The Inishowen branch of the Abortion Rights Campaign has slammed Tim Jackson's hunger strike as a "farcical media stunt."
Politician Tim Jackson, who ran in last year’s General Election, began his hunger strike on Wednesday.
Jackson says he will be striking for “as long as necessary” to bring attention to his demands that Leo Varadkar and the Oireachtas Committee on Abortion watch a video of an abortion at their meeting before discussing a referendum any further.
Inishowen Abortion Rights Campaign say that Jackson is “mocking” those who have died whilst engaging in hunger strikes, such as the Suffragettes, Ms Y, and political prisoners.
“Over 100 years ago Suffragettes members of the Women’s Social and Political Union refused food protesting a system that would not recognise them as political prisoners. The UK government, fearing these rebels would make a mockery of the justice system introduced forcible feeding, justified as routine hospital treatment to save women’s lives.
“There have been Hunger Strikes by Republican Prisoners since 1917, over the summer of 1981 ten died in the Maze while on Hunger Strike, while another 13 participated. Many of those who survived still suffer effects of the strike, such as digestive, visual, physical and neurological disabilities.
“In 2013 Ms Y, an asylum seeker raped in her country of origin was traumatised by her experiences in Ireland. Seeking an abortion at an early stage of her pregnancy, the system in Ireland stalled and delayed her. She was unable to travel outside the jurisdiction for an abortion because she didn’t have the money or travel documentation required.
“She was deemed suicidal, but it was too late to access a legal abortion eventually the HSE got an order to forcibly hydrate her because she too had gone on Hunger Strike.
“Tim Jackson callously pretends to be on hunger strike when he is engaging in a farcical media stunt.
“We know that it was common practice to show school-age students videos about abortion in the classroom until recently, so the video he mentions will very probably already have been viewed by members of the Oireachtas Committee.
“The vast majority of abortions take place before 9 weeks – which means they are akin to a heavy period rather than the late-term abortions portrayed in the video Jackson champions.
“In 2015 Emily Letts filmed her own abortion, it’s available to watch on YouTube and we would encourage anyone who is curious to have a google.
“Irish women are forced to have later abortions than their English counterparts because they must delay treatment in order to save money to pay privately and travel.
“The irony of forcing women to travel to England to avail of services our Republic refuses to provide is clearly lost on Jackson who mocks those who have died throughout the course of our history to secure our rights, by pretending to go on hunger strike.
“62 Donegal women travelled to access abortion services last year.
“It’s time we ended the hypocrisy, because obliging women to travel only prevents those without means from having abortions while women who have money can travel, or import the Abortion pill illegally.”
Jackson wrote to Leo Varadkar and Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of the committee, last week requesting the group watch footage of the procedure, but did not receive a response.