We’re starting up soon. If you were hooked up earlier, hang up and rejoin — I had to restart the whole shebang.
And here we are! We had a full house at the end.
I had hoped to get Ophelia Benson (we had technical difficulties there) and Michael Nugent (who is celebrating his birthday, and so had better things to do) online to talk about the Dublin conference coming up, but Michael did send some comments about their plans.
The national context in which it will take place is that there are conflicting campaigns in ireland to liberalise and restrict our laws against abortion, and our parliament is preparing to vote on a very restrictive availability of abortion where there is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman. This is the culmination (so far) of three decades of campaigning, and it is only a very small first step in what will still be a lengthy campaign for abortion rights.
The international context will cover the different and overlapping issues faced by women in democracies and theocracies around the world, and how we can work together and build alliances to tackle these issues collectively.
The conference will be quite structured, in that each session (religious laws, reproductive rights, violence against women, building alliances etc) will have as its focus preparing a contribution on that issue to a Declaration on Empowering Women Through Secularism that will be adopted on the Sunday.
Finally, the conference coincides with Dublin’s annual gay pride festival, so it will be a fun weekend to be in ireland!