Today RCNI are releasing a video telling the story of Amal’s journey to the UK to access an abortion following gang rape. We are asking people to vote YES on Friday so that others will have a very different story than Amal’s.
Amal was an asylum seeker who arrived here fleeing her central African country where she had been repeatedly raped as she escaped conflict. Upon arriving here she found out she was pregnant. She was approximately 7-8 weeks along at that point. Amal was horrified and deeply traumatised by the fact of her pregnancy and asked for a termination.
Amal was under 18, a child, now living in direct provision with no independent means and so entirely dependent on the state. See also spoke little English.
Amal needed help with information and making arrangements. Amal needed formal papers to allow her to travel to leave Ireland, go to England and return. Amal had no money. Amal had arrived with some family but they too were asylum seekers without the means to assist her.
Those responsible for Amal and caring for her felt constrained by the 8th amendment in what they could do. By the time legal arguments were resolved and all professionals and statutory authorities had done what they could and needed to do to vindicate both her right to travel and what was very clearly her real emotional and psychological need to have an abortion, more than 14 weeks had passed. Amal endured, in great distress, throughout that period and now faced into a late term abortion.
The video is narrated by the Rape Crisis Support worker who accompanied Amal in her personal capacity, as no statutory professional felt they could do so under the 8th amendment.
Amal is now married and a mother, she has a vote and gave her permission for us to tell her story.
Dr Clíona Saidléar, RCNI executive director said, ‘RCNI are asking for you to vote yes so that when a rape victim finds out they are pregnant they can be supported here in Ireland. If we vote yes and the government brings in the promised 12 week legislation, tomorrow’s Amal will be under the care of a doctor who can inform, prescribe and supervise the abortion pill if that is what the survivor decides. There won’t be the inordinate delay, trauma and shame, necessitated by the 8th amendment, added on top of the trauma a rape victim is already suffering.
‘We need to support rape victims here, at home, under the care of their doctors, and supported by their loved ones. Please vote Yes on Friday.’
Note: Amal is not her real name, some details have been changed to maintain her confidentiality
Clíona Saidléar – 087 2196447
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release
21 May 2018