I have never been quiet about my own personal feelings on controversial issues, but I have also never been overtly forward on pushing them either. That all changed for me during the Same-Sex-Marriage campaign of 2015. I don’t know whether I’m older, or grumpier, or just tired of everyone thinking they have a say on how other people live their lives; but whatever it is, I’m not staying quiet any longer. I appreciate this issue is very divisive. Its personal, emotive and very raw for many people, but it has to be addressed. And until it is I will be posting different topics, explainers and reasons why I support Repealing the 8th Amendment.
I posted a picture of me wearing a ‘Repeal’ jumper in support of the campaign on my Facebook and I offered to speak with anyone who had any questions or queries on the issue in a confidential and non-judgemental way. I say, and mean, non-judgemental, because if I start to judge… well the irony of asking people to stop judging, while judging myself is not lost on me. This is a complex issue with a lot of angles and I accept that we all see those angles through our own lens. However, I did get contacted by a number of my connections with specific questions and I am going to keep track of these and try and answer them here as best I can.
Like most Irish women I grew up just accepting that a woman couldn’t get an abortion in Ireland, and that ‘shady’ women would have to travel to England because they got themselves into trouble. When I started college I met some ‘shady’ women, and realised quickly that they were not all that different to me. I also learnt that contrary to all my philosophical beliefs, pregnancy is impossible on your own. Any woman in trouble is part of a pair, but only one of the pair will pay for the ‘mistake’.
This was still all philosophical until 2012 when the death of Savita Halappanavar inflamed the debate. Savita’s tragic death highlighted just how dangerous the 8th Amendment was. The 8th Amendment was not just preventing the ‘shady women’ from getting an abortion, it was letting a woman die rather than help her. Doctors chose to let a nice, married lady, with a wanted pregnancy to die, needlessly, rather than face the consequences of the 8th Amendment. Savita was a game-changer for many of us, myself included.
I will add that I am not a spokesperson for the campaign, I’m not a law person or a medical person, anything I write is merely my own thoughts and feelings on the issues. Abortion has affected many women in my life, and statistically you’re codding yourself if you think you’ve been unaffected. If you have sisters, nieces, daughters, even mothers and grandmothers, then you likely know someone who has been touched by abortion. This conversation needs to happen and this is my small way of contributing.