With the Referendum on the 8th Amendment to Irish Constitution looming on the horizon, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all.
Ireland’s constitution is a bit of a mess. In fact it has been for a long while. We don’t really use it as a broad guideline on our little island, but rather seek to change laws and habits by adding to and taking away from our constitution ad nauseam. The 8th Amendment should never have been a constitutional issue and it’s essential that it be removed in the upcoming referendum.
There are those who would have you believe that with the repeal of the 8th, Ireland will cease growing. There is a narrative out there claiming that “1 in 4” Irish women will, when given access to safe abortions, terminate every pregnancy. I shouldn’t need to tell you how false this is, but I will. An estimated 163,000 women and girls have left Ireland to have them between 1980 and 2014. One hundred and sixty three thousand. In 2014 over 1,000 “abortion pills” were seized by Irish Customs. It’s clear that any woman who needs an abortion is willing to circumvent the system, and while those numbers are staggering, it’s far less than “1 in 4”. Still Irish women are putting their health on the line to travel and seek out a service that must be made available at home, and so long as the 8th remains, we are complicit in that.
This is not simply a political issue. This isn’t a line in the sand to be drawn between “traditional” and “liberal” values. This is about the human rights and the dignity of Irish women. It is disgraceful that for years Irish women have been driven out of this country in search of basic medical treatment. It is shameful how we as a nation have tried to hide and forget about them. Now is the time we can stand together and make a real change and make Ireland a kinder place for women going forward.
On a final note, the disinformation being spread anti-choice side, by the goons in the Iona Institute and their ilk, is nothing new. In 2016 Tree Farrell and I put together a short comic for the MINE Anthology both to support the Repeal movement and to lampoon the tactics of misinformation and exaggeration being employed by so many on the anti-choice side. I would of course encourage you to to read the comic and vote for repeal, but please do that the time to read around this issue come to your own conclusions. I only ask that you stay wary of misinformation and bad faith campaigners.
If you want more information on the referendum or the 8th Amendment, I would recommend checking out both the Coalition to Repeal and Amnesty International