Ok, so I’ve kept quiet with my views on abortion & Repeal the 8th for a while now. Partly because I feel like who wants to hear my opinion? However, the main reason is that I am not very good at articulating what I want to say when faced with confrontation. I become frustrated which leads to anger and obstination. A trait that I can see in my father so I am giving him credit for it! It is getting harder to keep it to myself lately, especially with it being in the news or on social media daily. So I will stand with the other people who are calling for a change and support their cause.
I spoke about this recently on Twitter when a topic about how kids are afraid to voice their pro-life opinions in school was discussed. When I was a very young girl I was pro-life as I believed everyone should be. I was Catholic and I thought the world was as easy as black and white, yes or no. Abortion was wrong. When visiting Dublin city centre I was bombarded with messages that abortion was wrong. Vivid images of dead fetus’ were advertised in favour of pro-life. I was a young girl, horrified by this. Looking back it is not something that any child should be exposed to. However, as I became a teenager I started to see the grey side of life. Not everything was easy. I remember in second year, I was 14 approx., a religion class was taught by a lady who taught Sunday school in my local church. Ireland was still very Catholic in its schools back then so most religion teachers were opinionated regarding beliefs. This lady taught her class on abortion and explained in detail how different abortions were performed. Not once did she show empathy towards women who had abortions, nor did she explain different explanations as to why women chose abortion. Towards the end of class a discussion began. A very vocal and one-sided discussion about women who chose abortion, how they were murderers and how could anyone be that heartless etc. I spoke up, which was unusual as I was quiet spoken back then. I voiced my opinion about rape and how when a woman is fertilized through rape, why should she be forced to have a child she doesn’t want and be constantly reminded of her ordeal. Well, I became a bit more unpopular as a result. The girls in my class started shouting at me, trying to make me feel bad for my argument and continued to give me verbal abuse. This class taught me not to speak up as much, however, it did not change my views.
Living in a Catholic country has meant that pro-life views have been the dominant voice in this debate for many years. That is why I get so frustrated seeing pro-life people saying that pro-choice people are so loud and overpowering. They are annoyed because for years they were smug and had the government in agreeance with them. They are getting scared now. The government is starting to change their views. The Catholic church no longer has the pull that it used to. People are grown and see that life is grey.
Pro-choice and people who want the 8th amendment repealed are not saying that they are pro-abortion. Some people hate the fact that it has to exist. They are just fighting for people to have a right to choose. Everyone deserves to make their own choices. When I vote for abortion to be introduced it is not because I want to have one. Nor is it because I want to force people into having one. However, by Irish people voting to save the 8th, they are forcing people to live by their choice. How is that fair?
Ireland has evolved so much over the last few decades. It was a country I was proud to be from when Gay marriage was voted in. Catholics can marry other religions without the stigma attached years ago. Bi-racial couples are welcomed. Couples are choosing to live together and have children together without marriage. Divorce was voted in two decades ago, thank god. I made a choice to marry, nobody forced me into it. I also chose to end that marriage, made easier by the fact Ireland no longer disagreed with separation and divorce. If I was forced to remain in my marriage I know I would not have survived. I have the choice to look upon my marriage as a learning curve and I can move forward thanks to the majority who voted for the right to choose divorce.
Make no mistake abortion is not an easy decision. I know women who have chosen it and it is upsetting. But none of them have regretted it. Women make mistakes, and it is rare that I hear of them having more than one abortion. They learn from their mistakes. Raising a child is a tough job. I do not have kids, I would if I could afford to on my own but in this country that is near impossible unless you want to live off the state. This does not mean that I have had an abortion. Though some people do class the morning after pill as one. These are probably the same people who disagree with contraception.
When I was a teenager I discovered a friend at the time had one at the age of 12. She became pregnant after her grandfather had sexually abused her. She wasn’t the only grandchild apparently either. How can people not empathise with that? I find that the hardest. Pro-life voters are choosing for victims of sexual abuse to be put through more heartache. Do not get me wrong I have no doubt it still is a hard decision for these girls and women to make, but it is their choice.
I read a personal story this evening of a twenty-four-year-old who had to travel to Liverpool to be induced early. Her child would not survive after birth. This was confirmed multiple times to her by professionals. She was twenty weeks pregnant so would have months of people innocently asking her about her child. She had to wait four weeks before making the journey overseas. The poor girl had to bring her child home in a coffin in the back of a car. When people say that to “choose love, choose both” what they are really saying is choose our decision. To say that these mothers who have to make that heartbreaking decision then travel to another country to deliver their children do not love their kids is slanderous and hurtful and mean. No one ever gets over losing a child. They already blame themselves for the cause of their child’s illness and everything else that they are not at fault for. Why put them through more pain?
What about the women who may die as a result of their pregnancy? Is that choosing both or loving both? They don’t love their child any less however they have to fight for their right to live. Why take away that right? Pre-internet I would have been told to stop exaggerating, however, is this not how this campaign came to light? There are more and more of these cases being shared.
So yes, maybe Repeal the 8th is being shouted loudly and it might come across as forceful. However, this is just the voices of people who are fighting back after years of being hushed. For centuries this country held us under the rules of the Catholic church. The hypocritical church. The church who told us not to use contraception. Who only have men in power and who are not allowed marry when marriage is a sacred oath. They hold women in second place, put them in laundries and gave their children away without their permission. Making them feel shameful and using them as slaves in the laundries to pay their way. This is a church that refuses to acknowledge Gay rights yet hides the pedophilia that is a virus amongst its clergymen.
So whenever the referendum takes place I will be voting for it to be Repealed. I may never choose abortion for myself, however, I will not stand in the way of my fellow countrywomen who need this service. It is their choice, not mine. I only hope that women and men can see the Repealing the 8th does not mean pro-abortion it just means what it says on the tin, Pro-Choice.