Tag: repeal the 8th

Why I went from pro-life to pro-choice

Why I went from pro-life to pro-choice

As odd as it is to think about this now, I used to be consider myself pro-life. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, this label I’d given myself meant that I was against abortion. My naïve reasoning for this was because in my eyes, it was wrong and I’d never have one because of this. Sixteen year old me was obviously extremely uneducated on the matter because the fact is, you never know when you might have to access an abortion. People need them for a lot of different reasons and you never know what situations you might, but hopefully will never, face in the future. The 8th amendment effects anyone who can get pregnant. Even if you still feel like there’d never be a reason you’d access abortion, that’s fine too, because that’s your own personal choice. You will never be forced to have one. But there are people forced abroad every day to access abortion, because they don’t have that choice to seek healthcare at home.

When I was pro-life I had debates with friends from school about abortion. I didn’t understand the complexity of what I was talking about and I have the social media receipts to prove it. It’s not that I wasn’t listening to anyone, but nobody was telling me the cold hard facts about it back then. It was just a bunch of teenagers who’d finished up their Junior Cert chatting amongst themselves. That was 2012, the same year that Savita Halappanavar died. That’s when my opinion started to change.repeal 2

The more people spoke about it, the more I started to educate myself and my mind changed completely. I won’t lie, what really altered my stance was seeing the devastating effects that the 8th amendment had on people that I’m close with. People I love that have been forced to travel abroad with their rapist because it was the only way they could afford and access abortion. Forced to have sex with him again the night before the abortion, because he was paying for it and that was that. He should never have been there. She should never have been put in that situation and every time I think about it I get so angry that I shake. People I love that have been forced to give fake names as their next of kin, when they end up hospitalised in England after complications with their abortion. The fear of God put into them because what they were doing was and still is illegal, terrified that their parents would find out if anything were to happen to them. Its grim, and its heavy stuff, but that’s the reality of the 8th amendment for people who have to access abortion.repeal 3

The 8th amendment does not stop abortion. People order abortion pills online every day. People travel abroad for medical and surgical abortions every day. If people can’t afford this, they do it at home the dangerous way using medication, alcohol and whatever they can get their hands on. Yes, it still happens. The 8th amendment does not stop abortion, if somebody needs one they will do whatever it takes to have one. The 8th amendment just makes it that bit more difficult for those in need.

People are forced to travel every day if their unborn baby is diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality. What these people have to go through is cruel and heart breaking, and exporting them abroad to access an early induction is not the answer for these cases. Some people may choose to continue on with a pregnancy after doctors have confirmed will not be viable outside of the womb, but the option needs to be there for e

arly induction too. Nobody should have to return back to Ireland without their baby, and receive their ashes by courier. Yes, this actually happens. You can read Tracey’s story about what happened when her daughter Grace was diagnosed with thanatophoric dysplasia here. 

We all know somebody who’s had cancer. But did you know that if you’re receiving cancer treatment and find yourself pregnant, that your treatment could be stopped? This because under the 8th amendment, the life of the foetus or embryo is seen as equal to the pregnant persons. So although the person who’s pregnant might have a young family at home that they need to look after, their life is still seen as equal to the embryos.

 

And sometimes, people just don’t want to be pregnant. It’s simple. A baby should not be used as a punishment for having sex. If somebody is not ready to be a parent for whatever reason, it shouldn’t be forced on them. People don’t want to be pregnant for a lot of complex reasons, and frankly it’s not our place to judge.

I’ve heard the words “But what if they regret it?” about people who need an abortion countless times. But sure, what if we regret anything we do in life? Should we not be trusted with making our own decisions? People who can get pregnant have a long history of not being trusted with their own decisions regarding reproductive healthcare in Ireland. This needs to stop, now. Vote Yes on May 25th.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the 8th amendment affects pregnant people in Ireland, head over to the In Her Shoes page on Facebook where hundreds of people have shared their anonymous story of accessing abortion.

This post was inspired by a post by Emily Donnelly, who wrote a post recently on why she went from pro-life to pro-choice. You can read it here. 

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“In the case of a fatal foetal abnormality..”

Many of us expressed frustration today, as Mick Wallace’s bill on abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities failed to get the support it needed from TD’s. As somebody who is a strong believer that we need to repeal the 8th amendment, I was frustrated too; until I really began to think about it.

“In the case of a fatal foetal abnormality” is simply not enough. It means that women are still not allowed to decide what will happen to their body, in the case of a crisis pregnancy. If this bill was to be passed, it would raise so many more questions; how fatal does a fatal foetal abnormality have to be before it’s deemed acceptable to terminate the pregnancy? Who gets to decide on this, and how? What type of abnormalities would fall into this category? With the state of Ireland’s medical system, most women would be almost full-term by the time the doctors had decided if her foetus had a chance of survival. And what about the women who are told, “Sorry, we’re not sure if your baby’s disease is fatal or not. You’ll have to carry on with your pregnancy and see.” How is that fair? And then there’s the women whose babies will be diagnosed with conditions that mean they will have no quality of life. Do they not deserve to abort their pregnancy if they choose to? “In the case of..” is just not a sustainable option.

It’s like when people say that abortions should only be available in the case of rape. Do they realise how long a court case can take? These things can take months, sometimes years. By the time somebody was convicted of rape, a child would already be born. And what if they were found not guilty of rape, but guilty of sexual assault? Where do we draw the line? In the case of repealing the 8th amendment, there is no drawing the line. It has to be all or nothing.

The decision on whether or not abortion should be made available in Ireland is in the hands of the Dáil. 78% of these people are men, who will never know what it’s like to fall pregnant. A vast majority of these people are stable in their finances and careers, and probably in their relationships too. This vast majority don’t know what it feels like to go through a crisis pregnancy, where you end up pregnant when you simply don’t want to be.

Enough of this talk of, “in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality” or “in the case of rape”. What about in the case of when a woman simply does not want to be pregnant? We seem to be skimming over the fact that unwanted pregnancies happen on a daily basis. What about the girls who are still in school, and want to experience a regular transition into adult life? What about the college students, who struggle to make enough money to look after themselves, let alone a child? What about the woman who already has four young children, and does not have the energy or financial means to raise another? What about these normal, everyday women? Do they not deserve a safe, legal abortion too?

“If they didn’t want to get pregnant, they should have used protection.” Moan the pro-lifers. Did you know that condoms sometimes break? Pills don’t always work? The implant isn’t fool-proof? And even if you didn’t use protection, it doesn’t make you a bad person. Uneducated about safe sex, maybe, but it doesn’t make you any less entitled to a safe, legal abortion than anyone else.

Recently I spoke to a doctor, and she asked if I had any plans for future contraception. I told her that I’d been researching the coil, and she said “Are you sure you’d want the coil? You seem very nervous.” And my response, “Well, a pregnancy would make me even more nervous.” It made me think, what would I do if I got pregnant at my age? My anxiety would sky rocket. I’d probably go mad. I’d be making myself physically sick with worry. But because of my own personal circumstances in life, I wouldn’t have an abortion. However I’d like to have the option to, and I’d like if other women were allowed to make that choice themselves based on their own personal circumstances. I respect that these women are able to make the best choice for themselves.

Until you’ve taken a pregnancy test while shaking, alone in a bathroom, or you’ve watched a friend burst into tears as a red cross appears on her pregnancy test, or you’ve seen a family member debate in despair about whether or not they can truly afford to have another child. You’ll never really understand what it feels like. You’ll never know the torment that these women go through, and it happens more often than we think. I’m sure the vast majority of us know somebody who’s had to go to abroad for an abortion, because our country is too backward to provide them here. Abortions need to be made available in Ireland, and it has to be all or nothing. There can be
no ifs, buts or maybes when it comes to such a serious repealissue.