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and compassion for many women at what is one of the toughest moments of their lives.
The law today demands we try to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term irrespective of the impact on her health, or if she was raped, or if she has received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality.
And everyone needs to understand that there is no possible way for this to change if the amendment remains.
The legislation proposed by the all-party committee which will be enacted if there is a Yes vote is highly regulated and is nowhere near the type of legislation which operates in England.
It is a balanced proposal which reflects medical reality and encourages women to engage with medical professionals.
It has been claimed that the limits and regulation proposed in the legislation can’t be trusted and that effectively there will be no limits. This is entirely wrong.
Five years ago, it was claimed abortion on demand was being introduced because limits in that legislation wouldn’t be respected.
Those claims turned out to be false. Women and their doctors have fully respected the strict limits in that current law – and they will respect whatever law is introduced.
I fully understand how uneasy many people are with the choice to be made next Friday. I, too, am someone who has only come to a conclusion through a long and challenging process.
For me, the biggest impact has come from talking to women about situations they have faced because of the cruel inflexibility of our Constitution. And this isn’t something which is found only in part of our country – everywhere I have gone in recent months has involved women and couples, often well into retirement, asking me to listen to their story and what our current law has done to them or someone they love.
It is they who have persuaded me there is no way we can stop the harm which has been done to them while retaining the Eighth.
Each of us has a personal responsibility to decide where we stand. This doesn’t have to be without reservations but it does have to be based on an honest reflection about what the choice is.
ANO vote will mean there will continue to be a long stream of cases through our courts taken by women facing extreme situations. There will continue to be thousands of Irish abortions every year with no engagement with medical professionals.
There will continue to be a rising number of unsupervised and unregulated abortions taking place here with the use of abortion pills.
In contrast, a Yes vote will enable a system where the first consultation a woman facing a crisis has is with a medical professional who can support her and outline different choices.
It will prevent women from being forced to go to Britain.
It will enable a system which is regulated, safe and humane.
Faced with this choice, my personal decision is to vote Yes next Friday.
Micheál Martin is the leader of Fianna Fáil.
A pro-choice demonstrator in Merrion Square, Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire