Abortions are illegal in Ireland. Here's what 2 women went through to get one.

This journey has been made by too many women, and it's got to stop.

On Friday, Aug. 19, at 6 a.m., two women departed for a weekend trip from Ireland to Manchester, England. Their trip wasn't a fun getaway; it was for an appointment with a doctor that couldn't be made in their home country.

One of the women needed an abortion, and she couldn't just walk or drive to her nearest clinic to procure one because abortions have been illegal in Ireland since 1983.

The only instance in which a person may access a legal abortion in Ireland is if the pregnancy poses a threat to her life. Even with that caveat, however, there have been cases of women dying in Irish hospitals after being refused abortions.


While there have been several attempts to repeal Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which protects "the life of the unborn," it remains in effect to this day. As such, an estimated 165,000 women have traveled out of country to have the simple procedure done, with an estimated 5,000 making the trip each year.

Using the handle @TwoWomenTravel,  the pair decided to document their experience on Twitter.

"We made this journey in stern solidarity with all our Irish sisters who have gone before us," they tweeted.

Many of their tweets include the handle of the prime minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, who has been actively impeding the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, though he's not the only obstacle.

Women's reproductive rights have been kept under the Irish government's thumb for far too long, and Irish women are done being silent.

In this tweet from the waiting room at the clinic, the women note that in a world where abortion is safe, legal, and accessible, they would've been home by noon.

Instead, they had to travel to another country, where they were running on little sleep and food just so one of them could access an abortion — a medical procedure that is statistically safer than colonoscopies, hernia surgery, and yes, even childbirth.

For all the conversation around abortion — for or against — there is often little insight provided as to what the process of getting an abortion is actually like. The Two Women Travel Twitter account provides a brief glimpse showing the journey and the procedure for what it is and the injustice of the obstacles women face and the relief of being able to access the abortion itself.

When the abortion was done, they tweeted a photo of the sheets with some light bloodstains — a reminder that, while abortion is a safe procedure with a short recovery time, it is still a medical procedure. For those who have to travel long distances to access them, that means a long, unnecessary, and often uncomfortable journey home.

Soon after they began tweeting their journey, their story went viral.

Overnight, @TwoWomenTravel racked up thousands of followers. Even if you only read a few of their tweets, you'll understand why.

Celebrities and Twitter users began posting tweets in solidarity.

Last year, Roisin Ingle, editor for the Irish Times, told her own abortion story, which also involved traveling to England, in an op-ed for the publication. Needless to say, she's been an avid supporter of @TwoWomenTravel.

And Irish actress Tara Flynn was right behind her.

These restrictions on women's reproductive rights are not limited to Ireland, which is why this publicized pilgrimage is hitting home across the world.

Has their mission received tons of backlash? Of course. However, what often follows dissonance is a decided movement forward.

Even though Prime Minister Kenny has yet to respond, all eyes are on Ireland now and, hopefully, saying "no" won't be so easy this time.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture