In a discussion held at rs21’s September 2018 National Meeting, Kate Bradley introduces pro-choice activist Maev McDaid (3:40) and transfeminist Joni Cohen (17:50) on reproductive rights and freedoms for cis and trans women.
The recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland made headlines around the world, but much remains undone for reproductive rights in both Ireland and Britain. In the North of Ireland – politically ossified by ongoing British domination and the increasing paralysis of the Good Friday settlement – abortion remains a crime. In Britain, access to abortion is still subject to significant restrictions and continual threats of legal curtailment. And the same system that restricts the right to abstain from having children also condemns many parents to raise families in poverty and insecurity.
Struggles to gain, expand and defend the right to choose – alongside the right to have and raise children with security and dignity – are playing out at a time of redoubled interest in medical gatekeeping and the need to fight for free, universal access to medical services. Much of this interest has been piqued by the struggles of transgender people to access adequate medical services, including gender-confirming surgeries and hormone therapies (but not limited to these). Organising politically for trans health and against gatekeeping around gender identity fits naturally alongside the need to preserve and extend reproductive rights for all.
Maev McDaid is an Irish reproductive rights activist, and an active campaigner in the 8th Amendment referendum. Joni Cohen is a transfeminist organiser for Women’s Strike Assembly, and a member of Plan C and Action for Trans Health. Kate Bradley is a feminist writer and activist and a member of rs21.