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