Abortion, the 8th Amendment and Me.

The 8th amendment. Jesus, you can’t go anywhere but someone is talking about it at the moment. It’s a topical issue. It’s an emotive issue. It’s a divisive issue.

I remember when I was very young, maybe three or four, I was in the car with my mam and we drive past an anti-abortion billboard. It had a picture of an aborted baby in the palm of someone’s hand and a rose beside it. I remember sounding out the word abortion and asking my mam what it meant.

So I’ve been aware of the concept of abortion since very early in my life.

I would like to state very clearly that I am not pro-abortion. I would like to think that should I become pregnant in an unplanned way, that I would carry that baby to term and raise that child.

The problem is though, how can I really know that for sure?  Our brains are funny things. I think that now, with all my rational capabilities. It’s easy to be sure now. Add in the experience of trauma, lack of support in carrying the plan of childrearing out, being told my child won’t survive, or being ill, or other similar lifechanging experiences, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know what I would do.

And that’s the point, I don’t think you can really know until you’re in that situation. And I think to deny each woman the chance to decide what’s right for her in her situation, is quite simply unfair.

I understand it’s a worrying possibility. What if all foetuses showing signs of disability are aborted? Won’t women just use abortion like a contraceptive? Doesn’t this go against the teachings of [insert deity here]? Let’s look at these questions one at a time.

I cannot in all honesty state with certainty that no child showing signs of disability won’t be aborted. However, the tests to diagnose these kinds of issues usually happen around the proposed cut-off time of twelve weeks’ into the pregnancy, or after that time. This means that abortion will not really affect these issues. (for evidence, see here)

I think that if you honestly think that women would use abortion as a contraception, popping out on their lunchbreak to get it sorted, then you need to educate yourself on what actually takes place. For a very clear description of what it is like to make use of abortion pills, I would refer you to Marian Keyes‘ book ‘The Break‘. While the character is fictional, the experience is factually described.  A full abortion on the other hand, is a full surgical procedure with a required recovery period and the same risks that cone with any surgery. I’ve yet to know any woman that would lightly undergo either of these options. What you’re thinking of is the experience of the morning after pill, and I’m sorry to tell you pal, but that’s been here for years, and again, there hasn’t been a change in birth rates attributable to that.

I will admit with regards to the third question that I’m not a religious expert, but most religions I know preach acceptance and tolerance for other people and their situations, and an appreciation that unless you’ve walked in their shoes or unless you are whiter than white in your own purity and lack of sin, than who is anyone to judge, really?

To the men of Ireland, no this is not about your bodies or choices and I have a huge respect for those of you who can see that. But we still need you to vote. Support the women in your life to become your equal in having full control over their bodies. Please. I am lucky that my wonderful man completely appreciates that it’s my body and my choice (although he would like to be involved in any conversations instead of me going through it alone should the situation arise). I’m so grateful because that is a deal breaker for me in relationships, and I look forward to us walking to the polling station together to vote on the 25th May.

If abortion is allowed and you do not support abortion, that’s OK. Nobody is expecting or forcing you to get one. You do you. Just let me do me at the same time.

For some impartial, scientific studies on incidences, safety elements and the history of abortion from a medical point of view, see here, here and here. (once a researcher, always a researcher!)


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