Forget Genocide! Media Obsess over Irish Abortion ‘Pilgrimage’

August 23rd, 2016 10:28 AM

The genocide of Middle Eastern Christians may not be worth reporting in the eyes of the American media, but the obstacles one woman faced in terminating her pregnancy this week were certainly newsworthy.

Over the past couple of days, numerous outlets—including CNN, New York Times, Time, Glamour and Cosmo—have been obsessed with the story of two Irish women who traveled to England to obtain an abortion. Washington Post writer Jenny Starrs wrote of the “desperation that forced their travel,” while Huffington Post’s Jenavieve Hatch praised the “pilgrimage” as a “public act of defiance.” Unsurprisingly, journalists used the story as a news peg for criticizing Ireland’s amazingly pro-life legislation and highlighting the thousands of women who have been “forced” to cross the Irish Sea in order to terminate their pregnancies.

So why were these two women “special”? On August 19—one pregnant, the other a friend—set up an anonymous Twitter account with the handle @TwoWomenTravel. Their goal was to live-tweet updates and pictures from their journey, “in solidarity with all women exiled by @EndaKennyTD [the Irish Prime Minister], his predecessors, and apologists.” Tweets portrayed scenes from the rainy Dublin Airport runway, the abortion clinic waiting room and a post-operative bloodstain on hotel bedsheets.

Each of the social media posts tagged Kenny, who has advocated a constitutional convention to discuss the status of Ireland’s eighth amendment, which currently outlaws abortion unless the health of the mother is at risk. This decision followed a UN human rights panel which accused Ireland of regulations that subjected its women to “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment. In other words, not being able to kill their unwanted or disabled babies.

Early Saturday morning, Late Late Show comedian James Corden helped direct attention to the women by tweeting: “Today, @TwoWomenTravel but you’re not on your own in this. So many people are with you. X” By the end of the weekend, the @TwoWomenTravel Twitter account had thousands of followers. Many commenters called them “brave,” and tweeted their “compassion” for and “solidarity” with the women.

Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland have faced intensive scrutiny and disdain from much of the Western world, which views their protection of life as backward. Because of this, a coalition of pro-choice groups have taken it upon themselves to fly abortion pills by drone to these countries. When Women on Waves flew drugs from Germany to Poland, Jezebel writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper suggested that Americans take the hint and build their own “abortion drone army.”

It’s a sad truth. Abortion is a genocide that the media will gladly cover—yet, never from the perspective of the murdered.