5 Things to Consider Before Voting #RepealThe8th

With only 5 days to go until the Referendum which will decide if the 8th Amendment is Repealed I’ve devised 5 things to consider before voting. Written in the hopes that this may help those who are on the fence, sway those who are leaning towards a no, and encourage those who aren’t bothered voting, to get up off their bottoms and vote Yes! This is an extremely important referendum from a political, social, and humanitarian stance. Ensure you make the right decision not just for you, but for the women of Ireland past, present and future.

1. Abortion is already in Ireland…

You are either in a huge state of denial or are extremely naive if you believe that just because abortion is illegal in Ireland that we don’t have it here. Women in Ireland either have to purchase illegal abortion pills online (an estimated 5,600 women sought abortion pills in this means over a 5 year period), or the women of Ireland are forced to travel to the UK to access safe abortions.

So, if it’s already happening here, and we are all fully aware that it is, no matter how much certain people want to stick their heads in the sand, why not allow it to happen in a safe and secure manner? Why not allow it to happen in far less horrific and stressful circumstances than having to arrange flights and hotels etc, or face a possible prison sentence.

2. It’s not about personal preferences…

The amount of times my mouth has dropped when I’ve heard people from the No campaign state (or state a variation of) “I don’t like abortion and I don’t want it here.” Em, excuse me, but just because you may or may not like something that is really not a dignified reason to condemn others to a society that shames and ridicules them. Nobody likes abortion. That’s not what this referendum is about. You’re not going to walk into a polling station on May 25th and be greeted with a voting card that asks you if you do or do not like abortion. This referendum is based around choice. Hence why it’s the Pro-Choice side. Being anti-abortion is perfectly ok, if that’s your opinion that’s your opinion. But being anti-choice is not ok. No other human being has the right to take a choice away from another human being.

3. Pro-Life or Pro-Birth?

The No side campaign seems to operate under the idea of being Pro-Life and “loving both” yet I’ve seen and heard plenty of evidence that would insinuate, that if anything, they love neither. The No campaign is directed towards birthing all these babies, but once they’re out of the womb they’re somebody else’s problem. See this quote from Sister Joan Chittister. And yes, you did read that right, a Catholic Nun spoke those words.

I agree with her sentiments wholly. I don’t know about you, but to me any child brought into this world deserves the utmost of care. They don’t just deserve a birth, they deserve a life. For over 30 years the same people who brought in the 8th Amendment have done nothing to increase the standard of living of mothers and babies who need support, whether that be financially, emotionally, physically or mentally. Now that the 8th is under cause for Repeal, they’re all up in arms, making false promises for the second time around. Are we really going to trust these people to implement resources who have done nothing but let thousands upon thousands of women in Ireland down for decades?

4. Is it really any of your business?

If you’re on the fence about what way to vote, have a good hard think about the question I am going to pose, is it really any of your business?

Personally, whether yer wan up the road has a baby or not does not affect my life in any way, shape, or form. Believe it or not, it doesn’t affect yours either. As I’ve stated, thousands of women in Ireland have sought abortions for years and years, you knew this was happening, everyone did. But think about it, those women you don’t actually know, and probably will never know, who chose to have abortions for reasons that are none of your business, didn’t impact your life one bit. I have seen scaremongering by anti-choicer’s making claims that are bizarre (See this article for examples) and can’t help but think if it hasn’t caused a dramatic decrease in our population for the past 30 plus years, it ain’t gonna do so now. Another way these claims make no sense is abortion rates fall when it’s legalised, the statistics are there, why try argue in a non-sensical manner over facts?

5. Who are you to take away our choice?

I wait with bated breath for the day a No canvasser comes to the door so I can ask them that question. I don’t have a hidden agenda when it comes to reasons for asking. I genuinely want to know why these people think they have some kind of right to deny me, and hundreds of thousands of women in this country the choice of accessing an abortion if needed. And I’m not looking for answers of what the Catholic Church thinks, or what certain groups think, I want you as an individual to look me in the eyes and justify you taking away my right to choose what is best for me. Cos contrary to what you might think, I am the only person who knows what is best for me. And what’s best is having the freedom to choose.

To conclude, I would ask you to leave all personal preferences, likes and dislikes at the door of the polling station. When you lift that pen to mark your vote, ask yourself “Do I want to maintain a patriarchal society in which women are oppressed and made to feel shamed for making a decision that is right for them?” “Is it any of my business what path a complete stranger believes is best for her?” “Will my voting against a woman’s right to choose actually stop abortion in Ireland?” “Do I believe those who made false promises the first time round?” If you hesitate in answering any of these questions,  or simply can’t answer them with a justifiable reason, vote YES on May 25th.

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