Of course it's from Human Rights Watch, who else?
(N.B. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, thousands of women travel to England every year.)
This report is probably the reason I'm in such a foul mood today.
First off, it really needs to be pointed out in no uncertain terms that, under EU law, an asylum seeker can ONLY claim asylum in the FIRST EU country they pitch up in, they cannot move on to another country and claim asylum there. Ireland has NO direct flights to many of these shitty countries that spit out "refugees" on a regular basis, and certainly not to Nigeria or any West African country. It is very important to digest that point fully, and the next two as well.
So, not only are these people illegal, they only come to Ireland, via England or the Netherlands, because of Ireland's insanely generous welfare provisions.
Thirdly, asylum seeker is the status of someone who is trying to become a refugee, and there's an important legal distinction. 93% -yes that's not far off 100%- of asylum seekers are not accepted as refugees in Ireland, which means they are lying liars who are facing no danger in their own country and are just trying to go somewhere to get free stuff.
From the report:
For women who are in the asylum seeking process in Ireland, money is even more difficult to borrow, earn or find. The majority of such women are housed in special reception centers operated by the Reception and Integration Agency, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. They receive an allowance of just €19.10 per week, and an additional €6.90 per child per week. They do not have the right to work under Irish law to earn further income. The costs of traveling to obtain an abortion are plainly out of reach for them, unless they are willing to take drastic action.
Asylum seekers are in a particularly vulnerable position. Often isolated, without family and other social support, they fear the consequences of seeking permission to leave the country to have an abortion. They also face additional costs as they have no travel documents, and must therefore apply and pay for emergency temporary travel documents, which are issued by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. They will also have to apply and pay for visas to enter the UK, or Schengen visas to enter into a European Union (EU) country. Currently the cost of a UK visa is £65 (€72). Application fees for a Schengen visa to the Netherlands cost £60 (€67).
A service provider, who spoke to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, described the situation of a young female asylum seeker she had worked with:
She could not legally leave the country. Her difficulties were that she didn’t know where to go ... money and her legal status. We made the call to Holland ... she needed to get a re-entry visa to return and to apply for a Schengen visa.... She needed a temporary travel document from the Department of Justice—we had a contact there—not sure how someone without a contact would do this.... It took a whole month to organize this. She was just over 12 weeks pregnant when she went to Holland. There were fees attached to the issuing of all the documents and there was no funding available for this.
Mary E, a young woman from an African country, had already applied for asylum when she became pregnant and decided to terminate her pregnancy. For her, “money was a big concern.” She was aware of the costs and difficulties associated with applying for permission to travel, having “known other women in the same process for whom the help came too late.” Struggling to raise the costs of travel and the abortion, “it took six weeks to get the money together,” Mary couldn’t afford a further delay or any additional costs. She decided to “borrow” the passport of a friend, fully aware that if she was caught she would face immediate deportation.Now just wait a damn second.
These are people who managed to sneak into Ireland - an island in the Atlantic - from countries that have no direct travel links to Ireland, and somehow they can't manage to get a back alley abortion? Nor can they muster the wiliness to sneak back across to England for a cheapie (yet safe) abortion there, it seems, despite having trafficked themselves into the country in the first place?
Nor, despite their precarious legal status, can they manage to keep their legs together for the duration of the uncertainty. I love the South African expression - and you guys have no idea how hilarious it is, by the way - to "fall pregnant". She "fell pregnant" whilst just minding her own business when suddenly - BAM! - she slipped on a mushroom and fell horribly pregnant.
I really don't think free abortions for asylum seekers is a major economic issue right now.