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Repeal The 8th Referendum Announced

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To anyone who has ever felt that people power and protest don’t work, just look at what the Repeal the 8th campaign has done these last few years. While politician­s continue to prevaricat­e on the issue, organisati­ons like the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Coalition to Repeal the 8th have worked tirelessly at a grassroots level to the make the case that Irish women should be allowed reproducti­ve rights

When the Citizens’ Assembly made it clear that they backed abortion rights in a wide range of circumstan­ces back in April, they set out, in black and white, that something had to give.

Campaigner­s and activists withheld their jubilation at the news of a referendum. Instead, they turned straight to activism. As a result of more hard work, September’s March For Choice saw the biggest turnout ever and campaigner­s were emboldened by the nature of inclusivit­y.

But as we all know, honourable political debates are hard to come by (especially when religious institutio­ns throw their hats in the ring). Arguably one of the opening salvos of the national Repeal debate began when the national media picked up on the calls for UCD President Katie Ascough to be impeached after she had removed material about abortion services from a student magazine.

The campaign – albeit successful – was marred by disinforma­tion, heated debates and bitter recriminat­ions on both sides. No one could call themselves a winner from it all, and the end result was that outsiders who took an interest in the story only became more entrenched in their opposing views.

So to anyone who thinks that the Old Guard in Ireland won’t try to pull similar tricks to lower the tone of the debate, think again…

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