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On May 25th, Ireland will vote whether or not to repeal the 8th amendment of its constitution, which basically bans abortion. This week, I notice signs posted by the NO brigade around town, featuring imagery of foetuses and the usual slogans equating a medical procedure with murder. As I wrote on fb, it feels like the patriarchy flexing its claws in plain view. You know it's there, but here it is, visible, creepy, and disgusting. I don't need to be reminded on my daily walk that people out there believe that an unviable foetus has equal, nay, more rights than 40-year-old living and breathing me.

Commenting on my fb post, a friend points to the fact that many women are voting no, insisting it's religion that's the "bigger culprit". He says there are patriarchal and matriarchal "species"; rather, "the problem here is beliefs getting in the way of reason". I was initially confused by his statement. Conflating the social with the biological (naturalising it), he reduces the debate over abortion to one of religious belief vs reason. Never mind that any religious belief that leads to the suppression of women’s bodily autonomy is fundamentally patriarchal. (Like, duh?!) If women vote No, it's because patriarchy isn't something that only individual men do, and consciously choose to do; rather, patriarchal values and assumptions permeates all aspects of modern human organisation. But as a social construction, it is not immutable; we can do better.

Anyways, I feel exhausted. I wish I wasn't wasting energy over stuff like this; I'd rather think about the novel I've just read, or try to write a line or two of poetry.


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