Growing up, I’ve been encouraged to question, to discuss, to think critically. Of late, I’ve been thinking about my own motivation for voting to repeal.
It’s clear that this debate has gotten murky. Digs are being thrown, sensationalist imagery paraded through the streets, and the level of tension is rising. The aim of this series is to bring things back down to earth. Cut through some of the clutter, and get people thinking.
To do that, we’ve brought together 15 voices, including mine, to explain why we are voting to repeal.
Why I Marched
Early childhood memories include attending protests as a family. They were like a day out. Full of noise, laughter, fights in the car over who sat where. But we always understood what we were doing was important. That by standing up for what you believe in, you can change the world. It might sound idealistic, but I still believe it. And I feel the same about voting to repeal.
When it comes to repealing the 8th amendment, for me, the answer is clear – people want dignity. They want the ability to be able to make decisions when it comes to their health. To be listened to by doctors, and to have their wishes respected. The 8th stops people from accessing adequate information and healthcare. It’s mind boggling that medical best practice can be withheld from patients by the state.
We know that abortion is the most common gynaecological procedure for Irish women. And yet, it remains in the shadows. This is not good enough.
It should be noted that the 8th does more than just block abortion. It denies people access to information, and makes them powerless. It’s also dangerous. According to the World Health Organisation “[almost] every abortion death and disability could be prevented through sexuality education, use of effective contraception, provision of safe, legal induced abortion, and timely care for complications.” By denying access to safe, legal, abortions Irish people are forced to take greater risks. Restricting access means people have to wait longer for medical services. Which in turns increases the chance of complications. And that is only for those who are lucky enough to be able to travel. Voting to repeal helps to remove such barriers.
The reality is that being a pregnant person in Ireland means that you don’t have full control of your safety. But we can change that. We’ve been afforded an opportunity that so many others have fought for. A chance to change our society.
To my mind, there are too many stories of desperation and turmoil. Too many doors closed, and eyes averted. Yet there is a palpable sense that the tide is turning. We’re saying enough is enough. I’ve marched, and volunteered, written to my local TD’s, ministers, and the citizen’s assembly. I’ve donated, and agitated. And I would urge others to do the same. Or at the very least, just vote.
Voting to repeal is the first step we can all take to make our society safer. If you are unsure as to why remember: every day 10 women are forced to travel to access basic healthcare; 5 women a day potentially face years in jail for illegally obtaining abortion pills; remember Savita Halappanavar; the X case; Ms. Y; and the countless other people who are unable to travel. Voting to repeal is the first step that can help us create a safer community for everyone. A community in which adequate health care can be accessed by those who need it – when they need it.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or not, make sure you check the register. If your name does not appear, complete this form and send it to your relevant authority before Nov. 25th.
We’d also like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who took the time to submit their thoughts to this series. We’ll be sharing their words over the coming days.
Our sincere gratitude to Louise O’Neill – author, and Fiona Lawless, Karen Cowley – Wyvern Lingo, Mango Dassle – rapper/spoken word artist, Clare ‘Clisare’ – YouTuber, Karen Miano – co-founder DIAxDEM, Andrea Horan – The Hunreal Issues/Tropical Popical, Lily J. (pseudonym), Susannah Appleby – founder Imp Hour Events, Nicole Kirwan – student/YouTuber, Jess Kav – singer, and Michael Dillon, Faye O’Rourke – Little Green Cars, Amanda Azams – Fried Plantains Collective, and Michael Pope – Le Galaxie.