The Power Of The Youth Vote in #RepealThe8th
Saturday, May 26 was a historic day for Ireland. We voted in an overwhelming majority to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the constitution, thus bringing an end to Ireland’s restrictive abortion ban.
Ireland’s Minister For health, Simon Harris said “our country said to women, we stand with you. We said to women -take our hand, not the boat. It has been incredible to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we work to create a country which treats women with compassion. I will always be in your corner
The landslide result for the Yes side really took everyone by surprise as the campaign was often very divisive. But in the end the Yes side won with 66.4% of the vote. And it seems that the Youth Vote was a major factory in the victory.
The Youth Vote
Often young people are dismissed as “snowflakes” and “more interested in their phones”. But the passion from young people during the campaign was inspiring.
The Youth Vote is seen as what pushed the Yes side to such a large victory. Almost 90% of voters under 25 appear to have voted Yes. The Irish Independent called the referendum result a “quiet revolution, a youth-quake”.
There was a generation gap that the youth vote helped bridge. Young people are being credited with undertaking difficult conversations with family members and presenting facts and figures that ultimately swayed people. Social Media also played a huge part in securing Repeal.
We saw the passion of Missy.ie readers on social media and the frustration in not being old enough to vote. In what was described as a once in a generation vote it was particularly hard for those closing in on 18 to deal with the exclusion, especially when the result would affect their future. But its obvious to see that they didn’t just sit back. Conversations were still had. Views were sill expressed. And support was still given. We think serious consideration should be given to lowering to voting age to 16.
Unfortunately just because we have successfully voted to Repeal 8th doesn’t mean that anyone can now access abortion Ireland. The vote just meant that we were ok with removing the eight from the constitution. Now the government have to legislate for this. There have been some drafts of the new legislation floated around, but nothing is set yet. The new legislation will have to be drawn up and debated and then passed through the Oireachtas. So, we are still looking at a ban on abortion in Ireland until the end of the year. But calls have already been made to urge the government to move as quickly as possible on this.
We are also not finished with Referendums in Ireland this year. The Independent reports that we are set to vote on two other archaic additions to Ireland’s constitution in the autumn. The first one will be to remove the reference that women belong in the home.
“In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.” and “The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”
There is no room in modern Ireland for describing women in such a stereotypical way. We are also set to vote on the removal of blasphemy as on offence. They sound straight forward but if this referendum has taught us anything is that some people just love arguing for the sake of it.
If you’re approaching your 18th Birthday before the end of the year make sure that you’re registered to vote.