Simple steps to having your voice heard (even if you can't come home to vote) for the 8th Amendment referendum on May 25, which could change abortion law in Ireland.
As an Irish woman, living overseas right now is pretty frustrating. I can’t vote, I can’t canvass, and I can’t have conversations by the microwave at work or over drinks with friends, about why it’s so vitally important that we secure a Yes in the referendum on May 25th.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do some real good. Whether you’re in London or Los Angeles, Sydney or Singapore there are things you can do to make a big difference in getting the Eighth Amendment repealed, and it’s as easy as picking up the phone…
If you’ve lived abroad for less than 18 months, you may still be eligible and on the register. Make the one trip home to vote, so that the nine women a day who travel for an abortion will no longer have to take that journey.
We’ve already heard from hundreds of people across the world who are flying home to vote yes. Not only will you get to have your say, but your efforts might just encourage others at home to get out to the polling station too.
Visit hometovote.com for more information.
Donate to Together For Yes
Getting the word out there to undecided voters is essential over the last two weeks of the campaign. But combating misleading posters and scaremongering campaigns costs money. If you’re an Irish citizen, visit togetherforyes.ie to make a donation now.
Whether you want to write a long email, get a WhatsApp group going, make a Skype call or simply pick up the phone, make contact with your people back home. Having non-judgmental, honest and open conversations is the only way we’ll secure a yes vote.
Your dad, your sister, your granny, your old lecturer from college, your friend from Senior Infants… Don’t assume anyone in your family or friend group is a sure yes, call them to check.
The conversations won’t all be easy but be candid about your reasons for supporting the removal of the Eighth Amendment and ask them to be your yes.
Support the Cause Online
Many of us think we’re in a social media bubble of like-minded people, but you never know who an article you share might reach, or how hitting ‘like’ on one personal story might encourage other women to tell hers.
Reach Out to Your Local Campaign Group
Together for Yes isn’t just an Irish movement, it’s a global one. There’s St. Petersberg for Repeal, Repeal NYC and the Melbourne-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign and lots of others in between. Reach out to your local group overseas and ask how you can help.
If you don’t have a nearby group, gather a gang of friends together for a mini rally in front of a local landmark, share it online and use the #hometovote or #bemyyes hashtags.
Get in touch with your local group at home too, every county in Ireland has volunteers out every night canvassing hard. See if Leitrim needs help with some photo editing or share Waterford’s new video on Facebook. Just because you’re not local, doesn’t mean you can’t still play a part.
Show all those tirelessly campaigning in Ireland that your standing with them in solidarity, wherever you are in the world.
* Claire McGowran is a volunteer with the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign and #HomeToVote.