As the divisive referendum proposing to Repeal the Eighth amendment culminates at polling stations across Ireland on May 25th, an audio documentary shares the bleak realities that Irish women have faced in generations past.
“At the airport, I had a moment...I was in searing pain and I just looked around at first of all, what my country had forced me to do, the position my country had put me in, the government..the church.. The conservative way of life that has led to women being treated like this. How could my country put me in this position?"
Dublin Institute of Technology student Aisling Gill collated stories from women of varying generations, backgrounds, and moralities - who are united by the common experience of being shunned by a country that does not support women facing a crisis pregnancy.
The firsthand stories and experiences of these women portray the shock, panic, fear, shame, and loneliness of traveling to the UK for a procedure unavailable to them in their home country.
While the women interviewed were equally met with empathy from medical professionals or family, they were presented with no viable options.
The sombre statistic of nine Irish women traveling daily to the UK for an abortion has been well documented - but actually hearing the detail of these women’s journeys, what many determine to be the most difficult decision of their lives, makes for heart-rending listening.
You can listen to the documentary in its entirety, via Soundcloud here.
Very proud to have taken part in this audio documentary but absolutely terrified to share my story.I’m not ashamed of my decision at all. It allowed me to live a life I wanted to live, rather than a life I was forced to live. Please #BeMyYes #RepealThe8thhttps://t.co/VtXMPSskIk— Katie O'Hara (@KatieCaseyOHara) May 24, 2018
Meanwhile, hundreds of returning expats have landed in Dublin Airport eager to have their voices heard. Their journey home to cast their vote is in solidarity with the estimated 170,000 women who have been forced to leave Irish shores in order to obtain an abortion in the last four decades.
Tomorrow I make the journey home to have my say in my future, and the future of my country. I'm flying for the women who aren't able to, the women who can't afford to, for the women who shouldn't have to. The stories being shared over the past couple of weeks have left me with a heavy heart. Seeing what women, absolute strangers, have had to go to, because somebody has made the decision for them. I'm flying home because I believe in a democracy, but I also believe in women. I believe that the 8th amendment does more harm than good. I believe that it is time for a change. I believe that abortion will happen either way, and I feel that nobody should be shipped off to go through the physically and mentally grueling process. But most of all I believe that I, and only I, should have a choice over what I do with my body. I refuse to be a vessel. I refuse to tell any woman what she is to do with her body. I refuse to accept that anybody, other than myself, can make decisions about what I do with my body. I fly tomorrow, so others won't have to. #repealthe8th #flyinghometovote #repeal #sayYES #mybodymychoice #imnotavessel #hometovote
Tomorrow is an extremely important day for Irish women. Ireland will hold a referendum on repealing the 8th amendment of the country’s constitution, which effectively bans abortion. If the electorate repeals the eighth it would allow for the government to legislate on terminations. Reproductive rights need to be continuously defended not only in Ireland but also all over Europe as conservative & reactionary governments make attempts at cutting a woman's right to choose to have a safe abortion. #repealthe8th #together4yes #voteYes #hometovote #prochoice