100 Voices For YES: Irish Artists Speak Up For Repeal

Over the coming days, as we move closer to an historic opportunity for the people of Ireland to get rid of an archaic part of the Constitution, we'll be sharing the words of singers, artists, filmmakers, authors and more, who are urging people to vote for Repeal.

31. Jess Kavanagh

Barq

We are exporting abortion and treating the procedure as a luxury, rather than an inevitability. Whether you morally object to the idea of abortion, they occur daily. Pregnant people who are poor, disabled or unable to travel need access to full reproductive rights and safe procedures. We also need to rid our constitution of elements mired in religious ideology.

32. Cillian Murphy (pictured)

Actor

The crucial thing is both men AND women are custodians of this society – we are both to decide what’s going on and going to happen for our future, I feel that very, very strongly. You can be well-intentioned and say, “Look, it should be for women to decide this”, but we need to go out and support. That’s really the thing that’s hit home the most, because I have a lot of friends out canvassing and walking on behalf of various campaigns and then you hear that from men – that they support it, but don’t want to get involved. But men need to get out and vote.

33. Paul Byrne

In Tua Nua

I actually marched for the anti-amendment campaign back in 1983 and recently I’ve been out canvassing for Dublin Bay North Together for Yes. I have friends who have suffered because of the 8th and believe there is no place for such a draconian law in modern Irish society. Here’s to The Evolution!

34. Peter Jones

Paranoid Visions

Its not a question of being pro-abortion or anti-abortion. It’s a simple matter of allowing people to make a choice. If people think abortion is wrong, just don’t have one… That’s called choice. Anything other than that is oppression.

35. Emma Langford

Singer & Songwriter

The 8th Amendment was introduced in 1983, when Ireland was a very different place (you would think). The proposed idea behind it was to protect the safety and right to life of the mother and the unborn; it has not succeeded in doing so. All it’s done is force our nation’s heads into the sand. The 8th Amendment on a daily basis deprives Irish women of vital healthcare in times of crisis. It forces women, their partners, and their families to endure huge stigma, suffering and trauma in the name of involuntary martyrdom. It ties the hands of medical professionals. It’s time that Ireland stopped treating women as second class citizens, it’s time for kindness and compassion, it’s time to repeal the 8th Amendment.

36. Keith Fay

Cruachan

Abortion is a very personal thing to go through, and there is no one right answer for everybody – it is not black and white. People who are anti-abortion are not necessarily wrong, they have their reasons and their own set of values that have led them to that viewpoint. That is why I feel so strongly that people vote Yes and allow people on their own journeys through life to be allowed the right to make the right choice for themselves. Voting Yes is not saying you support abortion – it is saying you support people being able to choose for themselves, and that is the key point of this referendum. People opposed to abortion can vote Yes and continue to hold those views and beliefs. No-one is saying they must now avail of this service – this is not for them, it is for the women of Ireland who have had enough of church and state dictating what is right and wrong for their bodies. VOTE YES!

37. Saint Sister

Musicians

To us, Repeal is the most natural response to the frightening reality that Irish women do not have control over their own bodies. In its most reduced sense, Repeal is the fight for a woman’s right to bodily self-determination. We understand this is a complex issue for many and if anyone is unsure about what a world without the 8th might look like, please reach out to us. There are millions of conversations to be had and questions to be asked and we are here to listen and talk.

38. Kieran O’Reilly

Hail The Ghost

It is vital for the people of this State to be afforded the opportunity of choice. The alternative to choice relieves any circumstance of option, prompting the notion that the 8th Amendment is fundamentally always right. A repeal of the 8th Amendment will serve to support our people in their right to choice.

39. Carol Keogh

Musician

My mother regularly used to go to town of a Saturday. At various times one or other of her three children would accompany her. I have distinct memories of passing the GPO on a number of such outings back in the ’80s, where members of Youth Defence were stationed with their graphic placards of late-term foetuses, and at least one occasion when she confronted a teenage lad who was attempting to press a leaflet into her hand. She was impulsively outraged and I think she may have asked him what the hell he knew about having babies. The kid was probably about the same age as me and it was easy to think she was attacking someone who didn’t know any better – a product of indoctrination acting on ideological instruction rather than his own agency. (I was frequently embarrassed by my mother’s tendency to hot-headedly speak her mind.) Thing is, I now share that outrage and it’s compounded by a heavy measure of “for f**k’s sake”, because, to paraphrase the sign held by that venerable lady that has now become a meme, “I can’t believe we’re still having to protest this shit.”

In 1983, 67 percent of the voting age constituents of this country ratified a constitutional amendment that has since been declared a violation of human rights by the UN Human Rights Committee. Almost a decade later, the presiding Irish Government secured a protocol buttressing that amendment against the freedom of movement clauses of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. A decade on, the country voted by a narrow margin against the 25th Amendment, which would have left in place the ethically precarious mantle of life-and-death judgement still resting on the shoulders of obstetric practitioners. Another 10 years later, the barbaric consequences of the 8th Amendment were hauled into the brutal light of day by the fate of Savita Halappanavar.

This is what happens when a physically, emotionally, psychologically and medically complex process is subjected to ideological interference – interference founded in the fear and distrust of those who wield the most biological power in that process and which, instead of enshrining and supporting them, dictates that they need to be controlled. What a pregnant person chooses to do about their pregnancy should be between them, the medical practitioners from whom they seek counsel and any others they themselves choose to consult (including – sorry ‘bout it – other prospective biological parents). Best practice guidelines for medical practitioners involved in pregnancy can’t issue forth from a place of prohibition because it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. But besides questions of medical safety, the removal of the agency of choice from pregnant people is a form of enslavement, nothing less. And though I use the inclusive term “people” here, we mustn’t forget that at least every 10 years or so in this country, the beacons of protest have been furiously re-lit by the unnecessary suffering and deaths of women and young girls.

To those who would say that my pro-choice argument is reductive. I would argue that it expands very nicely into a social ideal where all the children born in this country are wanted, loved and given the best possible opportunities in life (something that decades of religious overrule certainly failed to make a reality). Where those with reproductive agency feel supported and respected (and wanted and loved too, why not?). Where prospective parents are trusted to make the best decisions about their futures. Where the boundaries between religious organisations and the state are absolute and where the edges of state, wider social and individual territories are profoundly understood. The question of whether a cluster of cells constitutes a life is one that only a fundamentalist feels the need to answer in this debate. Life, like pregnancy, is a process – messy, complex, often painful, sometimes dangerous and occasionally miraculous. We need to stand by the people with the hardest and most important job in that process. We need to listen to them. This may require leaning into discomfort and casting some doubt on previously held assumptions. To that end, the “In Her Shoes” campaign is commendable for being so emotionally affecting, though it shouldn’t take such a public display of private wounds to engender compassion.

In the ’80s, when the first abortion referendum was held, my mother had given birth to three live children and miscarried twice. She recalls her own mother almost dying in labour on a home birth. She’s 74 now and has less energy for the fight so I’ve put a Together for Yes sticker in her window to hopefully keep the Naysayers away. She’ll be voting Yes in this one but the fight has now fallen to my generation and may still fall to the next. My niece, who isn’t yet old enough to vote, has marched for Repeal with the best of them in her Doc Marten boots. So I wield the power of my vote for her and her contemporaries too. It’s a great responsibility. I don’t want them to be resignedly trotting out the message of that meme ten years from now. I want it to be different for them.

Repeal the 8th.

40. Steve Wall

The Stunning

The amendment as it stands is an insult, not only to women, but to men as well. I believe it is a woman’s right to choose and I also believe that where a relationship exists, the decision would be reached through discussion and mutual agreement. There was a case in 2014 where a clinically dead young woman was kept alive for three weeks because she was pregnant. There was never a chance the baby would survive, but according to the law, the woman had to be kept alive while the matter went to the courts.

She had an open head wound and her condition deteriorated so fast that her brain started to rot and infections took over her body. This horrific, inhumane treatment was due to Irish law, not medical ethics. The untold distress it caused to her partner, her children and her family was cruel and totally unnacceptable. Animals are treated better.

 

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