Why I Marched – Susannah Appleby

For activist, Susannah Appleby, repealing the 8th Amendment can bring greater safety and security to the people of Ireland. Changing the fate of women here.

I support the abortion rights movement because bodily autonomy is a human right which women are denied in Ireland as soon as they become pregnant. This issue isn’t just about abortion. The 8th Amendment has the potential to affect every pregnancy and childbirth, putting all women at risk. I believe that women and girls deserve the right to make decisions about their bodies, their healthcare and their lives and abortion access is vital for this to happen.

Sexual and reproductive rights are humans rights. It is absurd to equate the life of a pregnant woman with the life of a foetus or embryo. With up to 12 women leaving the country everyday to access what is considered to be basic healthcare. 14 year jail sentences for those who are caught procuring an abortion in Ireland. And up to 5 women taking illegal abortion pills at home everyday, repealing the 8th Amendment is staggeringly important for women and for equality.

Repealing the 8th Amendment would mean that women in Ireland would have access to basic reproductive healthcare. The ability to plan their families. And having full bodily autonomy when pregnant.

Abortion services should be free, safe, and legal. Repealing the 8th would mean that all women will have access to these services if they need them. Instead of access for the women that can afford to travel abroad. Ireland’s historical treatment of women is nothing to be proud of and Irish society has changed so much since the 8th Amendment was put into place. We can all see that it’s time for Ireland to free women from it’s repressive legacy of mistreatment. This will never be achieved until the 8th is removed from our Constitution.

For people on the fence, I would say to them that pro-choice is the middle ground. The pro-choice side understands that regardless of their own beliefs on abortion, their beliefs cannot dictate what women should do with their bodies and their lives and know that it is inhumane to force someone to stay pregnant against their will.

Nobody is ‘for’ abortion and the decision to have one does not come lightly. Being pro-choice means that you trust women to make the right decision for themselves and their families and feel that they deserve the choice. There will always be women who require abortions; due to their age, their financial instability, bad relationships, rape, and many other complicated situations.

There will always be women for whom carrying a baby is physically unsafe due to their own poor health. If the law prevents these women from accessing abortions in a safe and clinical environment, then they will attain them in unsafe ways.

Much wanted pregnancies of women who have the devastating diagnosis of a Fatal Foetal Abnormality must either leave the country to access healthcare if they can afford to. Or wait for their baby to die inside the womb so that they can be induced. This is wholly unacceptable and shameful. We cannot ignore how the 8th Amendment effects the poor, the undocumented and those living in direct provision as they cannot travel to access abortion services. 

I would encourage every supporter of the abortion rights campaign to speak up because we need more voices. Don’t be afraid and have courage in your convictions. If you are afraid to speak up, for fear or saying something wrong then start by having a non-judgmental conversation with your friends or family. Arm yourself with knowledge, and do the research. Please speak up because all it can take is a ten minute conversation to help somebody off the fence and onto the pro-choice side.

– Susannah Appleby, Activist and co-founder of Imp Hour Events

The aim of this series is to be a starting point for conversations. We’d encourage you to start actively thinking about your role in society. Make sure you are part of the conversation on repealing the 8th Amendment, by registering to vote. If you are unsure whether you are registered, make sure you check the register. You have until Nov. 25th to inform your local council if your name does not appear.

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