Repealing The Eighth Amendment – What Choice Will You Make?
As a young man growing up in Ireland, the concept of abortion never once crossed my mind. Why should I care? It has nothing to do with me. This is the attitude I had right up until recently. When the announcement was made that there would be a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, I started to subconsciously weigh up both sides of the discussion in my head.
Obviously, we all want to be on the right side of history. But that doesn’t simply equate to following the opinions of the majority. Our generation disagree with our elders about multitude of things. But in this case, we are really witnessing a true conflict of opinion. But what does repealing the Eighth Amendment even mean?
The Eighth Amendment
“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.”
As a man, before any of this became present on social media or even in the general media, it was extremely difficult to have a concrete opinion. I am a man, I will never experience what it is like to carry another human in my body. For this reason, I’ve never really let myself “pick a side”. Why should I? I reckoned this referendum was nothing to do with me. So why should i have the right to make a decision on behalf of the women of Ireland?
But over the last several months, I have witnessed the sheer volume of support behind the #repealthe8th movement. This can’t go unnoticed. I have always given my full attention to someone who speaks passionately. No matter what the topic is. When someone speaks with true passion in their words, true confidence in their opinion, I will listen to what they have to say. And so should you.
Is There A Concrete Argument To Vote No?
I remember years ago, being in school, and seeing some people campaigning for abortion rights for women in Ireland. I thought nothing of it at the time. It was weird seeing people promoting it. At the time, I couldn’t see any reason why anyone would want to get an abortion. Bear in mind, I was a young teenage lad from Dublin, growing up in a Catholic community. I didn’t care about it at all. Subconsciously, I didn’t care about the rights of women in my own country.
Now that this debate has become a reality, I have not dismissed the #savetheeighth campaign. I have read some awful stories which really open your eyes to some of the unsettling aspects of abortion. Below is an excerpt from a story I read on save8.ie:
“I was an agency nurse in Sydney Australia in the early 90s and I was on a ward one night when a woman had come in for an abortion. She was 22 weeks pregnant and had been told her baby had a chromosomal abnormality. I went into the sluice room and I saw the baby, a 22 week old baby boy, in a kidney dish in at the sink where all the clinical waste was flushed. He was small but he was perfect. You could see his toes, his hands, he seemed like he had blond hair. He was the full size of the kidney dish and he was alive. I could see the rise and fall of his chest, he was breathing,” she said.
“I was a young nurse and I did not know what to do.
Because this was an abortion I wasn’t allowed to intervene, I couldn’t get help for the baby, I couldn’t hold him or comfort him, or get oxygen for him or ask anyone to help him live. To see that baby trying to breathe, and nobody helping him, was so distressing and it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Ms Ní hAllacháin. “I fear for nurses like me if this abortion proposal is passed, and for the culture it will create in Irish hospitals. I fear that doctors will be expected to sit in judgment on the value of a baby’s life because of a suspected abnormality. There is a heartbreaking reality to repealing the 8th amendment and legalising abortion that is largely being ignored.”
Stories like these are awful, they’re traumatic and they shouldn’t happen at all. But are they reason enough to be voting against the repeal of the eighth amendment?
Does abortion culture exist?
If an open and fair debate were to be had, it would be important to discuss the abortion culture in our neighbouring countries. Remarkably, as of November 2017, only 6 per cent of Irish people were aware that just across the Irish Sea in England,one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion. Some 98 per cent of these abortions occur due to social reasons, and 37 per cent are repeat abortions. That’s 20 per cent of my generation, the Millennials, missing.
According to the same Amárach research, only 10 per cent of Irish people knew that in England and Wales 90 per cent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb are aborted. If we were to repeal our Eighth Amendment, in the short to medium term, we could expect a similar abortion culture in Ireland. Thankfully, the Irish rate of abortion is much lower than this. Additionally, we can safely say that tens of thousands of lives have been saved thanks to our Eighth Amendment. In fact, each of us knows at least one person who is alive and with us today because of the Eighth.
This piece was taken from an article written by Katie Ascough for the Irish Times.
Katie recently made waves due to the controversy surrounding her impeachment as president of the UCD student council. Katie was supposedly guilty of letting her personal views towards abortion get in the way of her duties as president. Not to debate Katie’s points, but we’re aiming to keep this article as truthful and informative as possible. The statistic used of ‘one in every five pregnancies end in abortion’ referring to England, has been debunked. According to the Department of Health, the abortion rate in 2016 was 16.0 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44 in England and Wales. Also important to address is the use of Down Syndrome in this debate. When it has been stated that potential disability and Down Syndrome are not grounds for abortion under the proposed Irish legislation. So the inclusion of this statistic although being true, is irrelevant and misleading to the Eighth Amendment debate.
Regardless of your gender, this issue affects everyone. You have the responsibility to vote in the upcoming referendum. But more importantly, you need to be fully informed.
Why you should vote yes:
Lindsay Baker Kerrigan:
On May 25th 2018 you will be asked to vote on whether or not to repeal the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution. The difference between a YES vote and a NO vote is detrimental and I will explain why. A NO vote means no to changing the 8th amendment. Absolutely nothing will be changed and the 8th amendment granting the equal right to life to both the unborn and the mother will remain. By voting YES the 8th amendment will be CHANGED. It won’t be just completely abolished as some people think, allowing for regulated and restricted abortion for cases up to 12 weeks.
I’d like to emphasize this part of repeal because the pro-life side fail to inform people of what repealing the 8th amendment actually entails, which is NOT abortion after 12 weeks (referring to a poster which reads ‘6 months is horrific vote no’) Funnily enough I agree with that poster, 6 months is horrific, but that is NOT what you are being asked to vote on. If you are against abortion and plan on voting NO because you want to ‘save lives’, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s what your vote will do. Because the women who need or want to have an abortion will still attempt and most likely succeed in having it. Either illegally by pills or by going abroad.
By voting no you are not saving lives as many of the ‘pro-life’ posters say. You are only forcing the women carrying the fetus (emphasis on the word fetus because using the word ‘baby’ or ‘child’ is scientifically incorrect and also an emotive argument used by the pro-life side) to obtain an abortion illegally or abroad under more traumatic, more dangerous circumstances, but nonetheless the abortion will happen.
Who’s life is more valuable?
I find it disheartening and disgraceful that on the pro-life side there is more of a concern for the unborn than for the independently living and breathing woman carrying it. Your life does not begin at conception. It begins at birth. The woman carrying the fetus has already put years of work into striving towards the life she wants. She has real-life relationships. She will have to suffer major consequences and unwanted life-changes by being forced to carry her unwanted/crisis pregnancy to term, so why do we have more compassion for a fetus than for a human being?
Abortions are happening in Ireland. They will continue to happen even if you vote NO. So why not make abortions safe and legal by voting YES to change the 8th amendment that has been nothing but a disservice and a danger to women since 1983?
What would a yes vote mean?
If the Eighth Amendment is repealed, in other words, if you vote Yes, here’s what will be brought into legislation.
- Abortions will be permitted without restriction up until 12 weeks.
The reasoning for this was to cover cases of rape and incest. It is vital to stop the use of unregulated and dangerous abortion pills.
- Abortions permitted after the 12 week mark will only be performed in cases of fatal fetal abnormality. It will be allowed in some cases of serious risk to the mother’s life or health too.
The vote will take place on Friday the 25th of May in your local polling station. It is SO important that you cast your vote as every single vote counts. Both sides of the campaign are very passionate about their beliefs which implies that the vote will be tight. If you are still unsure about which way to vote, do your research. Talk to your friends and family. Listen to BOTH sides of the campaign and make an educated decision.
This was taken from Megan Hussey’s recent blog post, you can read the rest of it here
The time for contemplating is over. If you plan on voting on May 25th, you need to make your decision now.
Don’t be on the wrong side of history.
SJB & GQ.
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