4 Reasons You Should Vote Yes On May 25th (Even If You Disagree With Abortion)
As the May 25th referendum races towards us, so much of the conversation is about picking sides – fair enough, considering it's a Yes or No vote. But in all that side-picking, we can forget just what that means. Alan Flanagan has four reasons why you should vote yes for repeal, even if you disagree with abortion...
1. It's A Constitutional Nightmare
There is a lot of talk about exactly how abortion might be legalised in Ireland, but it's worth remembering that at its core, that's not what this referendum is asking you. It's asking whether the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution – which gives equal protection to the fetus as it does to the mother – should be removed. Whether you agree with abortion or not, it isn't hard to see how this amendment is a headache for Bunreacht na hÉireann, and our legislators. If we don't remove it, nobody, no matter what their circumstance is, can access abortion. It places the ins and outs of healthcare in a document that can only be changed by referendum. Speaking of which...
2. It's A Medical Nightmare
We're sadly familiar with the ways in which abortion restrictions have led to untenable situations in recent and not so recent history – just ask the doctors who've spoken out about how hard the Eighth can make their job. Removing the Eighth from the Constitution allows medical professionals to make the medical decisions they’re trained to make. And it allows their patients to receive adequate care and make informed decisions.
The Masters of the National Maternity Hospital, and the Rotunda Hospital, experts from the World Health Organisation, the President-elect of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the chair of the Institutes of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists all support repealing the Eighth Amendment.
3. Abortion Didn't Go Away Because Of The Eighth
Well, actually, abortion did go away. Specifically it went away to Britain (among other countries). Abortion is old – thousands of years old, and whether legal or illegal it's always been around.
The argument that the Eighth stops abortion doesn't add up when nine people a day leave Ireland for an abortion, and thousands every year order abortion pills online. Abortion is a reality in Ireland. Current legislation isn’t stopping it. By leaving the Eighth in the Constitution, we’re simply continuing to export abortion, and encourage illegal and unsafe abortion at home.
4. The Referendum Isn't Asking Your Opinion On Abortion
In all the debates and the fighting this can be easy to forget: this isn't an opinion poll on Ireland's feelings about abortion. The question being asked is not “do you agree with abortion?” – the question is “do you think someone should go to prison for having one?”.
There are many things that we may personally disagree with but we don't think that they should be illegal. Abortion can be just the same – something that you wouldn't have yourself. But not something that women should risk their health leaving Ireland for - or even go to prison for. Because that's what we're being asked.