May felt like it was an age away. But in the blink of an eye it’s here and there’s a lot going on this month.
There’s a Royal Wedding, Darkness Into Light (go on, sign up!) and the vote on the 8th Amendment. Which is what my Editor’s letter is going to be focused on this month. I’ve been writing this in my head for months, so I hope it makes sense and people can understand where I’m coming from.
I Changed My Mind
You see, if we had a vote on this issue a few years ago I might have voted NO. Actually, I definitely would have voted NO. And I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that now. But a lot has changed my opinion.
I’ve become far more educated and informed on the topic. Which is why I’ve decided to talk about it. No matter which way you decide to vote on the 25th, or even if you can’t vote at all I would urge you to properly educate yourself an all aspects of the 8th Amendment.
Clóda aka Orange Obviously had a really great thread about how she had previously viewed abortion. I thought she made some really great points and observations. They were opinions that I once held too.
How someone could vote Yes to Repeal The 8th used to honestly baffle me. I just couldn’t comprehend it. But life doesn’t fit neatly into a few words in the Constitution. And what happened to Savita horrified me.
I also read this story a few months ago and it was really stayed with me.
It’s a difficult and divisive topic with so many elements to it. But what I struggled with is the what ifs. What if a women is raped? What is her life is in danger? They’re so many what ifs. To have a blanket ban on abortian is just cruel and inhumane. The reality is that a huge number of women accessing aborotians are doing so to end a very wished for pregnancy.
Life Isn’t Black Or White
I’m not exactly pro-abortion, and I don’t think anyone who is pro-choice is either. Nobody exactly wants to be in the situation where they have to terminate a pregnancy, I mean come on! But I’m voting to Repeal The 8th as I believe every woman has the right to make her own decision in the situation and I don’t think any woman should be deprived of the decision based on a strangers point of view. You just don’t know whats going on in someone’s life and what their circumstances are. If someone doesn’t agree with abortion, no one is making them have one, the decision to make it legal won’t have any impact on their life.
We have a terrible habit in Ireland of pushing ourselves into other peoples business and I think that that is a big issue when it comes to this vote. The reality is that abortion is already here. Women are traveling everyday and women are ordering pills online. That is not going to be stopped by voting NO. Voting YES to Repeal the 8th will just ensure that women can access abourtion with compassion and support. The NO side do not “Love Both”. They love control and pushing themselves into other peoples business.
My Opinion Now
I just don’t feel like I have the right to tell anyone what they should do. I always came at this topic from the angle of “well I would never have an abortion” but that was very elitist, selfish and nieve of me. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do because I don’t have crystal ball, so I don’t know what the circumstances would be. Neither you nor I knows what the future holds. And I think every women should be allowed to make that call for themselves. Simply, it’s non of our business.
I hope I never even have to consider one. But someone else in a different situation, might be in a position where they NEED one and it’s the best option for them. I don’t think they should be deprived of the right to choose. Abortion isn’t an option that someone considers lightly. Ever.
We Don’t Know What The Future Holds
I worry about the 8th Amendment effecting me or my friends or family in the years to come. The idea of going into a scan all excited to see your baby only to be told that they are incompatible with life, but “we’re sorry there’s nothing we can do“, is barbaric. And that’s the reality of life on a daily basis in Ireland. I would like to think I would have the choice if that sad day ever came.
Imagine being forced to carry a child to full term who is never going to live outside the womb. Imagine going to the supermarket and having a family friend ask “How are you?” “Are you excited?” “Is your hospital bag packed?” Because they don’t know. Horrific is the only word I can think of. And inhumane.
I hate when people say “Oh, that’s only one case“. It’s not only one case. And I don’t care even if it was. This idea of punishing all women because you don’t a agree with one set of circumstances is just wrong.
I understand the importance of life, but I just don’t agree with the state putting the same value (if not more) on the life of a foetus versus a living, breathing woman. Especially when her life is in danger.
The 8th Amendment is far too constricting to be of help to anyone.
I’m personally not voting for abortion, I’m voting for CHOICE.
The 8th Amendment, by Ciara Kenny
That’s just some of my thoughts and reasons behind why I’m supporting Repeal The 8th. You don’t have to agree with them but please take the time to educate yourself on what this vote means.
And please be careful about what you read online, particularly on social media, in the run-up to the referendum. There’s a lot of outrageous lies being spread in a very deceptive way. A lot of sites and sponsored posts claiming to be unbiased are actually far from that.
- Lauren did an amazing piece on Everything that you need to know about the 8th Amendment,which was one of my proudest moments of missy.ie.
- The Referendum Commission has published information on their website. You can read it here.
- In Her Shoes – Women Of The Eighth are sharing very powerful stories from the women of Ireland on their Facebook page.
Please Register To Vote!
I remember being so excited to Vote in my very first election. I think its because I studied history all through my academic career and therefore I understood the importance of my vote and I also knew the sacrifices other women had made to get me that vote. So, please don’t ever be flippant about that right. It wasn’t always a given.
If you are 18 you can register to vote by printing out this form and bringing it to your local Garda station and then your County Council. It will take you 30 minutes. Forms are also available from your local post office, library, garda station and local county council offices.
Even if you cant vote…
I know a lot of you will not be eligible to vote in this upcoming election, but I urge you to have conversations with your parents, grandparents and olde siblings, even if they’re uncomfortable conversations. Convincing yourself that your opinion and thoughts don’t count is a huge disservice to yourself.
And also, please try have a word with the younger men in your life. I think sometimes they’re a bit too intimidated to educate themselves about “women’s issues”. Every vote counts and just because they don’t possess the anatomy doesn’t mean that the 8th Amendment won’t effect them in years to come. It could be their mother, sister, partner, friend. It could have been their grandmother. Encourage them to support this vote.
It’s time that we move onwards from this very dark part of our history in Ireland. Repeal the 8th.
I hope that you all have a lovely May and best of luck to everyone studying for exams. You’re almost there!
P.S email me anytime firstname.lastname@example.org I’m sometimes slow to reply, but I will always get there eventually!