Irish woman live-tweets her trip to obtain a legal abortion abroad

Every year, thousands of women from Ireland travel to England or Wales to get an abortion. The procedure is illegal in their country. On Saturday, one of those women live-tweeted the entire experience directly at Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The woman and her friend formed a Twitter account, TwoWomenTravel, specifically to document the trip. Their posts stressed the time commitment, financial burden, and overall stress the trip had on both of them. In most posts, they tagged Kenny’s Twitter handle to guarantee his attention.

“We wanted to share the very ordinariness of the situation — we wanted to show it for what it is,” the women write in one tweet. “We had to travel because our government insists that we pretend this isn’t happening.”

These women join the 165,000 women who’ve made this trip since 1980. In 2015 alone, more than 3,000 Irish women traveled to England and Wales to obtain an abortion, according to the United Kingdom’s Department of Health.


In Ireland, a deeply Catholic country, abortions are only allowed if a woman’s life is at risk. Even then, many doctors refuse to go through with the procedure in fear of breaking the law.

If a woman’s pregnancy is the result of a rape, including cases of incest, she is explicitly banned from having an abortion. The same goes for a woman carrying a fetus with severe abnormalities that will likely die in her womb.

These rules have largely gone unchanged since Ireland passed the eighth amendment to the country’s constitution in 1983, cementing these strict “right to life” laws. In their tweets, TwoWomenTravel called for its repeal, using the tag #Repealthe8th.


They aren’t the only ones demanding a lift on the dated ban. In June the United Nations Human Right Committee demanded Ireland reform its abortion law, after deeming it “cruel and inhumane” and in violation with a woman’s human rights. Many Irish and international celebrities and political figures have echoed the UN’s request.

Thousands re-tweeted the women’s weekend posts, to the surprise of the two women behind it, who called it “unreal.”

“Our journey ends here tonight but the struggle for our reproductive freedom continues,” they wrote in a final tweet.

“We hope the the outpouring of public support encourages more women to document their experiences, to highlight the issue, and to stand with us in the battle for control over our own bodies.”

While abortion is more accessible in the United States, many American woman have also turned to Twitter to push politicians into changing anti-abortion laws. In April, for instance, Indiana women used Twitter to share the details of their periods with Gov. Mike Pence, who had just signed harsh abortion limitations into state law.