Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Irish PM urges voters to see through last minute abortion 'tactics'

Irish PM urges voters to see through last minute abortion 'tactics'

Voters in the once deeply Catholic nation will be asked if they wish to scrap a prohibition that was enshrined in the constitution by referendum 35 year ago, and partly lifted in 2013 only for cases where the mother's life is in danger.

"Please vote yes on Friday!".

"I haven't campaigned, but reading what is proposed I have made a decision to vote 'no, ' " he says.

"It's very emotional reading through [the hashtag] on Twitter", Downey said.

Two pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) taken 24 to 48 hours apart are needed for a medical abortion, but campaigners want women to be encouraged to take the pills simultaneously in the interests of convenience - and perhaps to stop them changing their minds, which is still possible after taking the first pill.

Pro-abortion rights activists have sought to focus public attention on the hard cases, including the fate of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital on Ireland's west coast in 2012.

Ahead of the upcoming referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, plenty of Irish emigrants have already been travelling home to cast their vote.

Essentially, it protects the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child and prohibits abortion in nearly all cases. Parliament would then debate this plan.

Ireland has been changing fast.

I'm hoping that people will just say this isn't a compassionate thing to do. "I'm part of this progressive generation, a lecturer in university and I'm surrounded by university students every day". Several of Ireland's most prominent politicians, including the prime minister, have said they support a repeal of the law.

Dr Andrew O'Regan said abortion meant ending the life of a patient
Image Dr Andrew O'Regan says abortion means ending the life of a patient

The choice to end this life is not a human right, no matter how we dress it up. "The most weak and the most voiceless are the babies in the womb".

Thousands of abortion-rights opponents demonstrate in Dublin on March 10. More than 3,000 women travel overseas every year to have the procedure legally, often in countries like England and Wales.

I WENT to an Irish Catholic secondary-school run by nuns who occasionally invited in pro-life groups to give us talks. "We've all known women who've felt vulnerable and lonely".

"It is about abortion, of course, but it is also about something more". Although it has not been the center of campaigning, the question of how Irish women have been treated historically - from the use of symphysiotomy, a primitive form of obstetric surgery, to the scandal of unmarried mothers who endured forced labor in the "Magdalene laundries" - has informed opinions here. Their babies were often given up for adoption.

In the lead-up to Ireland's referendum on abortion, we take a look at those affected by the issue on both sides of the debate. "There's all that history of fear and stigma and shame and marginalization".

It wasn't until 12 years later that the last Magdalene Laundry - the church-owned institutions where "fallen women" were sent as punishment for being pregnant outside of marriage - was closed.

Posters in Dublin's city center urge votes in Friday's referendum.

In a statement released today, the Grand Lodge of Ireland said it was calling on its "members, supporters and friends" to follow the Bible's teaching and reject the repeal of the constitution's Eighth Amendment. "It's always been at the forefront of my mind", said Tuthill of Ireland's strict stance on abortion. "It's about the values of the kind of country that we want to have", says Ailbhe Smyth, co-director of the Together For Yes campaign group, and a long-time feminist.

She said her vote would be one for solidarity and compassion, "a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore". "My dad was a religion teacher for 40 years; my mum grew up in East Galway". "For Catholics, the formation of conscience is guided by the Word of God and involves giving careful attention to what the Church teaches".

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