Days away from Ireland's referendum on the Eight Amendment of the Constitution, which could open the door to a new abortion law, two readers from our sister publication, U Magazine, shared their reasons on why they're voting "Yes" and "No" on Friday.
There's no denying that the upcoming referendum on Friday has stirred up emotions on each side of the debate. If you're a staunch YES or NO voter, it can be hard to imagine where the other is coming from.
People on each side of the debate feel that they are right, and often there's no room for understanding the opposing view. With that in mind we asked two, each steadfast in their decision, to tell us why they came to their conclusion.
Read more: Young Americans are campaigning against abortion in Ireland - and lied to get there
Why I’m voting NO
- from Anonymous (as requested)
Abortion involves the ending of a human life – of another, defenseless, human being – and this is why I’m voting no.
Thanks to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act passed in 2013, abortion is now lawful where the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including a risk of suicide. I feel this goes far enough but it was noted on Claire Byrne Live last week that a mother had to be on death’s door before this intervention could take place - and that concerns me, but then that point was counteracted. If some clarity could be brought around this specifically, it would help.
A pro-life abortion rights march in Dublin.
If the referendum was limited to facilitating the legalizing of abortion just in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, I would strongly consider voting yes. But it’s not, and according to Mary Lou McDonald on Claire Byrne Live, to frame the referendum specifically around that circumstance is too blunt a legal instrument. I didn’t understand what she meant by that.
I watched the Claire Byrne Live Referendum Special attentively as I wanted to become more informed but I just came away confused, and it was nothing to do with how Claire Byrne handled the show. I felt both sides were twisting the truth to suit their own arguments and they couldn’t even agree on particular medical definitions which are surely outlined in standard medical textbooks they all adhere to. I felt I could trust what Maria Steen said in that debate because she sticks strictly to the facts and the principle underlying her argument is very simple but I didn’t trust the others.
Here's the full Clare Byrne show:
I find the yes side in this referendum is very intolerant of the views of the no side, whereas I don’t feel the no side act similarly. I find those on the yes side focus their argument on the rights of the mother as if they are blissfully unaware there is another life involved, or they just choose to ignore it. This makes it difficult for me to be as open to canvassing from friends and acquaintances voting yes as I should be.
Another factor I’m bearing in mind is a yes vote will allow the Oireachtas [parliament] to pass laws regulating the termination of pregnancy and I will have no control over what the Oireachtas does when it is in that position.
For all of these reasons, I am voting no.
Read more: Immigrants call for overseas vote as they travel #HomeToVote in abortion referendum
Why I'm Voting YES
- from Nicola McGillicuddy
On May 25th I am voting YES in favor of repealing the 8th Amendment primarily for two reasons. Firstly, because I trust Irish women to make the right decisions for their bodies, their lives and their futures. A yes vote shows our girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers and friends the love, respect and compassion that they deserve. Unless we vote yes will not be able to account for cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, rape and incest. The hard fact (presented by our leading obstetricians and gynecologists) is that under the 8th Amendment, a woman is expected to continue with her pregnancy even if her health may be significantly damaged. This must change.
Pro-choice march in Dublin.
Secondly, I am voting YES because a no vote will not stop abortion from happening; it is already here, just not legal (and unsafe as a result). Victims of rape and incest, women with FFAs and threats to their lives, and women who find themselves in the difficult circumstances of an unwanted pregnancy will continue to arrange their own termination at their own cost (minimum €1200), or alternatively order unregulated medication online putting their lives at greater risk. A no vote will only continue to export the issue and shame Irish women who have already struggled to come to this difficult decision. “Abortion on demand” does not exist; no woman wants an abortion, sometimes they need them.
Our women who find themselves with a crisis in pregnancy deserve more than this; they need the best possible healthcare at home in Ireland. Repealing the 8th Amendment is not about removing rights, rather it is about re-balancing rights and giving the necessary and appropriate care to Irish women. Repealing the 8th Amendment will bring Ireland in line with the majority of other European countries.
On May 25th let’s trust Irish women. Let’s give Irish women choice. Let’s vote YES.
Read more: Silent crisis pregnancies of Ireland’s Repeal the Eighth debate