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.

11. Pete Holidai

Musician

I 100% support the Repeal of the 8th Amendment. The rights of the living, breathing women of Ireland to control their own bodies and make THEIR own decisions that affect THEIR own lives is the least we can offer in the 21st century.

12. David Turpin

Musician and Director

The bible-thumpers are right about one thing. This life is a vale of tears. So how can anybody justify withholding a right that has no purpose other than to alleviate the amount of suffering in the world? What does anybody gain from the punitive rituals Ireland has substituted for reproductive rights? It is my hope and expectation that the 8th Amendment will be repealed, but when it is, that won’t change the fact that this referendum has itself been another punitive trial imposed on Irish women. It won’t change the fact that we are living in a country that has repeatedly put oppressed people in the position of having to ask for the rights they’ve been denied. Nobody’s rights should be up for debate. That’s what makes them rights.

13. Joe Chester

Musician and Producer

My grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, lived in one of a row of terraced houses in Dublin’s inner city. A couple of years ago I found out that she used to travel to Belfast on the train to smuggle condoms over the border in her suitcase for her women neighbours. I loved her for that defiant act of civil disobedience in the face of an Ireland that only legalised the sale of contraceptives in the ’80s. She never told anyone about it. I suppose she thought it was nobody’s business – just a secret between her and the women on her street. To me she was a heroine. That seems like another Ireland now. I think the 8th Amendment is one of the last threads of that old Ireland, the Ireland of the Magdalene Laundry, of names read from the pulpit on Sunday morning, the Ireland of the Tuam babies, and of the comely maidens dancing at the crossroads, and on and on and on. That’s why I’m supporting wholeheartedly the Repeal the 8th movement for a modern, compassionate Ireland.

14. John Reynolds

Music Producer

Thinking of young girls being forced to go to a strange country and having to find money to have a choice at all. The loneliness and terror of this decision requires people around them to give them the essential needs of man. Love and warmth. Not to be judged and bullied and pushed around like some medieval witch-hunt. Please. Wake up. Reflect and Repeal.

15. John Lydon

Public Image Ltd & the Sex Pistols

Look, everybody in life is entitled to the absurdity of a religion, but you don’t have any right to inflict that opinion on another person who differs from you. So I have great problems with the dictatorship that religion brings in, and the Catholic Church poisoned Ireland for centuries. Here’s the reality: nobody goes, ‘Yippee, I can’t wait to have an abortion.’ It’s a sad decision to have to make, but a necessary one for very many people. You can’t bring a child into this world if it’s going to be neglected or put into a foster home or abandoned. This is unacceptable and far more cruel. When I wrote the Sex Pistols song ‘Bodies’, it was dealing with it from both points of view. There I am on that. Mummy could have had an abortion and I wouldn’t be here, but it is a woman’s choice so there it is.

16. Arthur Mathews

Writer

I’ll be voting Yes in the referendum. How a woman deals with her pregnancy is her own business, and not something that the state should be involved in. This amendment should never have been put in the constitution, and now is the time to remove it.

17. Niamh Algar

Actor

Its ridiculous that it’s taken this long for a referendum on the 8th Amendment to take place. It demonstrates how the country views and trusts women. Obviously I’m glad that a vote is taking place and I hope that people will vote Yes. I know people who have travelled to England for an abortion, and the mental and physical affect it has on them, as well as the strain it puts on their families.

Women should feel safe and supported in their home countries, but most importantly they should feel trusted. This referendum is an opportunity for all in Ireland to trust women. I hope that it leads to ensuring safer healthcare for both those who want to end their pregnancies, and those who wish to keep them. I would hope that there will also be a safe after-care plan to emotionally support women who do have an abortion. The shameful stigma attached to abortion needs to end and I believe one day soon it will.

18.Seana Kerslake

Actor

It’s extremely unfortunate that even with the postal vote, I am unable to travel home to vote in the referendum to Repeal the 8th. I urge people to use their vote, especially those unsure of what way to vote. It’s such a delicate issue, but it is time that this amendment is updated for women’s health and the health of the country.

19. Lisa Coen

Publisher, Tramp Press

I’m six months pregnant and really lucky that this happens to be a hoped-for and healthy pregnancy with no complications. The first few weeks were really scary because I knew if anything went wrong, the restrictions around the care I could access would be dehumanising and dangerous. It breaks my heart to think of anyone who has a crisis pregnancy of any kind here. It’s hard enough to deal with the massive changes caused by pregnancy without worrying that your country would let your life hang in the balance because of the 8th Amendment. I hope my baby grows up in an Ireland that trusts its citizens, Repeals the 8th and abides in compassion. My fellow publisher Sarah Davis-Goff and I will both vote Yes on May 25.

20. Rita Ann Higgins

Poet

When Savita Halappanavar was begging for a termination in the maternity ward in Galway, none of us out there could help her. A medically trained person herself, she knew there was something drastically wrong – she had severe back pain and she was miscarrying. Although it was known at this stage that the pregnancy was not viable, Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis and multiple organ failure.

This was no unfortunate accident, not even an isolated incident. It was made possible by the 8th Amendment, which is a profoundly disturbing piece of legislation with a deep disregard for women’s lives. Because there was a foetal heartbeat, it did not matter how loud she cried or how long she begged for a termination; it was not going to happen because of the strictures of the 8th Amendment. The foetal heartbeat had the same value as Savita Halappanavar’s life.

It is additionally outrageous that women are accused of murder in relation to ending a pregnancy that is impossible for them to go ahead with, be it on medical or emotional grounds. It is an affront to suggest that this implies they do not love children. A mother and grandmother myself, I know the immense joy children bring to my life. But I would never wish the fate of Savita and the many others who she represents, on any woman in Ireland. Therefore I will be supporting the Yes campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment.

 

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