My thoughts on Repealing the 8th

Let’s get serious for a minute. I know I’m usually all about the funny anecdotes about life and sharing all humorous things about me and how I cope with not being a good adult, but I’m gonna attempt a grown up topic for a change so in the immortal words of Tilly from Miranda, ‘Bear With’.

My Facebook newsfeed seems to be constantly flooded lately with articles about Repealing the Eight Amendment, or not repealing, or health clinics in Dublin giving out complete and total bullshit information about abortions and it has really made me question my own views on abortion and what I feel about the whole campaign – when so much information, misinformation, personal and politic opinions are out there for me to try to digest and understand.

I would never have an abortion. But at present I am twenty-five, happily married for almost a year and despite still living with my parents, I am comfortably able to look after myself financially – another life would not be a complete drain on all of our resources. I don’t predict myself ever wanting or needing an abortion in my present circumstances, in fact my husband and I cannot wait to start a family and although we are taking precautions for that not to happen right now, were it to, neither of us would even consider not having it and we definitely wouldn’t consider abortion as an option for us. But the fact that I am in a relationship is not the only reason I wouldn’t have an abortion.  I know that in my heart of hearts I could never even consider an abortion because I know the instant that I found out I was pregnant I would feel an instant connection to the little thing growing inside me no matter what stage of the pregnancy. I know that despite the financial strain a child would cause, I could cope and I would make it work, whether I was doing it on my own or not. I know that I would value the life of that baby from the minute I found out about it and I would refer to it as a baby, long before it is defined scientifically as a baby.

So you think I’m pro-life don’t you?

Well I’m not, in fact I am completely, unashamedly pro-choice. And I am totally repulsed by the pro-life campaign and the rhetoric that they use to discourage the pro-choice movement in this country. It also angers me that because I am pro-choice I am lumped into a category that is assumed to be made of baby killers. FYI people I am proof that being pro-choice is not limited to women who have already had an abortion, or to women who don’t want children, it isn’t even limited to women.  It also doesn’t mean that if abortion becomes available in Ireland I, or any other women will be lining up to avail of the service. I won’t be thinking ‘oh look an on-demand abortion, better give that a try’ as if it was a data plan for a phone company or the latest Sky T.V plan. I’m pretty sure that no woman in Ireland will be thinking that. No woman will think about abortion as a luxury treatment that they can now have like the most up-to-date beauty treatment. The idea that being pro-choice means that you view abortion in this way makes the whole thing completely trivial and completely takes away from the point of the pro-choice movement.

There is not one woman in this country or in any part of the world that has considered abortion without seriously thinking about her circumstances and the outcomes of her choice, just because abortion would be available in the same state and not a plane/boat journey away is going to change that. Having the option to have an abortion is a choice – the same way having a baby is a choice. It means that a woman can choose to have a safe termination, with correct and close-to-hand after care in her own state without having to spend money on travel. It’s the choice not to have to hide what she is doing and not be shamed by a patriarchal society. It is the choice not to be haunted by a reminder of her rapist, or to be tortured by the idea that her baby will only live a few hours after taking its first breaths of life. It’s a choice not to bring a child into an unsafe home where she can’t protect herself let alone another human being. It’s the choice to respect the fact that she is not ready, physically or mentally to carry a child. It is the choice to not cause damage through drug use to her baby, and not have her child be punished for her illness and addiction. It is a choice to decide what she wants to do with her own body.  It is the choice not to have an abortion at all.

We need to amend the laws around abortion so that all women have more choice. Repealing the 8th will not create a dystopian world where any woman who gets pregnant will rush out and have an abortion at the drop of a hat just because it is a hip and trendy thing that has come from abroad, like Starbucks coffee.  It will allow for a space where women won’t have to be shamed into being mothers by a society that up to thirty years ago still punished women for even having sex. Repealing the 8th is not just about abortion vs pro-life, or killing babies, it’s about giving women back the power over their own bodies and allowing them to choose their own future.  I choose not to have an abortion but I also choose to allow others to have the choice to make their own decision on what should happen to their bodies. And just because you don’t have a womb or you wouldn’t have an abortion because of your religious or moral views, doesn’t mean you can’t support the Repeal campaign or that you automatically have to choose the opposing side.

Woah that’s enough adulting for me I think.

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