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The 8th amendment

The 8th Amendment has been repealed, but women are still travelling for abortions as we await the appropriate legislation. 

The constitutional impediment to abortions in Ireland is now gone, but there was a delay in actioning the amendment to the constitution after a Dublin woman appealed to challenge the referendum result.

On yesterday's anniversary of the 8th Amendment being voted in, the Supreme Court decided to clear the way for abortion legislation to proceed in the Dail by dismissing her challenge appeal. 

Linda Kavanagh, spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign said: “It was frustrating to see these attempts to block the will of the people of Ireland, but we’re glad to see that this obstruction has been cleared away.'

'Now more than ever we most focus on bringing in legislation and services to provide abortion care to everyone who needs it in Ireland.”

She continued “While legal challenges are part of the democratic process, we are relieved that this petition is finally dismissed. It was another in a long line of stalling tactics which the people of Ireland have had to endure while waiting for the full range of reproductive healthcare options here at home.'

'Since 66% of voters said “Yes” in the referendum on May 25th, over 1000 people have travelled to get abortion care, and others have imported safe but illegal abortion pills.'

The Abortion Rights Campaign wants to make abortion and reproductive care accessible to all, regardless of financial restrictions. 

'We now must ensure that no one gets left behind when legislation and guidelines are introduced. We’re marching on September 29th to demand that this legislation ensures the free, safe and legal abortion care that we have always asked for, and that the Irish people voted for on May 25th.'

The theme of the march this year is “Free, Safe, Legal. 

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Last month, Ireland voted to repeal the 8th amendment to our constitution which makes abortion in this country illegal. 

Since the referendum vote, the Government has been debating and discussing the best ways to introduce the full spectrum of reproductive rights into our health care system.  

However, one retired priest and author of God Sense or Nonsense Fr Con McGillicuddy took to pen to paper to detail how he felt that mother and baby homes should be reintroduced as the alternative to abortion in Ireland. 

A letter sent in to and printed by The Kerryman local newspaper was photographed and shared on Twitter

'As an alternative to this recurring problem may I suggest that the Department of Health provide an alternative to abortion. It could do so in this affluent age by providing assistance to the women so afflicted – like finance as well as medical and psychological aid.'

'In bygone years a cash-strapped government relied heavily on nuns to labour in mother and baby homes on frugal subsidies to care for mothers and their infants. Health standards were very sub-standard then, resulting in high mortality rates for infants and mothers.'

'The Department of Health could now provide mother and baby homes, with all services included, emphasis on privacy for the women, or provide services for the women who opt to live on their own.'

'When their babies are born, the choice would be to retain their babies or place them for adoption.' 

'A practical and beneficial spin-off would be that infertile couples could adopt 'unwanted' babies in Ireland, sparing them the ordeal of travelling abroad and having to cope with intricate legal restrictions.' 

'Politicians should consider and debate this alternative, as our government seems to be completely fixed on abortion.' 

His letter has caused uproar on Twitter, with many hoping that the piece is a work of satire. 

However, Fr McGillicuddy is known to spend his spare time penning letters to newspapers in a bid to 'uphold the Catholic faith.' 

'It’s like going back in time reading the letter! Decades of abuse – physical, mental, sexual and deplorable treatment of women and babies,' one Twitter user wrote.

This week, the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries united in Dublin to be honoured at Áras an Uachtarán and the Mansion House.

Many of the over-200 survivors, now aged in their 80s, faced brutal, horrendous treatment at the institutions.

'The treatment of vulnerable citizens in our industrial and reformatory schools, in the Magdalene Laundries and in Mother and Baby Homes represents a deep stain on Ireland’s past, a stain we can only regard today with great shame, profound regret and horror,' President Michael D Higgins told the women.  

'It is sobering to consider that many women were also victims of the cruel and degrading regimes of Industrial or Reformatory Schools before being referred to the Laundries, and so many were intimidated into a silence by the abuse of authority of one kind or another,' he said, according to The Journal. 

'Ireland failed you. When you were vulnerable and in need of the support of Irish society and its institutions, its authorities did not cherish you, protect you, respect your dignity or meet your needs and so many in the wider society colluded with their silence.' 

Many have called for the suffering of those in mother and baby homes and other Catholic institutions be commemorated historically in a museum. 

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Backed by the Abortion Rights Campaign, “Repeal” is a new Irish short film which was officially released on social media yesterday.

Written and directed by Karl Callan, “Repeal” is the story of three women and the difficulties they encounter in the face of abortion laws in Ireland.

The narratives within the film are all based on real life testimonies from people who have been directly affected by the 8th amendment.

Karl was inspired to make this film by cases such as Savita Halappanavar and the “Miss Y- case” and his goal is to shine a light on what is happening every day in Ireland as a result of the current law.

It is his hope that those who are currently undecided may feel inclined to vote Yes after seeing the film.

“I researched the stories, spoke with women I know that had been through similar situations. I also spoke to medical professionals and learned of the difficulties they go through as a result of the restrictions put on them.

"I wanted to be sure that the film was as realistic as possible,” says Callan Having seen “Repeal”, the Abortion Rights Campaign are happy to lend their support to the film and they gave a short talk in the IFI on Easter Saturday where the film has a private screening.

The film was produced by Karl Callan, Aaron McEnaney, Sofia Bwcka and includes a cast of Irish actors and filmmakers involved in Ireland's thriving film scene notably Maureen O'Connell (writer/director of Proclaim! Award-winning short film) and Lynette Callaghan (Raw, The Clinic).

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