Today marks two years since we made our voices heard on a national and international level. We succeeded in changing our Constitution again, for the benefit of all of our citizens. We Repealed the 8th Amendment.
From a personal perspective, it was a campaign that overtook my daily life. It was all over news & media, not to mention social media. You couldn’t go a mile down the road in any direction without seeing campaign posters. Most of these were against the repeal, and the images and slogans that they employed to imprint their stance on us will never leave me.
They angered me, upset me, often offended me, and it made me despair at times that such a seemingly large portion of our nation did not want their own women to have autonomy over their own bodies.
I am an open-minded person. I am empathetic towards others. I always try to consider & understand other peoples’ point of view, but on this issue I majorly struggled.
It became difficult to look past the abortion debate. That’s where the spotlight landed from day 1 and it’s where it stayed. You really had to invest yourself in looking beyond the headlines to understand the full scope of the repeal.
If you looked further and deeper into the subject, you would hear and read about so many women in the most heartbreaking situations, some unfortunately not alive to tell their own stories. These were all women broken by a rule, broken by a piece of paper. All women that could have been saved, either literally or metaphorically, had the rules been different. How could any of us say that women and families in those situations did not deserve the chance to be saved in the future? I could not empathise with the No campaigners. Just couldn’t.
Repealing the 8th was so much more than a “womens’ issue”. It means that our current generation and all future generations will have choice. Women will have a choice about what happens to their bodies. Couples facing the most heart-breaking diagnoses will have a choice. Doctors will have a choice when the life of a pregnant woman hangs in the balance.
Yes, women were at the centre of the issue when it came to Repealing the 8th, but what won it for us is that it wasn’t just women in our corner, it was men and women, of all ages & all corners of society.
It makes me so proud that we as a nation came out in force that day, with a record turnout of 64.5% of the electorate having their say. That’s a momentous achievement in itself, turnouts for referenda are usually poor. This proved how important an issue it was for us all.
Much as we look back with happy and proud memories on the Marriage Equality referendum, we should look back with happy and proud memories of the Repeal referendum as well.