I wasn’t going to cover the referendum here on the blog. This isn’t a political or current affairs blog. However, I have had a rethink. This referendum is a human rights issue and the Eighth Amendment has had a detrimental effect on people I love and care about.
If you are reading this and are unsure what the Eight which was written into the constitution in 1983, actually is, here is the official wording.
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.
This wording equates the right to life of the unborn to the life of the Mother. Various cases have highlighted a myriad of issues with the 8th in the 35 years since it was established. Following the death of Savita Halappanavar, who should not have lost her life, The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 was signed into law. This means that terminations can be carried out where there is a threat to the life of the mother.
This is not enough. If you are in any doubt as to how you will vote on May 25th, I implore you to read the following pieces I am going to share. In normal circumstances, I wouldn’t dream of asking someone how to vote no more than I would explain my own vote to others. However, these are not normal circumstances and the frankly, the Eighth Amendment leaves me fearful for Irish women and girls.
The In Her Shoes Facebook page has been inundated with real-life stories from Irish women who have been forced to leave their home country for health care. Many of these women left under the most traumatic of circumstances.
This video is called Faces of the 8th. It is heart-wrenching but watch it. This is the reality of the 8th.
Two women a week in Ireland are travelling abroad for a termination after receiving a diagnosis of a complex fatal foetal anomaly.
I think it’s also extremely important to talk about the financial impact carrying a baby that is not going to survive has on a family. If the couple is not in a position to travel they must stay here and carry that dying baby to term. The women in these situations are dealing with this trauma from the day of their scan until that baby is born. For the majority, this means they cannot work and are signed off by their GP for the duration. If they live outside the capital, they have to travel regularly to Dublin for appointments, which carries further financial impact. When the time comes for the baby to be born if that baby is to be born in the National Maternity Hospital, and the family is not from Dublin, the partner or husband must seek accommodation near the hospital. All of this is so much added stress. The Yes Campaign has acknowledged the financial burden for couples who face this crisis, the Save the 8th Campaign has not offered a solution.
Does Abortion happen in Ireland? Yes! Everyday. “The reality in Ireland 2018 is that 3 women a day take abortion pills alone in their bedrooms and bathrooms, terrified.” – Dr. Mark Murphy, Late Late Show Debate
**Approximately 4,000 women travel abroad for an abortion every year (mainly to the UK). Girls and women who are unable to travel abroad for financial or other reasons are discriminated against.
Increasing numbers of women obtain the abortion pill online although medical abortion is prohibited and criminalised. As the importation of abortion pills remains illegal there are no records of how many abortions take place in Ireland using abortion pills.
Dr. Jennifer Donnelly – The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, said the amendment, a constitutional provision which guarantees the mother and unborn an equal right to life, “prevents me from providing complete pregnancy care to women and their families”.
Save the 8th are using very emotive posters in their campaign. Some of these posters are factually incorrect. The following video is very important. Dr. Tiernan Murray sets the facts straight about the posters.
For more detailed myth busting and lots of factually correct information, I would encourage you to read Dispelling Myths Shared By The Save The 8th Campaign. This is a fantastic piece presenting not only facts but also the links to information which backs them up.
I could apply many more links here but I won’t. All I ask is that you arm yourself with the facts before you vote. Not the myths, the facts.
Ireland, arms wide open, a thousand welcomes; an island of beauty, so lush and green.
Nothing to see here, we are so pure. We dispose of our problems, so they remain unseen
Wanton women, their own fault, they deserved no more than being left at the Laundry Gate.
Hide those hussies and the shame that they bring, they were the ones who decided their fate.
Keep your baby? Not a chance, the Americans are coming, your baby’s been sold.
On your knees now and pray like a good girl, your own fault, you should not have been bold
Raped you say, what were you wearing? Did you give him the eye, did you lead him on?
Pregnant you say? Because of this rape? No help for you here, you may just get on.
I can’t go on, I want to die, I can’t do this, I was raped, this isn’t mine.
This has to be secret don’t tell a soul, you could get 14 years if they know you bought pills online.
Your baby won’t live. Ireland, please help me. Our hands are tied you may just wait.
My baby won’t live, Ireland won’t help, I can’t believe we’ve been sent to the boarding gate.
I’m living through trauma, a ticking time bomb, I could not afford to get help abroad.
I wish, I hope things don’t get worse, that my life is not valued by what we couldn’t afford.
No compassion in crisis in Ireland today, punishing tragedy in Ireland today
Pro-life they say, just not that of the mother.
Pro-choice I say, trust the Mother.
Have some empathy, trust our women, give them the choice,
You don’t know the day it will be your sister, your daughter, your wife.
R E P E A L T H E 8 T H
Repealing the eighth is about so much more than abortion. It’s about compassionate healthcare for women. It’s about choice. It is about trusting women to know and do what is right for them. Do not be under the illusion that you don’t know someone who has been directly affected by the 8th, you do. This post today is dedicated to the women I know.