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Christmas travellers make bold statement on Irish abortion

#choice4xmas is the latest campaign supporting people from Ireland who are forced into travelling overseas for terminations

Every day, 11 Irish women are estimated to make a journey overseas to terminate their pregnancy. This year, the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign is highlighting the issue with luggage tags which read ‘Healthcare Not Airfare’. 

Dozens of people have attached them to their luggage while going home for Christmas and tweeting about them using the hashtag #choice4xmas.

More than 3,400 women gave Irish addresses when they visited British abortion clinics in 2015, and are also forced to travel to other European countries – such as Austria and the Netherlands. Including airfare, the procedure often costs them hundreds of pounds.

Cara Sanquest of the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign said that the group sold 250 of the tags in the first 48 hours, and have now sold over 550. They are still receiving orders “from all over the world”.

Sanquest added: “These luggage tags aim to highlight these journeys that women are forced to make. As we travel home for Christmas, we wanted to give people a way to show solidarity with the 11 women a day who are forced to travel to access abortion.”

Ireland's strict abortion laws have been under scrutiny for some time, and there are now two dates in 2018 being considered for a referendum on the issue. The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign are hopeful about its outcome.

“No-one under the age of 50 has had a chance to vote on this, and it is high time we stopped ignoring the fact that women are exiled to another country in order to access basic healthcare,” said Sanquest. “We need to provide compassionate healthcare for women at home.

“We hope people will have open, honest conversations with their friends and family about the referendum over Christmas so that we can in this referendum.”

You can buy the luggage tags on Etsy here for £3 and all funds raised will be donated to Terminations For Medical Reasons (TFMR) Ireland, a campaign and support group seeking to change the law in Ireland to allow terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities