Irish voters give abortion arguments in under 60 seconds

Frederick Owens
May 27, 2018

"It is remarkable that the State, which, under the Wildlife Act, has so many legal protections for non-human life, is trying to remove the most basic right of the child in the womb", said Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross in a May 19 statement. "We're not providing healthcare by removing a very healthy baby", Dr McGuinness said.

Katherine Ryan has been called a "legend" by fans for her sassy response to a troll who told her to "keep her nose out" of Ireland's abortion referendum. Ireland "is taking the proper steps to separate church and state and to move forward as a more progressive country", said Conor Flynn, a 22-year-old student.

Opinion polls suggest the result is too close to call after weeks of bitter campaigning, with those backing liberalisation edging slightly ahead, but one in six people still undecided. "It just seems so outdated to them".

"More and more people are realizing that this government has planned to introduce an extreme abortion law, the only way to stop this is to vote "No"," said Mary Butler, an anti-abortion lawmaker from the main opposition party, Fianna Fail.

Her photograph showed her proudly posing with her passport with a cheeky grin on her face. "All of that is there. You're forwarding the flag on for women".

The vote will be tight, recent polling suggests.

A Sky News survey conducted this month found 47 per cent of voters were in support of the reform and 37 per cent were against, while an Ipsos poll commissioned by The Irish Times found 44 per cent were in favour of change and 32 per cent were against. The government proposes that terminations be allowed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. When we were at our most vulnerable, having to make these plans was an added torture. It's in stark contrast to the atmosphere during the referendum on gay marriage.

Without the Eighth Amendment, the well-being of women and their unborn babies would be left in the hands of whatever group of politicians happens to hold the balance of power at any particular time. No one expects that this time.

Anti-abortion campaigners have described the decision of Irish voters as a "tragedy of historic proportions".

"The conversation that has resulted in me going to the ballot box to vote "Yes" with certainty hasn't been a straightforward one", Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney wrote in the Irish Independent newspaper on Thursday.

It wasn't until I went to college in Dublin, when I was exposed to people talking about the amendment devoid of religious ideology, that I learned I was living in a country that led people to believe that the outcomes of pregnancy were either a birth or a natural miscarriage, and by protecting the 8th amendment refused to accept the myriad of health complications that exist in between. "Women don't want to get an abortion".

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Women continued to travel to Britain in droves to seek terminations.

Here is a snapshot of the global situation on abortion in countries where the laws are the most restrictive.

In an interview with Irish Tatler, she said: "You can use your womb if you want, it's the most attractive thing to do - if you want - but it's not our only reason to be put on this earth".

Unsafe abortions pose a grave threat to the health of women and girls. The Eighth is broken.

The new law would decriminalize abortion for women.

Many women see a sexist dichotomy running through the course of history up to the present. For opponents, it would be a betrayal of Ireland's commitment to protect the unborn.

"The cost of my travel home from Toronto to vote for a woman's right to choose is less than what I paid for when I was forced to travel to the access an abortion", she said in a blog post on Amnesty's website.

The church lost much of its credibility in the wake of scandals involving pedophile priests and thousands of unwed mothers who were placed into servitude in so-called Magdalene laundries or mental asylums as recently as the mid-1990s. "Women have died and they [the government] don't want to engage".

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that a "quiet revolution" had taken place, as voters chose to repeal the Eight Amendment. Even some who are ardently against abortion have conceded it is a complex issue.

"If we. vote "No", no doubt this will come back in a year or two and then we can look at the hard cases, but not a carte blanche free-for-all for up to 12 weeks", said Mattie McGrath, an independent lawmaker and prominent anti-abortion campaigner.

Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox. "It is a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore".

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