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Repeal the 8th

Photo credit: David Smith - "Time Travellers for Choice"

The amendment to the Irish constitution which proscribes abortion was introduced a month after I was born, a few years after Roe v Wade decision in the U.S., the Pope's visit to Ireland and a failed Supreme Court of Ireland action by anti-abortion campaigners to block the sale of contraceptives. It is a historical anachronism.

Sending Irish women who are seeking an abortion to England to get one is an ongoing and unnecessary imposition of judgment and misery. We owe foreign medics for facilitating this need otherwise Irish women would be dying from botched procedures (though a woman died only a few years ago during the legal machinations to get a medically necessary abortion). Instead we send them to England and pat ourselves on the back for being morally superior. I sat with a friend years ago on a long, dreadful evening before an early morning flight to London Stansted so she could have a termination. I won't speak for her and her reasons, but she was very young and felt it was her only choice. She wished it was different and hoped to have a child one day. She flew over, alone, was given a number and the deed was done. Why should she have had to fly to Stansted and be referred to by a number? Why was this young girl treated like a criminal in her own country? This is surely the argument for what has always been a women's health issue. You cannot stop abortions from happening, but you can support better mental and physical health outcomes.

Irish women are citizens of the Republic and deserve to have their needs facilitated in their own country and by their own health service. Having made a very hard choice, usually in secret, they at least deserve to be called by their name.

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