#TwoWomenTravel - Live-tweeting the journey for an abortion

Women protesting in Ireland in 2012 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Campaigners are seeking a referendum to try to repeal Ireland's anti-abortion laws

The description on their Twitter bio was simple: "Two Women, one procedure, 48 hours away from home." But more than 40,000 tweets about their journey revealed a conversation that was far more complex.

The Twitter account @TwoWomenTravel was set up on Saturday by a pregnant Irish woman and her companion. It documented their journey from Ireland to the UK for an abortion.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland, except if the mother's life is at risk. According to the United Kingdom's Department of Health more than 165,000 women travelled to the UK from Ireland for a termination of pregnancy between 1980 and 2015.

In the case of "Two Women Travel" their journey began in the early hours of this past Saturday morning.

Image copyright Twitter/Two Women Travel

It spanned taxis and waiting rooms.

Image copyright Twitter/Two Women Travel

The two, who have so far remained anonymous, directly addressed Ireland's Taoiseach (or Prime Minister) Enda Kenny using the hashtag #twowomentravel. They told Ireland's leader that their's was not an isolated case: that they were following in the footsteps of other Irish women who'd gone before them.

Image copyright Twitter/Two Women Travel
Image caption "We make this journey in stern solidarity with all our Irish sisters who have gone before us."

As hundreds showed their solidarity for the woman and her companion, their actions gained attention from high-profile social media users like comedian and host of the 'Late Late Show' James Corden.

Image copyright Twitter

Although the taoiseach remained silent, the country's health minister Simon Harris publicly acknowledged the journey and thanked the women "for telling the story of reality which faces many."

Image copyright Twitter

Not all were supportive though. Catholic blogger Caroline Farrow criticised the women and accused them of trivialising the procedure.

Image copyright Twitter

Ireland's anti-abortion laws have been under the media spotlight several times in the past few years. In 2012, Savita Halappanavar died after being refused an abortion at Galway hospital. Her husband told the BBC that he was certain her life could have been saved had she been allowed an abortion that she had earlier requested. An 257 page report on her death concluded that there had been many missed opportunities to save her life.

Following Halappanavar's death, an amendment to the law allowed for abortion when the life of the mother is in danger, including from the risk of suicide.

Image copyright Irish Times
Image caption Savita Halappanavar, 31, died of a miscarriage when an abortion was denied to her in 2012

#TwoWomenTravel is not the first time Irish women have live-tweeted Enda Kenny regarding abortion laws. In 2015, many made the hashtag #repealthe8th trend. They were discussing the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution - which equates the life of the foetus to the life of the mother and criminalises abortion in Ireland. The women live tweeted their menstrual cycles to highlight the country's restrictive abortion laws.

And it was the hashtag #repealthe8th that the "Two Women Travel" account referenced in the conclusion of their journey.

Image copyright Twitter/Two Women Travel

BBC Trending has approached the "Two Women Travel" Twitter account for comment.

Blog by Megha Mohan and additional research by Emma Wilson

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