8th Amendment Repeal: Why I’m Voting “Yes”

I’m going to be voting “Yes” on the 25th May, for the repeal of the 8th Amendment, and you should to. I was originally planning on a lengthy post, but after some thought I realised that is wasn’t necessary. Because the reasons are simple, and because they should be related simply. Because we need to repeal the 8th amendment.

Because no woman should be forced to undergo nine months of pregnancy, and then labour, by law.

Because Ireland shouldn’t export its problems and pretend they aren’t happening.

Because being satisfied that the English will handle our dirty little secrets is simply not good enough.

Because being outraged about the (misrepresented) rate of abortion in England in light of the above is incredibly hypocritical.

Because the 8th amendment is a clear and obvious violation of personal rights and liberties, and what’s worse, an empty one that merely sweeps the issue under the rug (or across the Irish Sea).

Because an average of nine women daily (daily!) have to make the trip.

Because a women seeking an abortion can end up in prison for 14 years under current legislation, an utter travesty of law.

Because you don’t have to agree with abortion legalisation to think the above is unacceptable.

Because abortions in Ireland will still happen in the event of the No vote: they’ll just remain underground, unregulated and dangerous.

Because 1’000 black market abortion pills a year are ordered by desperate women we’re failing to care for properly.

Because the rate of abortion in other countries is completely immaterial to the discussion at hand.

Because the proposed 12 week period is actually very conservative by international standards.

Because while women could have abortions in the event of a Yes vote, this doesn’t mean they all suddenly will.

Because the idea that abortion will be used primarily as a contraceptive by ‘loose’ women is dim-witted.

Because this is not a zero-sum game, and we should be pushing for greater investment in adoption services as well.

Because our illustrious nation, like so many others, has a garbage history when it comes women’s rights, but we’re up there in the “Developed World”.

Because being repeatedly called out by the UN and the European Court of Human Rights for our backward, ill-thought out laws is getting rather embarrassing.

Because women are not ‘vessels’ and they should not be treated as one.

Because telling a woman pregnant from rape that she is legally obligated to have the baby forced on her by a sexual assault is obscene.

Because telling a woman whose baby has a FFA that she does not have a choice and must carry the baby to term is horrific.

Because having it get to the point where a woman is contemplating suicide before allowing a termination is insane.

Because this country has literally forced a raped teenager to carry a baby she didn’t want to term, and recently too.

Because sometimes young people, let down by a religious-minded sexual education programme, make mistakes that shouldn’t cost them their futures.

Because sometimes adults, through pressure, stress, depression and intoxication, make mistakes that shouldn’t cost them their futures.

Because sometimes those mistakes happen due to natural urges that we all have, even if you like to pretend you don’t, but its women who pay the higher price.

Because sometimes contraception, of which no 100% variety exists, simply fails, and people aren’t in a position to have and raise a child.

Because raising another child in poverty and potential homelessness isn’t an acceptable outcome as a sop to an ill-judged conscience.

Because single mothers guilted into having children they aren’t ready for are still stigmatised in our society, and if you think that isn’t the case you luckily live in a pleasant bubble.

Because anyone in the positions detailed above should not be considered a criminal.

Because the 8th amendment has been responsible for the deaths of numerous women, in plenty of preventable circumstances.

Because they have names, faces and stories: Savita Halappanavar, Michelle Harte, “Miss P”.

Because these are not hypotheticals or bits of data in a report: this is happening now, to real people, to citizens of this country.

Because the 8th amendment inherently denies women rights to life-saving medical care, and literally takes away otherwise inalienable freedoms during pregnancy.

Because the 8th amendment ties the hands of medical professionals, and prevents them from giving the best care possible to their patients.

Because the 8th amendment allowed a situation where a women declared clinically brain-dead by medical professionals was kept on life  support as her body deteriorated for 15 weeks, against her families wishes, to maintain a pregnancy where there was no chance of a successful delivery of a living child (less than four years ago!).

Because the 8th amendment leads to situations where couples terminating a baby with FFA must face the disgraceful indignity of returning their dead child’s body to Ireland via ferry, car ride or courier because they could not afford to stay in another country for their child’s funeral.

Because the World Health Organisation, the Masters of the National Maternity and Rotunda Hospitals and the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology have all called for a Yes vote, because of the nightmarish way the 8th amendment impacts their professions.

Because fertility rates aren’t affected by abortion legalisation, and anyone telling you they are is misinformed or lying.

Because abortion legalisation doesn’t lead to a massive increase in abortion care requirements, and anyone telling you otherwise is misinformed or lying.

Because “Love Both” are proven liars, in posters, leaflets and in spoken word, and are funded in substantial part by non-Irish interests.

Because “Abortion Never!” is the front of a known neo-Nazi sympathiser (who, paradoxically, also supports the death penalty…).

Because the Catholic Church in Ireland has long since lost all moral authority over this country and its people, and are run by a structure of celibate men who will never have to directly address this kind of issue.

Because the kind of person who was A-OK with the Magdalene Laundries only 22 years ago still gets to vote, and we need every sane person available to reduce their impact.

Because the Easter Rising leaders may have called for a “cherishing of all the children of the nation”, but in the same line they also promised “equal rights…to all its citizens”, in a document addressed to “Irishmen and Irishwomen”.

Because the pro-life side are not “the rebellion”: they’re defending the status quo.

Because the real rebellion was the popular movement that has led to this referendum being called in the first place, just like SSM.

Because the “No comment” philosophy of succeeding generations of Irish politicians must be stopped by a popular expression of support for legalisation.

Because if you’re on the fence now and thinking about voting No with no great enthusiasm or staying at home, we won’t get this shot again for a while.

Because women should have control over their own bodies.

Because you cannot look into the eyes of the “In Your Shoes” movement and tell them the 8th amendment was a benefit to their lives, not with a straight face anyway.

Because someone you know has been affected directly by the 8thamendment, even if you don’t know who they are.

Because you should trust them to know what’s best for themselves, their partners, their families and their lives.

Because you should trust your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your nieces, your friends.

Because you should trust the women you pass on the street.

Because you should trust women.

Vote Yes.

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4 Responses to 8th Amendment Repeal: Why I’m Voting “Yes”

  1. A secondary issue, viewed from Wales: increasing support for adoption services may not be in the best interests of the child, as many suffer life-long effects from the trauma at being separated from the birth mother. A better approach would be to strengthen support for single mothers, thus avoiding the need for adoption. That said, if I lived in Ireland I would be voting ‘yes’. It’s about time.

  2. John Edmundson says:

    From New Zealand but having Irish heritage, I’d just like to add that another point, that you touch on but don’t specifically make, is that women face the entire consequence of the unwanted pregnancy while the man can often simply vanish without taking any responsibility.

    And yes, it is funny that the 2 people responding to this, from opposite sides of the world, have almost identical names . . .

  3. Pingback: 8th Amendment Repeal: An Addendum | Never Felt Better

  4. Pingback: 8th Amendment Repeal: Vote | Never Felt Better

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