There’s a referendum coming in Ireland, predicted to be on May 25th. You might have heard it being referred to as a referendum on abortion. This is not correct. It is a referendum to repeal an amendment which removes a person’s human rights on pregnancy. You don’t need to be in favour of abortion , to vote yes for Repeal, you need to be in favour of compassion.
This is Ireland:
1992. A girl, aged 14, raped by a friend of the family. Pregnant, unable to access abortion in Ireland, her parents plan for her to travel to England. They tell their local Gardai, enquiring about paternity testing on the aborted foetus in the case against the accused rapist. The Gardai inform the Director of Public Prosecutions and the case is escalated to the Attorney General. The girl is forbidden to travel, and having already done so, she and her parents return to Ireland. Despite the suicide risk to the pregnant teenager, a judge in the High Court deemed the greater risk was to the foetus. In an appeal, this decision was overturned and the girl was permitted to travel for an abortion. She miscarried whilst in England.
Savita Halappanavaar. Pregnant with a much wanted child, sadly miscarrying in a hospital in Galway. Her health rapidly deteriorating, and although the foetus was no longer viable, whilst there was a foetal heartbeat doctors were unable to perform any medical interventions which would have saved Savita’s life. Savita died in 2012.
A married couple, parents, given the devastating news that the foetus they were carrying had a condition that was incompatible with life. Their choices are no choices at all. Carry on, in Ireland, waiting. Knowing your child will not live outside the womb, having to smile and nod when people ask when you’re due, what you’re having. Or travel to the UK, and carry the remains of your longed for child home with you on a RyanAir flight.
In 2010 Michelle Harte was being treated for cancer and advised by her doctors to terminate the pregnancy because of the risk to her health. However, this was not allowed by the hospital’s ethics forum – stating her life was not ‘under immediate threat.’ Some several weeks later Michelle flew to England to terminate the pregnancy. She was so ill, she had to be helped to board the plane. Delays in receiving the healthcare she required meant the cancer went untreated and rapidly progressed. Michelle died in 2011.
You don’t need to be in favour of abortion to vote yes to Repeal; but cases like this are happening because of the eighth amendment. If we want to stop stories like this, if we want to stop this suffering, we have to vote to repeal the eighth amendment. Compassion is all you need, to vote yes for Repeal.