#Choice4Xmas is back - here's how you can get involved

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We’re kicking off annual our #choice4xmas campaign. Here's a quick guide on how to take part.

What is #choice4xmas?

We launched our first ever #choice4xmas campaign back in 2016, encouraging Irish people living abroad to ‘check-in’ during their travels home to show solidarity with the 11 women a day who have to travel in the other direction for safe and legal abortions. 

Since then, the fight for reproductive rights has come a long way. We’ve Repealed the 8th, secured funding for women and pregnant people from Northern Ireland to access abortions elsewhere in the UK - and have seen public support for abortion rights swell.

But there’s still lots more to do. If you’re heading home for Christmas please document your journey using the hashtags #nowforni, #healthcarenotairfare and #choice4xmas. Share pictures and social media posts at airports and ferry terminals and strike up conversations about abortion rights with family members and friends over the Christmas period.

Oh, you want me to talk to my family. Any tips?

The first step in taking part in #choice4xmas is to equip yourself with the right skills and information to talk to family and friends about abortion rights. We know it's a tricky subject and not everyone will feel comfortable bringing it up at the dinner table.

But frank and open conversations helped lead us to a Yes vote last May and the eventual abolition of the 8th Amendment.

Many of you may think the fight for abortion rights is over and those discussions are now redundant. But that’s far from the truth. Although we’ve made progress in Ireland, women in Northern Ireland still face up to life imprisonment for having abortions.

You can read more about our campaign for free, safe and legal abortion in Northern Ireland here. We’ll be sharing lots more information on our social channels over the next couple of weeks. Even if you’re not from Northern Ireland, by raising awareness and showing public support you can do your bit too.

If you live in the UK, think about contacting your MP and encouraging them to support the fight for decriminalisation of abortion. It takes 30 seconds, but can make a huge difference.

How do I get involved on social media?

Our previous #choice4xmas campaigns have been big successes, receiving national press coverage in Britain and Ireland. This year we want even more people to get involved. 

We're asking each of you travelling home to Ireland to 'check in' at train stations, airports or ferry terminals, with a post showing solidarity with the 11 women* a day, who will be going in the other direction over Christmas. This can be using pictures, videos or just words. Whatever you're most comfortable with. You can tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

By flooding people's timelines with messages and imagery, we can make sure the women leaving Ireland in search of basic healthcare are not forgotten over Christmas. 

Here are some examples:

Can I raise money too?

Yes you can. Last year our "Healthcare not Airfare" luggage tags were a runaway success. Sadly, they’re not on sale this year. But our colleagues at Alliance 4 Choice have an amazing range of merch that you can get your Christmas mitts on. You can buy it here.

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The wonderful folk at Abortion Support Network still need donations too. Over the Christmas period they’ll help countless women travel to Britain for terminations. Help them make a difference here.

ChriSTmas is a time for fun though. I don't want bring down the mood.

Yes, Christmas is a wonderful time of year when those who have emigrated come back home to celebrate with their family and friends. But it's also an opportunity to have much needed discussions and raise awareness of a topic that's close to our hearts. 

Photo: Steve Easton

Photo: Steve Easton

While the rest of us are celebrating, many women will be travelling to Britain feeling exiled and alone. For them, there is no welcome at the gates, no smiling faces or reassuring hugs. We want to make sure they are not forgotten. 

We hope this will be our last ever #choice4xmas campaign. We want free, safe and legal abortion access across the island of Ireland. We’re almost half way there, but we need your help to get us over the finish line.

 

Hannah Little