Dublin: Irish women are tweeting details of their periods to Prime Minister Enda Kenny to help publicise a campaign to repeal restrictive abortion laws.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Prime Minister Enda Kenny

Abortion is a divisive issue in Ireland where, after large street protests from both sides of the debate, a complete ban was only lifted in 2013 when terminations were allowed if a mother’s life was in danger.

When Ireland chose to become the first country to adopt gay marriage in a referendum this year, marking a major shift in what was once a strongly Catholic and socially conservative society, calls for abortion law reform gained momentum.

“Since we know how much the Irish state cares about our reproductive parts... I think it’s only fair that the women of Ireland let our leader @EndaKennyTD know the full details of our menstrual cycle,” comedian Grainne Maguire said in a tweet this week that kicked off a Twitter campaign that has gone viral.

Dozens of other women joined in, tweeting details of their menstrual cycle, with some criticising Kenny for not responding.

Governments have been loath to tackle an issue they fear could alienate conservative voters despite a dramatic waning of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which had dominated politics in a country where divorce was illegal 20 years ago.

The 2013 abortion legislation was adopted following the death of a woman who was not allowed to abort her dying foetus, a controversy that made international headlines and reopened the decades-long debate.