Abortion has been illegal in the Republic of Ireland since the declaration of the Irish Free State and the publication of our 1937 constitution. Drafted by our then Taoiseach, Eamon deValera, Ireland was a staunch Catholic country, in this Ireland divorce, contraception and homosexuality as well as abortion were all illegal, as stated in the constitution.
Fast forward 80 years and I’m led to question this constitution that once filled me with nothing but pride for our newly formed republic. I am Irish, I come from a long-line of Irish men and women, patriots of this country and defenders in war. Being Irish is something that is very dear to me and to my family, yet my views on abortion may not reflect that.
Although abortion has always been illegal in Ireland, the eight amendment was introduced to the constitution in 1983. Introducing said amendment meant that the government of the time believed that the unborn had a greater right to life than that of its mother.
I believe that going forward, Ireland should try it’s best to stay as true to itself as it possibly can, and that all depends on us, the people. For 700 years the Irish fought for freedom, for the liberty of their people and for the right to be Irish, and I think that is something we should all remember as we progress.
However much I believe that we should stay true to our roots, I do not believe that any man, woman or child should tell me what to do with my body.
I understand that our laws enshrined in the constitution are embedded with Catholicism, but I don’t understand why laws such as the 8th Amendment still exist in a country which has proven itself to be liberating time and time again, which unfortunately, is our downfall.
The representation of women in our country is lacking, badly. Only about 22% of seats in our government are taken by women, and with our Taoiseach declaring himself as pro-life, Ireland really does demonstrate a man’s world.
My question here is why?
Why does a MAN get to declare himself as pro-life? Obviously, I understand that men are 50% involved in the whole baby making process, but, do they have to physically carry a human being inside their bodies for 9 months? No. No, they don’t, so why do they get to declare themselves as anything?
Now, I’m not condoning abortion being used as the newest form of birth control, because it’s not, it’s not something that should be taken lightly and not something that should be messed with, but I do see it as something which should be made available to people who want it.
Ireland has proven itself to be a modern country. In May 2015, we seen our country stand up against our egotistical constitution and make a stand for our people’s rights. Something I think that we should do again if given the chance.
The seriousness of repealing the 8th amendment has far surpassed the Irish people and its Government. The UN, a world renowned organisation has spoken out against said amendment, labelling it as inhumane and an abomination against our civil rights. We must take the seriousness of the 8th amendment into consideration, we must consider the facts that come with repealing it and what it would mean for the country. I believe that withholding information about abortion in the 21st century is a laughable offence of our current government.
What I can’t understand the most about this whole situation is the public debate. Why are there male and female politicians on national television speaking about what I can or cannot do with my own body. Why is it their decision to make? Who gave them that kind of power over me? Cause I sure as hell know when I voted in last year’s General Election it sure as hell was not for Leo Varadkar to label himself as pro-life. Where is the democracy in that? Where is the democracy in Fianna Fail deciding to support the 8th amendment?
I do not expect my democratic government, elected by the people and for the people to be able to hold such power over my body. I expect my democratic government, one that governs an Irish republic, to keep me safe, to allow me to know that I am safe in my bed at night. To ensure, that every day I am allowed to practice my human rights, to walk around my country with a free and liberated mind.
As a young woman in the 21st Century, I do not expect my government to have any restrictions over MY body.
As a young Irish woman, I do not expect my country that once fought for the liberation of their people to take my freedom away from me, to take my choice away from me, to take my body away from me.