Referendum debate: ‘I don’t believe in abortion, but I believe in choice’

By Amy Donohoe

I believe that the eighth amendment needs to be repealed as Ireland imposed shame and abuse on women for years.

Women were stripped of their human right and treated as second class citizens.

Today, they still don’t have full control of their bodies. The Irish Constitution displays an outdated attitude towards women. Article 41.2 states that “by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.” and “mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”


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Archbishop McQuaid played a part in writing the Constitution and he was obsessed with controlling women. He didn’t agree with the introduction of tampons in 1944 especially for 'unmarried women'.

He also opposed health care for women in case women might be informed about contraception and sexual health.It wasn’t until 1985 that condoms were allowed to be sold to people over 18 without having to present a prescription.

I don’t believe in abortion, but I believe in choice. I believe that every woman should have a say on their own body and that they shouldn’t be dominated by the church and our outdated constitution.

Women need good healthcare. We export our problems overseas instead of caring for them at home with respect and compassion.


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Last weekend I went to an anniversary mass, but instead of praying for that person, the priest stood up and began to preach about his opinion on the eighth amendment as if he was superior to the rest of us.

I felt paralysed, I wanted to leave but if I did leave I would’ve been judged by the neighbours and shamed my family.

I believe in God but I don’t believe in the Irish Catholic Church and I don’t believe it was fair that the priest indirectly told people how to vote.


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Our country used to drop our pregnant women and girls off at the gates of institutions that hid them from the nosey neighbours and the church. Our girlfriends, wives, daughters, sisters and mothers are dropped to the departure gates at Dublin Airport.

They are forced to travel to other countries to access basic healthcare services and we deny them necessary aftercare when they return. They are forced to order illegal abortion pills online.

If you vote no this will still happen, but if you vote yes we will be able to give women the healthcare they need.

It's time to trust women to make the right to make decisions that are right for them and their families. The eighth amendment currently gives the unborn an equal right to life as the mother, which prohibits abortion in almost all cases.

If we vote yes we are voting for “provision made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”

Abortion will be accessible within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


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The medical practitioner will have a legal obligation to discuss the woman’s options with her. A three-day waiting period will be enforced. After the 72 hours has elapsed, an abortion pill will be administered to women who choose to continue with the abortion.

After 12 weeks abortion will only be performed if the woman’s life is at risk. Two doctors will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.

After 24 weeks abortion will only be allowed if the foetus will not survive outside the womb. If the amendment isn’t repealed none of this will be allowed. Abortion will only be allowed if the woman’s life is at risk.


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Abortion will not be used as a form of contraceptive.

We can trust women in Ireland to make the right decision. If you vote no, nothing will change and the eighth amendment will continue to ruin existing lives.

Women will still travel abroad and take abortion pills.

This is a once in a lifetime referendum and every vote counts.

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