That is what you are saying to me if you Vote “No” on Repealing the 8th Amendment in May. This is not about morality it’s about equality – something women have been fighting to get for centuries. I am too young to have seen the struggle for the vote or the right to work but I’ll be damned if I’m going to stay quiet in the fight for choice. My boyfriend is not seen as a walking sperm bank so why am I seen as a vessel?
As I approach my 30’s, I am keenly aware of how this issue will directly impact me. I love my partner dearly and someday would love to have a family with him. I will not, however, “bear his children” – a detestable phrase which reinforces everything the 8th amendment stands for: I am for breeding.
My intelligence, my humor, the joy I bring to the lives of my loved ones – everything that gives meaning to my life is to be disregarded should it ever come down to me or an unborn foetus.
I have had many reasons to be proud to be Irish over the last number of years. We have proven to be a nation that champions equality and diversity and celebrating drunkenly but amicably abroad. Yet I am worried that we will fall at the final hurdle.
This is our only shot. The government will gladly seal this up in an airtight container never to be resurrected if the referendum doesn’t pass in May. And it’s going to be tight. Which terrifies me. Because there is a real chance that this might not pass.
So let me tell you why I am voting “Yes”.
I do not want to have an abortion. I hope I never need one. From reading the heartbreaking stories scattered on the internet it seems like a horrific, traumatic experience. But I would hate to endure something so horrendous alone. I would hate for any children I had to be left without a mother because my life was sacrificed to save a pregnancy that was killing me.
I am not fighting for the right to have an abortion. I am fighting for the right to choose. There is a reason the “Yes” side identifies as “pro-choice” and not “pro-abortion”. Because the truth is, it is an option I hope I never have to avail of. But by denying me the right to choose you are saying you don’t trust me. You are saying I am incapable of making a decision which would impact the rest of my life.
By denying me the right to choose between my living children and a pregnancy which is killing their mother you are condemning my family. You are denying them their basic human right to love and protection.
By voting “No” in May you are doing women all over Ireland a disservice. You are saying their judgement can’t be trusted. Your mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend has no right to make her own life decision.
By voting “No” in May you are not “Pro-life” but “anti-choice”.
Because this is about choice and nothing else.