The Week on Twitter: Abortion Laws, Liam Neeson & the Angelus

This week, the good people of Twitter gave their thoughts on RTÉ’s revamp of the Angelus, listened to Liam Neeson narrate an ad about abortion, and navigated a train-less Ireland for three hours while Irish Rail took industrial action. They also welcomed the Abortion Pill Bus to all of the country’s major cities, and talked about Back to the Future (a lot).

Amnesty continue their campaign to decriminalise abortion in Ireland #repealthe8th #NotACriminal

On Monday, Amnesty International Ireland released a video featuring writer Graham Linehan and his wife Helen. The piece featured the two speaking about their heartbreaking experience of discovering that fatal foetal abnormality meant their baby of just 12 weeks would not survive birth. At the time, the couple were living in London, and were able to safely and legally access the UK’s abortion services.

In the video, Graham expresses his shame concerning Ireland’s archaic abortion laws, and states that if he and Helen had have been living in the country at the time, he would have feared for her safety. Helen also praises the UK’s health care system, acknowledging that “It’s different in other places (…) I would have had to have gone full term knowing (…) that this baby’s not going to survive. All I wanted to do was get over that hurdle of what had happened to us, and try again.”

Graham also states that Ireland cannot become a mature country until this emergency is dealt with.

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Soon afterwards, the Linehans and Amnesty released another campaign film called ‘Chains.’ The film – which is narrated by Liam Neeson – speaks of the cruel ghost that haunts Ireland, that “brings suffering – even death – to the women whose lives it touches.”

The film was heavily criticised for being “anti-Catholic,” due to its use of religious imagery juxtaposed with the notion that Ireland is chained to its past. Some people even launched a petition against the film – and Neeson himself – claiming that it was in poor taste, and offensive to the Catholic Church.

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Others also condemned Amnesty’s use of celebrities to endorse their drive for reproductive rights – an objection that can only be based on the fact that the pro-choice campaign has been gaining more and more traction with each week that passes.

Amnesty, Graham and Helen Linehan, and hundreds of others took to Twitter to promote the film, justify its use of religious imagery, and to finally lay this ghost to rest.

The Angelus gets a makeover #StickItInTheAngelus

In an attempt to revamp the station’s “most controversial” religious broadcast, RTÉ have released some new films to go in the Angelus. These professional one minute shots will be accompanied by ‘the people’s Angelus’ – short submissions from the public that will also be broadcast before the news.

RTÉ began requesting submissions back in May, asking for anything from art, to photography, to animation. However, Twitter had some other ideas about what would be best suited in this new and improved Angelus.

#AbortionPillBus sets off on its journey across the country

Yesterday, ROSA (Reproductive Rights against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity) and WomenOnWeb teamed up to finally give Irish women suffering with crisis pregnancies the care and support they need. For the entirety of yesterday and today, they will drive an Abortion Pill Bus around Ireland, making stops in the country’s major cities to promote reproductive rights, rally support to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and provide abortion pills to any woman who they have already consulted.

Although all of the women on board risk imprisonment for procuring illegal pills, ROSA’s Laura Fitzgerald says that it is a necessary risk to ensure that women’s bodies are no longer policed. She stated that the pills – which can be safely used to terminate a pregnancy of up to 9 weeks – are “extremely important to women who may not be able to travel for the procedure for financial reasons, or because of their immigration status.”

Today, the Abortion Pill Bus will arrive in Cork and Dublin.

#IrishRail‘s three hour strike ruffles a few feathers

Irish Rail trended for a bit yesterday as hundreds of frustrated commuters blamed the service for making them late for work. Between 6am and 9am, drivers took industrial action when their claims for compensation were not agreed upon by SIPTU, the NBRU, and their management. The strike caused significant delays all over the city, as buses were overflowing, car crashed, and the Port Tunnel closed down.

Irish Rail are offering full refunds to customers who carry prepaid tickets, and have stated that if the dispute is not resolved another strike will go ahead on November 6th.

Twitter celebrates #BackToTheFuture day!

Wednesday October 21st 2015 is the date that Marty and Doc Brown travel to in Back to the Future Part II. Coincidentally, it is also the date of last Wednesday. People on Twitter celebrated this fact by complaining about not having hoverboards.

Michael J Fox spent the day launching the world’s first ever self-lacing runners – all the proceeds of which will go to his Parkinson’s disease fund. He also made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel as Marty McFly alongside Christopher Lloyd, and they took their very first selfie. It was great.

Now, thanks to existence of time, Back to the Future is now in the past. Some people on the internet had a hard time processing this fact, while others simply did not care at all. Those people are no fun.

Featured image via Teri Pengilley