Monday, May 21

The Eighth Amendment : To Repeal Or Not To Repeal

In every town, at every corner, on every street - Propaganda posters are telling you to Vote Yes or Vote No. There is no getting away from the 8th Amendment. It has haunted this country for 35 years and on Friday May 25th, the citizens of Ireland will vote to repeal it or keep the 8th amendment in the Irish Constitution. This is a revolutionary referendum that could change Ireland forever and will no doubt be a significant part of history to come. It is crucial that every person educate themselves on this topic. I cannot stress enough the importance of your vote. Whatever your opinion is, ignorance will not be tolerated.

But what is the Eighth? I wrote a similar blog post almost two years ago, discussing it: HERE. In brief, the 8th refers to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother. This law that was brought in in 1983 means that abortion is illegal in Ireland except if there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother. This forces women to travel abroad usually to the UK for abortion which is physically and emotionally traumatic and stressful, and often isn’t even an option because of the cost.

The Present Article 40.3.3 The Proposed Article 40.3.3
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 subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state. This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state. Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.


To Repeal or Not To Repeal?


I cannot do an unbiased blog post on this topic. I tried. But I feel much too strongly about this referendum and I shake with anger every time I see a No Poster (Especially when that No Poster is telling blatant lies and forcing crude imagery on my eyes). Trying to argue with a no voter makes my blood boil. They cannot take a step back and see things from my point of view and it is impossible to have any civil discussion. I have tried to understand why people want to keep the 8th Amendment. I can see their valid reasoning but I can also see that it is forcing one person’s opinion on everyone else. Choosing to vote yes means I can keep my opinion without forcing it on anyone. I am pro-choice.

Why am I in favour of repealing the 8th?


After following this matter very closely over the last two years, by hearing women's own stories of how the 8th has affected them, I am in doubt that we need to repeal. There have been women in the past and there will continue to be women who need this amendment abolished. Hell - we all dereve a say in our own bodies. Just because you personally would not choose to have an abortion does not mean that everyone else should be denied that choice. If the 8th is repealed, no one is changing what you must do with your body. In fact it is opening up options for women who have had no options before.


In 1983, Shelia Hodgers was diagnosed with cancer when she became pregnant. Shelia was refused treatment because the drugs may harm the foetus. She delivered her premature baby at 7 months. The baby died and two days later, Shelia passed away in agony. Her husband had begged for mercy but the law stood.  Love Both you say? Well the 8th Amendment killed both. 

Anonymous women have come out and told their stories after suffering in silence. To read many of them you can follow In Her Shoes on twitter and facebook to see how the 8th has affected them. Many are too graphic and harrowing to share here but I implore you to read some and hear their side of the story.
Hear how women face 14 years in jail for having an abortion. That's more than someone can get for rape. Or hear the women who wear forced to remain pregnant even after rape. Or what about the woman who wanted her baby but was diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormality and still had to remain pregnant even when she knew she waiting to deliver a baby with a death sentence. Even worse are the people congratulating her and asking about the baby as there is no way of hiding a pregnancy once the mother begins to show.

The Catholic Church has taken the no side ( no shit Sherlock ) in this campaign. I almost roll my eyes at this because I have no tolerance for the Church after its despicable history. Don't get me wrong, I have utmost respect for religion, but the church is an organisation that have committed revolting crimes and support archaic views here in Ireland. In the past, the Church has opposed Tampons ( because it may arouse women), Mother and Child scheme, Married women in Civil Service, Contraception, Divorce, Civil Partnerships, Gay Marriage and now Abortion. And don't get me started on the tuam babies and magdalene laundries. You say love both, but where was the love when you forced women into the laundries and took their babies away from them and sold them to America or the rest that that you buried in sewers?! Where were your love both signs then, huh?!! So apologies, Father Buckley, but your sermon at mass on Sunday was disgusting and I did everything in my power not to scream at you as you called us murderers from the alter.



I hope you join me in saying Yes on May 25th.

Always, M