For the courageous and steadfast campaigners seeking to Repeal the 8th amendment to the Republic of Ireland constitution, this “Yes” or “No” question could secure the end to 35 years of an appalling human rights violation, and a constitutional appetite for forcing women to be pregnant against their will.
This is an amendment which, since 1983, has equated the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus. It’s an amendment that criminalised abortion in all cases except where continuing the pregnancy would result in death (and that additional exemption only since 2014). And it’s an amendment that is on the brink of being abolished.
Today, a simple “Yes” is a vote for the over 3,000 citizens of the Republic of Ireland who currently have to travel to England, Scotland, Wales for safe and legal abortion care every year. That’s 10 women a day.
10. Women. A. Day.
The Coalition to Repeal the 8th have given a voice to each and every one of them, and to the many others who risk their liberty (a 14-year jail term) buying abortion pills from online providers, or risk their lives through unsafe methods at home.
Today, a simple “No” is a vote for this barbaric injustice to continue.
Thanks to the work of these campaigners, many members of public and law makers have been educated as to how the 8th amendment can have a detrimental effect on ALL pregnant people living in the Republic of Ireland, and how abortion care is simply the provision of a basic healthcare option like any other. They have made people see that the 8th amendment violates international human rights standards on women’s rights.
Their amazing campaigning has included marches for choice across the Republic of Ireland; striking for repeal; 205,000 chalk marks outside of the Irish Embassy in London for every woman travelled; iconic REPEAL jumpers; haunting spoken word poetry and public art; and sharing powerful testimony.
And now, all their work has cumulated in this one date. Friday 25th May 2018.
Today, the women of Ireland will have their say on their bodily autonomy.
For these resilient campaigners, the fight isn’t over until the 8th amendment is repealed. Every member of Abortion Rights would like to both congratulate them on their incredible work so far, and to show solidarity in their final push towards incredible and historic change for the people of Ireland.
Franki Appleton, Abortion Rights Executive Committee Member