In this weeks post I am going to address that referendum! Now before you go closing the page or rolling your eyes thinking that I’m going to starting listing of reasons why you should vote YES or NO, know that I am not here to tell anyone what to do, unlike the Eighth Amendment (OK I couldn’t let that one pass!).
When the news broke that the Cabinet had agreed to a referendum on the Eighth Amendment the first thing I did was source article upon article about what the Eighth Amendment is and why the decision came to be that we will be heading to the polls in May. I wanted to be informed before I went shouting out my thoughts on the matter, which unfortunately so many others fail to do so before putting up ‘that’ post or video.
I took to my Instagram stories to type out my thoughts and here I will elaborate on them with you.
Firstly for those of you who are still confused as to what the Eighth Amendment, which was introduced in 1983, is, here is what it says in the Constitution,
“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.”
Basically, abortion is illegal and an embryo or unborn child, has the same rights as the woman who is carrying it and will be treated as such.
Fun fact! Ireland is the only democratic country in the world to Constitutionally ban abortion.
Now there is a referendum, I am urging people, that no matter what your views are, to please get informed. Educate yourself on both sides of the argument (vote) and make an informed decision when May comes around.
For my generation it is the first time we are able to have our say on the Eighth Amendment, ensure you are registered to vote, whatever your age, unless you’re under 18 of course, and be part of the discussion properly.
Register to vote here. Check if you are registered to vote here.
Choose your source of information carefully! In referendums such as this, propaganda videos and posters crawl their way into our social media feeds and unfortunately people take it as fact, because they are not checking the source. We saw it happen during the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum in 2015
And yes propaganda isn’t just a word that is used when talking about Hilter and WWII.
It is also important to note that the Repeal the 8th campaign is not a fashion statement, it isn’t a trend and it isn’t something you follow ‘just because’. Support it if you wish, yes, but not because your friend wears the jumper and you think it looks cool af, because you believe in it and know exactly what it represents.
We all have questions and concerns, which is natural. At present what we know is that repealing will allow for safe and legal abortion unrestricted up to 12 weeks and restricted thereafter to cases of fatal foetal abnormalities or when there is a serious risk to the woman’s health. Women will be able to chose to avail of these services should they (and in some cases their partner) see fit. The decision will no longer be Constitutionally dictated and abortion will no longer be illegal.
Sex Education in Ireland
What the Government also needs to do now, is completely overhaul the sex education system in Ireland. Many comments have been made that legalising abortion will see women use it as contraception. Personally I’d rather take a pill or use a condom than go through the trauma of abortion. However these concerns are real, so lets get educating everyone properly around the importance of and how to practice safe sex.
Properly! Not talking about periods and the birds and the bees, about contraception, the importance for men and woman to use it and the different forms available. About consent, about pregnancy, about STI’s and all that fun stuff, I mean not giving them tips or positions cause that’s weird. And now educating everyone on abortion. (this subject alone is an article in itself!)
Ireland isn’t comfortable with talking about sex, but lets change that.
For those who spout abstinence, can we please just all cop on! We all have hormones, we are all human, we all have natural urges and sex isn’t something people should miss out on. If people find if difficult abstaining from a piece of cake then how can you expect them to just abstain from sex.
Abstinence is a totally unrealistic argument, educating people on safe sex is a simple solution.
Whichever way you vote is up to you. It should be our responsibility as Irish citizens to get informed on the subject before making up our minds, it is all I ask.
As for how I’m voting? Well that one I’m keeping to myself.
4 thoughts on “Eighth Amendment Referendum – My Plea To Ireland”
Hi Aoife, great post. I’m thinking of writing a short piece on the upcoming referendum myself and this has been a thought-provoking declaration for the need to understand and empathize.
Keep up the good work.
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Thanks so much Benjamin. Glad you like it and that it gave you some food for thought. Link me to your piece when you get it finished, I would love to read.
Fantastic post, puts everything I’m thinking into words beautifully. I just did a quick search to see what other posts are out there after I made my own post in relation to the propaganda outside my house and I thought it was funny, we both made reference to Hitler! One of my huge arguments (although I haven’t actually posted about it on here yet) is that the sex education is unbelievably bad here in Ireland and if we had better education and less shame around sex, the pregnancy rates would go way down. It’s laughable (if it wasn’t such a serious issue) how people don’t see the correlation between, well everything really, that’s another 1000 word post really… Good on you for using your voice 🙂
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Thank you so much! Im glad you liked it and that Im not the only writing about this topic but with this angle. Sex education is most certainly another post, or five, on its own! And yes Irelands attitude towards sex needs to change drastically, but I feel we are beginning to get on that path now!