Both sides appeal to undecided on Repeal

Vote Yes and Vote No posters on display on Aungier Street. Credit: Amy Connaughton

A POLL published in late April showed a third of likely voters still undecided on the ‘Repeal’ referendum – with 47 per cent saying they were vote Yes and 28 per cent No.

Both sides have been struggling to persuade the undecided in the vote to remove the constitutional ban on abortion.

GP Tiernan Murray of Doctors for Choice told the Liberty his group is “lending a medical voice to public meetings on the issues of women’s reproductive rights and the 8th Amendment. We have also developed a series of five factsheets, to help inform the public of the facts and challenge misinformation about abortion, and ultimately reduce abortion stigma.”

A spokesperson for the Save the 8th Campaign said its main aim “is to inform the people of Ireland that if the 8th Amendment is repealed there will be abortion on demand in Ireland. The 8th Amendment currently offers the only protection to the unborn child.”

The referendum on May 25th will ask voters whether to remove the amendment that was voted into the Constitution in 1983.  The regulation of termination of pregnancy is an issue that has divided the Irish electorate for decades.

“Repealing the 8th would mean removing a human right from the Constitution,” Cora Sherlock, deputy chairperson of the Pro-Life Campaign, said. “The only way to ensure that everyone is protected in our society is to keep the 8th Amendment in the Constitution.”

Síona Cahill, vice president for equality and citizenship of the Union of Students in Ireland told The Liberty: “The reality is that abortions are happening in Ireland, and regardless of whether you yourself would ever consider having an abortion, it’s about who you think should get to decide.

“Should it be the Constitution, or should it be a private, personal decision made by the pregnant person with the guidance and support of their doctor? The 1983 amendment didn’t ban abortion, it just made the abortions that happen unsafe, or it has forced people abroad.”

The No side argues that there should not be a referendum. “There is nothing democratic about holding a referendum to remove human rights,” Sherlock said. “Democracy provides for the protection of the human beings living in society. Unborn children are the most vulnerable members of society.”

Doctors for Choice said the 8th Amendment is bad for women’s health because it stops doctors “being able to offer medical advice to all of our patients. It needs to be removed so that we can support our patients to make the right decisions for them in their individual circumstances.”

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