what has fueled and continues to fuel the despicable way we treat women on the island of Ireland.
As signs of the ability to reproduce (whether or not we can), we continue to be vilified for embodying the physical results of sex and this is reflected by the number of ongoing scandals regarding both religious and state run institutions in the C20th. I’m talking about Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes, and the unbelievably barbaric practice of symphysiotiomy. Not to mention our abortion laws and the absolutely farsical (or it would be, if women’s lives weren’t hanging in the balance) implementation of these laws.
Women are paying the price (our freedom and sometimes our lives) for this expectation of contrition, penance and atonement. What is more, working class women (as evidenced by this case) are adversely affected by our laws.
Sorry for the rant, Stavvers, but I’m sick to my stomach with the whole lot of these bastions of religious, patriarchal morality. I want to vomit all over them.
Ireland hates women. There is the plain and simple truth.
Your writing is really fresh and amazing , keep up the good work !! 🙂