Yes or No to abortion?



We present two sides of the republican debate on abortion rights ahead of the referendum on May 25th to remove the Eighth Amendment, which broadly prohibits it, and to allow the Dublin parliament to legislate for its provision.


‘Time for care and compassion to prevail’

By Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

This referendum is about the whole of Irish society finally joining together and saying that women can access the healthcare they need in Ireland when they need it.

I don’t believe that those who voted to put the 8thamendment into the Constitution in 1983 ever intended for women to die, but women have died and have suffered serious health consequences.

As we debate the question being put to us in this referendum, we must remember those who have been most badly affected by the 8th Amendment; victims of sexual violence such as the 14 year old rape victim X case, a suicidal child who in 1992 was forced to go to the courts in order to travel for an abortion.

We may not know their names or anything about them but what we do know is this; girls or women who become pregnant as a result of rape are still being forced to travel if they need a termination. As a political leader, I know we have a duty to stand up for vulnerable people in crisis situations. This is an unacceptable situation. There is no compassion in allowing such a situation to continue.

I also think of the health consequences for women. Women with high risk pregnancies. Women with underlying medical conditions. Women experiencing a miscarriage as was the case of Savita Halappanavar who was denied an abortion that could have saved her life when she was miscarrying.

As a mother of two children, including a teenage daughter, I want to see them grow up in a compassionate and caring Ireland. An Ireland that doesn’t punish tragedy. An Ireland that doesn’t turn its back on women and girls. I want my daughter and her friends to be able to live in Ireland where they can make decisions about their own healthcare with the support of their doctors. I want doctors to be able to act in the best interest of their patients in all cases without fear of criminal sanction.

It is time for care and compassion to prevail. I am asking everyone to Vote Yes on May 25th.


‘The ideals of 1916 are as relevant as ever’

By Dr Anne McCloskey, Cherish all the Children Equally

Cherish all the Children Equally is a progressive, secular, republican pro-life group. We defend the ideals proclaimed by the men of 1916 and affirm that they are as relevant today as ever.

The notion that the removal of the constitutional protection for the right to life of unborn children is purely a ‘woman’s issue’ makes no sense.

Abortion, by definition end the life of the unborn child, and robust studies show that it causes real and lasting harm to women. But it also harms fathers, extended families and wider society.

If the child in the womb is just a part of the woman’s body, then what is a father? The very concept of fatherhood, with all that it entails, is reduced to mere sperm donation. We are each created by a 50:50 mix of DNA from both of our parents, and inherit physical and mental characteristics going back generations from both families. My brothers look like my mother, but I am a ringer for my father.

When their child’s life is ended by induced abortion, men are often left bereaved and traumatised by a decision they have no control over, and in my experience often suffer the same grieving process as they would following a natural miscarriage. I don’t know of any research in this field, but it seems likely that at least some of the excess mental health problems we see among males are related to this loss of role as fathers, and equal partners in parenthood. The narrative that the unborn child is not a new life created by both parents, but merely part of the woman’s body and subject to her autonomy alone is one which many men do not accept, and with good reason. For others, abortion absolves them from responsibility for the outcomes of sexual activity. I haven’t come across a pregnancy yet that didn’t have male input. Men surely have a responsibility not to put the women they claim to care for at risk of unplanned pregnancy. What about her bodily autonomy?

Abortion offers men the opportunity to use women as mere objects of gratification, without regards for the consequences.

For the vast majority of our people, fathers are their friends, mentors and role models, a central and irreplaceable part of their lives. Men need to consider carefully before accepting the ‘my body, my choice’ narrative espoused by militant feminists.

In the upcoming referendum, they should vote to defend the lives of their children and of unborn generations of Irish men and women.

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