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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why I'm Going To Celebrate The 8th...by Sinead Slattery

The 8th Amendment ensures the equal right to life and importance of all Irish citizens – both the life of the mother and the life of her baby.

I have listened very carefully to the testimonies of Irish women who face a crisis pregnancy and I believe we need to work far harder to find better and more civilised ways to respect and understand their circumstances and concerns in this difficult situation. Despite all of the conversation and debate surrounding the 8th Amendment, the only government report commissioned to identify the factors which contribute to the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and the issues which resulted in women choosing the option of abortion was in 1995 (Women and Crisis Pregnancy Mahon, Conlon and Dillion).

We need a new report and we need a truly enhanced and sincere pro-women environment where women don’t feel like they have no other choice than the option of abortion. I care about women’s rights very deeply and it is my view that women should not have to decide between having their baby or finishing college; having their baby or choosing their career; having a baby or paying unaffordable childcare costs. 

I find it deeply disturbing that should a women experience regret, distress or physical side effects following this procedure, such as preterm birth in her next pregnancy; she is told that it is her fault. She is told that she either has a severe mental illness, she was coerced into the procedure by someone else or she had a negative attitude to abortion to begin with. No accountability is taken by those who carried out the abortion even if the procedure results in her dying in the back of a taxi. Liberalising abortion does not solve the underlying issue, it merely masks it and in my view, women deserve better than this.

We have shown the world that we are a humane society which stands up for the rights of every individual, especially minority groups. The 8th Amendment is a proof point of this as it ensures that each human being in any Irish hospital is given equal medical care and goodwill regardless of their health, their ability and their gender.  This is not the case in many countries where children who have been given a diagnosis before they are born of potentially having a life limiting condition, a disability or they are simply identified as being female.  Whether they are allowed to be born is something which will be decided upon at the discretion of another.

We cannot deny the devastating effects that this would have on our society should we repeal the 8th Amendment and liberalise abortion. We only have to look to other countries to see the devastation that abortion wreaks on human dignity. One in every four human lives are ended in England and Wales before they’ve had a chance to be born. Denmark has set itself a goal to be Down Syndrome free by 2030 and over 160 million baby girls are aborted in countries and cultures where baby boys are revered more highly than baby girls. 

To infer that abortion can be restricted is misleading for many reasons. One example of this is the interpretation of wording e.g. in England and Wales, a cleft palate and club foot are deemed “severe disability” and therefore any baby diagnosed with those conditions can be aborted right up until birth.
I am in favour of choice…but I don’t know any human being that would choose the ending of their own lives, often times very violently, at someone else’s discretion. So if we wouldn’t choose it for ourselves, then why choose it on behalf of the smallest, youngest most vulnerable in our society?

The unborn don’t have a voice, they’re too small. They need yours and they need the protection of the constitution and it is for this reason that I’m going to be there on June 4th to help celebrate the 8th Amendment and find out how I can use my talents to help protect this life-saving provision.

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