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Repeal the 8th - have we talked about Ireland's 'abortion war?'

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DorothyGarrod Mon 14-May-18 10:35:54

Nine women A DAY travel to the UK a day to access an abortion. I am vehemently pro-choice and I'm really hoping the law is changed as a result of the referendum in Ireland later this month. Even women who have been raped are not allowed abortions in Ireland!

I haven't seen much discussion of this on here, but perhaps I missed it when I was writing to my MP about changes to the GRC wink but I found this Standard Issue podcast which explained the issue to me and it is well worth a listen:

Part One:

Part Two:

I'm scared to feel hopeful about the outcome of a referendum though...

ludog Mon 14-May-18 10:41:22

I'm afraid that the people in the middle, the undecideds will go for keeping things as they are and vote NO at the last minute. There is so much misinformation out there and it's hard to get to it all and refute it. I'm disappointed in some friends who have declared as no voters and pleasantly surprised in others who have come out as yes. It's going too be extremely tight either way but I really hope YES swing a victory. It was my first time voting in 1993 and it's my daughter's first vote now.

DorothyGarrod Mon 14-May-18 10:50:02

ludog, part of me wonders why men get to vote on something that affects women! It is peak patriarchy for me.

ludog Mon 14-May-18 12:26:24

I just met an acquaintance I would have thought would be yes and am shocked he's a no. However, I think I've given him food for thought. I also said to him if, in conscience, he feels he can't vote yes to please consider not voting no either.

MoltenLasagne Mon 14-May-18 12:41:19

I've got Irish friends who have said that they're going to vote no because the campaign doesn't go far enough to legalise and they'd rather wait for a better referendum. I find it baffling and completely unpragmatic but don't feel it's my place to challenge when I'm not in Ireland.

I worry that combined with the swing voters it's going to end up with a no vote and kick the can another 30 years down the road whilst more women die needlessly.

DrMantisToboggan Mon 14-May-18 12:55:12

've got Irish friends who have said that they're going to vote no because the campaign doesn't go far enough to legalise and they'd rather wait for a better referendum. I find it baffling and completely unpragmatic but don't feel it's my place to challenge when I'm not in Ireland.

That’s completely nonsensical. There can be no provision for abortion unless and until the 8th amendment is removed, which is what this whole referendum is about. And the proposal to be put on 25th May makes explicit reference to legislation which the government has indicated will offer abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks, and in limited circumstances thereafter.

Please do challenge your friends’ inaccurate analysis of this.

QuarksandLeptons Mon 14-May-18 20:34:27

In 2012, in a first world country, a woman was left to die after being told she couldn’t have an abortion because “Ireland is a Catholic country”

I hope Savita is never forgotten and I really hope this referendum leads to Irish women stepping out of the shadow of a dark patriarchal past.

QuarksandLeptons Mon 14-May-18 20:34:58

Thanks OP for posting

smithsinarazz Mon 14-May-18 23:00:55

@MoltenLasagne that's bonkers! If they were asked "Cake or death?" would they vote for death on the basis that they'd rather have some first course too?

Littlelambpeep Mon 14-May-18 23:05:17

Live in Ireland. Lot of people I know (in their thirties) voting no. I am a yes and really hope so. Poster literally 'you were not aborted ..were you ?' outside our home.

People are very anti abortion here.

Cunstancemarkiewicz Mon 14-May-18 23:20:01

I'm quite worried about the referendum. I've had a lot of conversations and the picture of who will be voting which way is much more complex than it's portrayed. Sure, "no" voters are more likely to be older, rural, more conservative etc but you'd be surprised how many well- off, well-educated people in the leafy areas are walking around with "No" badges the size of dinnerplates. There are many reasons for that but apart from anything I don't see the "Yes" campaign getting through to the undecideds. I'm old enough to remember the 1983 referendum and things have changed so much since then. But Irish people are surprisingly weird and squeamish about abortion even now. And hypocritical, obviously as we go to the UK in our thousands.

DrMantisToboggan Tue 15-May-18 10:18:24

Anyone watch Claire Byrne Live last night? What a shit show.

Cunstancemarkiewicz Tue 15-May-18 21:46:10

Yes, it was bad. No-one came across very well apart from Mary Lou and I'm not usually a fan of hers. There was no debate at all, just shouting.

ThatEscalatedQuickly Tue 15-May-18 22:16:24

There's a long running thread in AIBU about the Repeal campaign and there's quite a few Irish posters on there discussing the issues.

Cwenthryth Tue 15-May-18 22:43:34

I have donated to an Irish pro-choice campaign group, I forget the name now. Other than that I don’t have much to say I guess, I’d expect to most posters on FWR it’s a no-brainier that we support the repeal campaign, but at least for me personally, I have no Irish connection, and no idea what else I could do.

CiderwithBuda Tue 15-May-18 23:01:49

I really hope it passes. I’m originally from Dublin. A lot of my friends and family on FB are def yeses. In fact my male gay godson is actively campaigning for yes - very proud of him.

LassWiADelicateAir Wed 16-May-18 00:16:48

ludog, part of me wonders why men get to vote on something that affects women! It is peak patriarchy for me

You are making the assumption a majority of women would vote in favour of abortion. That may well be a mistake. Opinion polls in the UK for example consistently show considerably higher support by women for restricting abortion than by men.

I watched the first and last ten minutes of Irish tv debate. I certainly would not pin my hopes on it being women who will swing it to yes.

I thought Mary Lou McDonald spoke well as did the doctor (Peter something) Who was the horrible dark haired woman in the red top?

Cwenthryth Wed 16-May-18 07:54:13

What I don’t understand, in places where abortion is illegal, is - abortion still happens. Not providing safe accessible abortions to your citizens doesn’t mean all women carry their pregnancies to term. Ireland just exports their abortions, or women turn to drastic measures themselves, or use drugs purchased online etc. So not having safe accessible abortion available just puts women’s lives at risk, it doesn’t stop abortion.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 16-May-18 07:59:09

Cwenthyrtyh - I suppose the pro-lifer argument would be that the state shouldn't sanction abortion. For instance - violent assault still happens in countries where it's illegal, but that's not an argument for making violent assault legal. Plus I imagine there would be more abortions if Ireland legalised termination, as not everyone is currently able to go to the UK or buy abortion pills online.

Slightly worried by this thread as I'd hoped repeal would be a given.

qazxc Wed 16-May-18 08:12:10

I live in Ireland ( unfortunately can't vote in the referendum as I'm a French national). It unfortunately isn't looking hopeful.
Lots of misinformation from the no side, and posters all other the place.
Reading comments on Facebook, it's not only the older generation that will be voting no.
People with ridiculous reasons for voting no (lets stick it to the government).

LassWiADelicateAir Wed 16-May-18 08:37:54

Possibly there will be a "silent Tory" factor amongst yes voters- where one side is very vociferous and the other keeps quiet.

Although I was very surprised on the Clare Byrne programme that of 6 doctors in the audience who spoke (2 men and 4 women ) 3 of the women and 1 man were against it. The male GP who supported abortion did say he was part of a group of gps in favour.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 16-May-18 08:57:26

I wonder - and I say this reluctantly as I'm in favour of abortion on demand - if the government have made a mistake by saying that if the 8th is repealed they will introduce legislation to allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks.

It might have been safer to announce plans to legislate for abortion only for rape, incest and when the woman's mental or physical health is at risk - surely the vast majority of the population would support this. Then consider legislating for abortion on demand a bit further down the line.

QuarksandLeptons Wed 16-May-18 08:59:11

Watching with bated breath as an Irish expat.

Thanks for the links to the podcasts OP. So much of the history of the repression of women and their reproductive rights since the incarnation of the Irish state. Some really shocking information in there regarding the medical interventions created to enable women to have as many pregnancies as possible to the detriment of their health and life.

Also, I hadn't realised that the 8th amendment was added as a reaction to the Roe versus Wade case in the US amid fears that Ireland would follow the same path.

^"Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since the foundation of the State. The British 1861 Offences Against Person Act, which imposed a criminal prohibition on abortion which was punishable by penal servitude (later becoming life in prison), became part of the legislature of the Irish Free State in 1922 following independence from Britain. While abortion remained illegal in Ireland, there were dramatic changes to abortion laws in Britain, Europe and the United States. In 1967 the British Parliament passed the Abortion Act, providing for a range of circumstances in which abortions can legally be carried out. Following the legalisation of abortion in Britain the numbers of Irish women travelling to England increased significantly, reaching 3,600 in 1981 – the same year that the Irish anti-abortion lobby group, the Pro-Life Amendment Campaign (P.L.A.C.) was launched.

In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the famous Roe v. Wade case that women had the right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution. The decision built on earlier case law around privacy and contraception. The same year that Roe was decided in the US, the Irish Supreme Court had held in McGee v. Attorney General that a right to marital privacy was implicit in the Constitution, and therefore that married couples were permitted to import contraceptives for their own use. Both these cases led to fears among the conservative right in Ireland that abortion could be eventually become legal in Ireland too and by the began to campaign for a constitutional referendum to reinforce the ban on abortion.

The anti-abortion campaign, P.L.A.C., with the help of the Catholic Church, launched a successful campaign convincing the Fine Gael-Labour government of the time to hold a referendum on abortion, despite many politicians at the time expressing anxiety with the wording that P.L.A.C. wished to insert into the Constitution.

The campaign was bitter and divisive but the eighth amendment was passed by a majority of two-to- one (67% to 33%, on a 53% turnout of the electorate). As Professor of Law, Senator Ivana Bacik has written, the eighth amendment “is uniquely misogynistic, in that it expressly sets up the right to life of both the pregnant woman and the foetus that she carries in conflict – anticipating that a time would come when somebody would have to decide between them.”^

LassWiADelicateAir Wed 16-May-18 10:03:25

It might have been safer to announce plans to legislate for abortion only for rape, incest

I think that would have been worse. You have 2 classes of "innocent babies" - one class can't be murdered and one class can. That is me being devil 's advocate should there be a doubt but that is how No would spin it.

DrMantisToboggan Wed 16-May-18 10:11:30

Lass the horrible dark haired woman in the red top was Maria Steen from the Iona Institute <shudder>

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