You don’t have to agree with abortion to vote “Yes” to repeal the 8th.
Terminating a pregnancy is deeply personal and can be, incredibly painful. Women in Ireland on top of the heartbreaking decision, currently struggle to find appropriate professional advice and compassion. Today, Irish women will be voting in a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.
The vote has come about after a number of distressing cases in the recent past highlighted the inadequacy of the current law. Savita Halappanavar died in 2012 from sepsis after being refused an abortion during miscarriage and Amanda Mellet was forced to travel to England to terminate a pregnancy with fatal foetal anomaly.
In 2017, the Irish government convened a Citizens Assembly to consider evidence on abortion law reform. The 99 randomly selected citizens, voted 64% to 36% in favour of having no restrictions on termination in early pregnancy.
The Eighth amendment to the constitution of Ireland states that The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. Dr. Nick Breen told the Irish Times: “What this actually leads to is that the “unborn” gains more rights than the woman who’s carrying it. This is a terrible injustice.” Despite the outcome, women will still be terminating pregnancies, but by voting yes they can refrain from doing themselves harm.
Interestingly enough, embryos are also aborted by morning-after pills and by the coil, which Ireland accepts. Voting no can mean forcing women and couples with a diagnosis of fatal foetal anomaly, or rape victims who become pregnant, to travel abroad for care.
Farmers for Yes is a network of farmers across Ireland who are campaigning for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the eighth amendment. Farmer, Georgina Willis says: “Cows can have an abortion yet, women don’t have access to the same healthcare treatment.”
The vote on May 25 is not about introducing abortion to Ireland; abortion already exists. Thousands of Irish women are accessing abortion services every year. They are either travelling abroad or they are turning to unregulated online abortion pills. This referendum is just a vote on enabling a safe, regulated and legal system.
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