Micheál Martin Af­ter a long and dif­fi­cult jour­ney, here is why I’ ll be vot­ing Yes –

Irish Independent - - Comment - Micheál Martin

IN a week’s time, the ref­er­en­dum de­bate will be over and we will all be faced with mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion. This has al­ready been a long campaign and I un­der­stand the frus­tra­tions of peo­ple who are con­fused by the of­ten di­rectly con­flict­ing claims be­ing made by many par­tic­i­pants.

The de­ci­sion is not one on whether or not there will be abor­tion in Ire­land – whether we like it or not, abor­tion is al­ready an ev­ery­day re­al­ity in Ire­land and there is no op­tion avail­able to make Ire­land abor­tion-free.

What we are be­ing asked to do on May 25 is to re­move a 35-year-old pro­vi­sion in the Con­sti­tu­tion which has not only failed to make Ire­land abor­tion-free, it has in­flicted great harm.

There have been many at­tempts to change the tone and out­reach of sup­port ser­vices. There have been many court cases and at­tempts to slightly al­ter the im­pact of the amend­ment. But what is ab­so­lutely clear is that the Eighth Amend­ment hasn’t worked and can­not work.

In fact, it has in­creased the like­li­hood of dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances be­com­ing a cri­sis for pregnant women.

The Eighth Amend­ment hasn’t made abor­tion the last re­sort – in fact it has made abor­tion the only op­tion for many women.

Faced­with­adeep­cri­sis,the first con­sul­ta­tion is of­ten with the in­ter­net to find flights and ad­dresses rather than with a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional here who can out­line dif­fer­ent op­tions and en­sure proper care.

There is im­por­tant ev­i­dence the lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of abor­tion laws in some coun­tries has ac­tu­ally led to a de­cline in abor­tion rates.

This is be­cause re­duced pres­sure and an in­creased en­gage­ment with sup­port ser­vices cre­ates choices which are sim­ply not there oth­er­wise. There is no rea­son why this could not be the case in Ire­land as well.

Ire­land’s cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is prob­a­bly the worst we could have – where we deny even ba­sic care

The big­gest im­pact came from talk­ing to women about what they faced be­cause of the cruel in­flex­i­bil­ity of our Con­sti­tu­tion

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