I can't tell you how many times I have considered writing this article. I can't tell you how many times I scrapped the remnants of my sentiments, dragging them once again into the trash on my computer. I can't tell you how many people told me not to write this.
I have never been shy about sharing my views on things or speaking my mind when I felt like their deemed a cause to do so. Perhaps there were many times when I should have kept my mouth shut, and many may say that this should be one of those times.
However, what is the point in having a voice if you don't use it? I naturally shy away from offending people or from expressing an opinion which some may find offensive, but this cause directly effects me; and I don't believe that I should hide behind the curtains in fear of ruffling a few feathers. And with the date for the referendum so close on our horizon, I don't think now is the time to just post one's colours to the mast; come what may.
So, I am choosing to vote yes. Before you label me as a 'murderer' or an 'uninformed millennial'; please understand that I have actually excavated both sides of the argument to minute levels, because I do understand what an important issue this is, and I want my first time voting to be something that I am proud of.
I do not wish to launch an attack on the 'Pro-Life' side of the campaign; as even though I do not agree with their opinion, I do not wish to deny them the right to one.
But, I would like to express my disgust at the marketing campaign which the figureheads of the 'No Campaign' have engaged in; simply because a ridiculous amount of them just aren't accurate. It is incredibly unfortunate that they have had to engage in 'fear mongering' in order to try and win this referendum, as it seems that they don't even believe in the facts to stand behind them.
- The various posters which say 'If you believe in Abortions after 6 months are wrong, Vote No' or '6 months horrific' are all just simply inaccurate. By removing the eighth amendment, we would be looking at abortions up to 12 weeks, which by all calculators clearly points to 3 months; half of what the no side is insinuating.
- All ads referencing Down syndrome are something that I find particularly despicable because 'Down syndrome Ireland' specifically asked the No side not to include them in their campaign, but they went ahead and did it anyways. The truth of the matter is though, that those tests cannot be carried out until at least 10 weeks of pregnancy, with a usual one week waiting time for results. That means that by the time expecting parents would find out the results, they would only have 4 days to choose to get an abortion, making this as a reason being extremely rare, and not widespread like the 'Pro-Life' side is suggesting.
- The other fear mongering parts of the campaign are just so false that it's scary; I even came across an ad that said that '77% of women who get abortions also get breast cancer'. I don't even have words for the desperation of the attempt to scare people into a no vote.
What will actually be happening, if our country chooses to vote Yes, is that abortions will be made legal up to 12 weeks, after 72 hours of counselling and care to make sure that women are making informed decisions.
But what we all have to understand is that this referendum isn't actually about deciding if abortions will be taking place, because, whether one likes the idea or not, they are taking place anyways. This referendum is about whether we should believe that women should be entitled to the care & compassion they require when having to make such a huge decision.
People also tend to forget that this is not just about women having to make these decisions, but when the decision is taken away from them by fetal abnormalities or other deficiencies that mean the fetus is incompatible with life; but because of our laws, women are either forced to carry to term or forced to make harrowing journeys to England as their country has failed them. The facebook page 'In Her Shoes' has helped in consolidating my decision in this matter, as it provides so many stories & so many different circumstances which women have had to face, in a country that does not care for them.
I understand that some people see abortions in a very different light to myself, and would never dream of having one themselves. But once again, that is not what this is about. Just because you will never have an abortion yourself (and I respect fully that decision), doesn't mean that you have to deny other women to being able to access safe procedures for all the harrowing circumstances that women find themselves in. You just need to approach this with compassion for the women out there who require your compassion.
We do not want you to shame women for their decisions; its 2018, and I would hope that the days of pointing fingers and slut shaming women was gone for good. I have heard many arguments that 'women have brought this upon themselves, and have to face the consequences', but I thought that those attitudes belonged in a different century.
I really could try and push my point forever and ever, but I will continue to come back to what kind of Ireland you wish to live in today. We laugh at the practices of the past, and poke fun at the realities of the Catholic controlled country of our past; and I would hope that we are not going choose to go back to those ancient ways of thinking. To think that in 1986, the people in Ireland voted no to legalising divorce, only for it to be legalised in 1996. Or to think that up to 1985, even contraception was illegal and had to be illegally imported.
So do we want to take a step backwards in our history, or to move forward into more free and compassionate country, who puts the rights of its inhabitants first.
I could genuinely go on until the cows come home, but I invite you to research the issue yourself (preferably through fact based sources) so that you can make an informed decision on the 25th of May. I hope that I will be joining you all, no matter what gender, in the polling stations so that we can all take part in such a major moment in our history.