‘….Scared of being on the wrong side of history. Scared of being too influenced by the campaign on social media. Scared my opinion is invalid due to my lack of empathy and distance from the cause. Scared of those who have made their choice. Scared of those who have regretted theirs. Scared to offend. Scared to ever have to choose. Scared to repeal. Scared to retain. Scared to march. Scared not to.’
I wrote the above a few months ago as I sat alone in a quiet Dublin bar, minutes before March for Repeal took to O’Connell Street & desperately trying to decide whether or not to take part. I read over my words again and again as they revealed a fatal flaw in my neutral standpoint – this balancing act between sides and this indecisiveness would simply not do. It was my responsibility to educate myself. And so I educated myself.
I thought about the religious-driven argument, and how it’s important to respect the beliefs of others no matter how alien they are from our own. I also thought about the gay marriage referendum back in May 2015 when the ‘no’ campaigners waged war against love. I thought further back to when divorce was illegal, and the ‘no’ campaigners waged war against genuine marital breakdowns. I saw a pattern – forced sexual orientation, forced marriage, forced pregnancy. This is not something I can get behind.
I thought about the criminal-driven debate in which the ‘no’ campaigners compare abortion to murder. Knowing many good people who are capable of abortion but not capable of murder, means that this comparison does not sit well with me. Murder is defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” It has not been and cannot be scientifically nor legally proven that a fetus is a human being. This is not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact. Abortion does not equate to murder.
I thought about how Amnesty International, a global movement whose sole purpose is to protect human rights, have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the Eight Amendment due to its blatant violation of women’s rights.
I thought about the potential medical implications and the mental health concerns, the rape victims and the minorities, the scared teenagers and Ann Lovett and Savita Halappanavar and the broke and the broke and the broken.
And then I stopped and thought, this is not a vote to continue or stop abortions. Abortions happen everyday, and will continue to do so. You will not save a life by voting NO, but you might save one by voting YES. You do not have to get an abortion. You do not have to morally agree with abortion. You just need to consider this –
How dare a man drinking pints in a pub in Kildare, decide that the broken stranger crying on the floor in Galway, should carry a pregnancy for 9 months against her will? How does he know her story? Why does he care? Will he be there for her? Why does he not trust her?
Your opinion as an outsider in a situation that does not concern nor impact you, does not deserve autonomy over the opinion of the person who’s world depends on it.
Challenge the story you’ve been told.
Repeal the eight amendment.