1. Because Abortion is Already Happening in Ireland.
In 1983 – 6 years before I was born – Ireland held a referendum that lead to the constitutional amendment recognising the right to life of the unborn child. This piece of legislation was introduced to ensure that there was no hope of terminations ever taking place in Ireland. Anyone with two brain cells could tell you that this hasn’t worked. We have simply exported the issue, with up to 12 women a day, who for whatever reason, are having to fly or sail abroad for terminations.
In a modern society, we can no longer condemn these women to laundries where their children are stolen and sold, so instead, we close our eyes and pretend they don’t exist. Like it or not, it is happening. Every. Single. Day.
2. Because the United Nations Said I Should.
In 2017, a United Nations Committee found Ireland violated the human rights of a woman who had to travel to Britain for an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality. The woman won her case, and the committee decided she was to be awarded not just compensation by the State, but that they were to also provide psychological treatment. At the time, the UN said Ireland needs to prevent similar violations of the rights of women by changing its laws on abortion. The UN by its own definition is a global organisation that brings together its member states to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action in an enduring quest for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainable developing world and I for one respect its stance on this subject.
3. Because it’s Legal Almost Everywhere Else in Europe.
For 26 out of 28 EU countries, abortion is legal in a huge proportion of cases. Besides Ireland, Malta is the only other country in Europe in which terminations are illegal. Malta is a highly Catholic country and a devout nation where large percentages of the population attend church celebrations on a regular basis. Religion is at the epicentre of the majority of any public discussion, specifically with regard to matters relating to marriage, divorce, abortion, IVF and other matters of morality.
4. Because Innocent Women Are Not Criminals.
Terminations abroad are not accessible to everyone, and in many cases, illegal tablets are purchased online. Abortion is a criminal offence in Ireland, meaning any woman caught with these pills could get up to 14 years in jail.
These pills – when administered by a healthcare professional – are of course, perfectly safe. However, if taken incorrectly in terms of dosage or timings, they can cause serious and potentially fatal problems such as uterine rupture and haemorrhage. Can you imagine the turmoil of something going wrong in one of these circumstances – knowing that you could be arrested and charged with a criminal offence if you were to present yourself at a hospital with internal bleeding after taking these tablets? I can’t.
5. Because Your Life Is Not My Business – and Vice Versa.
It’s as simple as that. What any woman chooses to do with her body and her life is not my decision to make or to live with. I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. I have not, and will not, allow my personal beliefs on terminations to dictate my view on repealing the 8th. I respect and trust women and I believe its high-time the Irish State did the same. That decision will not affect my life, it will only effect yours but please know that I support you.
If you are someone who believes that every pregnancy is a blessing or that all life begins at conception, all I can say is that I truly wish I lived life through your rose-tinted specs.
6. Because The Church Told Me Not To.
A simple Google search of movements rejected, opposed to and protested against by the Catholic Church include (but are not confined to) contraception, divorce and same-sex marriage. The list of historic and heinous crimes committed by the Catholic Church is just as long, with Magdalene Laundries, child sex abuse and Tuam babies only serving to reinforce my beliefs that the power this organisation has over Ireland has left an irremovable stain on this country’s history. The Catholic Church has shown a long-standing resistance to matters regarding progressive sexual and cultural change and since I was about 12 years old, I was aware that it wasn’t an entity I wanted to align myself with. I know which side of history I want to be on, and it will never be the same one as the Church.
7. Because Every Woman Deserves Pre and Post-Op Care at Home.
As stated before, I don’t believe it is my business as to why anyone seeks an abortion. However, I firmly believe this country has a duty of care when it comes to the pre and post treatment of these women. I truly cannot fathom how in 2018 we still force women abroad for these procedures. Every woman in Ireland deserves access to safe and legal medical care. Nobody, and I repeat nobody, wants to have an abortion. It’s a painful and traumatic experience but one that 170,000 Irish women have gone through since 1980 – away from home, away from family, away from friends and allies. The illegality of it makes it a truly shameful experience and that should not be the case.
If Dr Peter Boylan, the former Master of the Holles St Maternity Hospital who personally delivered 6,000 babies, is calling for a Yes vote, I truly cannot fathom how anyone is voting no.
8. Because I Care About the Future for Women in Ireland.
I am as aware as one can be of the privilege afforded to me as a white, Irish-born, relatively educated, full-time employed, cis-gendered woman. Being aware of this means I am also very of aware those not in my position.
On May 25th 2018, I am voting YES. I am voting Yes for my sisters who have had to travel abroad. For my sisters in disadvantaged areas and vulnerable situations, with no access to safe legal abortion. For my sisters who are in their teens with their whole lives ahead of them. For my asylum-seeking sisters living in Direct Provision – not allowed leave the confines of the dire limbo they live in. For my sisters in abusive relationships. For my sisters with drug or drink addiction issues. For my sisters struggling to provide for the children they already have. For my sisters who have been raped. For my sisters who have just been told their longed-for baby is not going to survive outside of the womb. I am voting Yes for every single woman in Ireland who might some day be faced with having to have a termination for whatever personal reason, and I believe every single woman on this little island deserves compassion, care and access to safe and legal abortion – at home. Women have died because of the current legislation. This needs to change.
If the 8th amendment is successfully repealed on May 25th, women in Ireland will finally gain access to something that is afforded to their counterparts in almost every other European country. It will be another step forward for this tiny country. You might not like it, you might never require a termination – Hell, you mightn’t even be a woman, but I don’t care.
I’m voting Yes.