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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.

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

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.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.