With horrendous bans on abortion in Northern Ireland and Alabama, we need pro-choice allies speaking up about reproductive rights.
That means people marching the streets in protest, supporting those who have had abortions, and helping those in places where abortions remain illegal.
But it also means doing what you can to raise awareness on an individual level.
For Patrick Bates, that’s giving out tattoos.
Patrick is a tattoo artist living in Brighton with a rep for doing simple hand-poked lettering. He’s been tattooing for three years, having previously worked in residential care homes for young adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities.
His act of allyship is in giving out free ‘pro choice’ tattoos in exchange for a charity donation of whatever the individual can afford.
On Sunday 2 June at Heartbreaker Tattoo in Brighton, Patrick will welcome anyone who’d like to get ‘pro choice’ tattooed on their body. People can donate what they like, with money going to Women Help Women and NARAL.
Patrick tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I kept seeing and hearing stories about what was happening in America with regards to the abortion laws. It sounded like something out of a dystopian novel.
‘My family are of Irish and Argentinian descent and I played basketball in America for five years as a teenager so the topic in each of these countries was quite close to my heart.
‘I started tattooing three or so years ago and have now got an online platform which reaches people from all over the world so I thought I should use that platform to speak about what was happening and hopefully make as many people aware of what was going on as possible.’
Patrick initially wanted to just tattoo ‘pro choice’ all day for free so that all those supporting the right to choose could stand proud. But when he offered out the tattoo, fans said they wanted to donate money in aid of reproductive rights, too.
He’s already done the pro choice tattoo five times in the last week, and is hoping the dedicated day in June will see loads more people getting the words inked on their bodies.
‘I hope to tattoo at least 30 people on the day,’ says Patrick.
Of course, lots of people won’t be able to get to Brighton for the day, so Patrick has some other options.
‘I thought I would offer to write the words and take a photo and send the file to whoever wanted it for free and they can get it tattooed where they live,’ says Patrick. ‘My assistant Iva told me that she has sent the design to about 300 people so far.
‘I never expected so many people would want to get the tattoo. I would love it if 1,000 people would get it.’
Patrick also plans to release a pro choice T-shirt, with all profits also going to charity.
If you’d like your own pro choice tattoo, contact Patrick by email at [email protected]
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