- 10 May 18
In the new issue of Hot Press, we present 100 Voices For Repeal, a fascinating production that runs across a whole 15 pages of the magazine. There are extraordinary contributions in there, including those from Lenny Abraham – director of the Oscar-winning film The Room; musician Carol Keogh; Game of Thrones star, Aidan Gillen; the ever wonderful Lisa Hannigan; singer Jerry Fish; actress and broadcaster Laura Whitmore – and many, many more. But that’s not all: the responses to our call keep pouring in...
In the current issue of Hot Press (which hits the streets today, May 10), we present a 100 Voices For Repeal special, with many of the leading figures from Ireland’s music and arts communities explaining their reasons for voting ‘Yes' in the referendum on May 25.
Our call for ‘Yes’ voices produced a huge response – they are still coming in as we speak! Here, we present some of those whose contributions came after the initial 100 had been selected – with many musicians, including Lyra (pictured) and a lot more besides – writing about why they’re backing Repeal. This eclectic group is drawn from all sectors of Irish public life, including politics, medicine, publishing, the arts and film – as well, of course, as rock ’n’ roll.
Meanwhile, also in the new Hot Press, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol adds his voice – eloquently – to the ‘Yes’ campaign, in the context of what is a powerful and wide-ranging interview.
Plus, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes contributes a powerful editorial on the issue. But first, let’s hear from those additional members of the Hot Press Gospel Choir!
Barry Devlin (Filmmaker and member of Horslips)
I would really like to add my wholehearted support to the Repeal the 8th campaign.
In my view Repeal is a humane and compassionate decision. It will give choice – sometimes life-saving choice – to women and requires no one to violate their personal conscience.
Thank you for holding the torch and beating the drum on this. It will break my heart if I have to live in a country where this referendum fails.
Kaz Millar (Vulpynes)
It is time for change. When you read the extremely heartbreaking stories of the brave women on the ‘In Her Shoes’ Facebook page, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that a Yes vote needs to happen. These stories are the reality of how the 8th Amendment has cruelly treated women like lesser beings. It is about choice. Vote Yes.
Dr. Peter Boylan
The 8th Amendment has failed. It’s purpose was to prevent abortion from coming to Ireland. Abortion is now in Ireland, legally through the imperfect Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, and illegally by way of the importation of abortion pills at an ever increasing rate. Taken under medical supervision these pills are very safe, taken without medical supervision they are potentially very dangerous.
Our Constitution is profoundly hypocritical. The 8th Amendment bans abortion while the 13th and 14th Amendments provide constitutional protection to women who access abortion services outside Ireland. In other words, it’s okay under our constitution to commit a criminal act as long as it’s done outside Ireland.
The only way to provide compassionate care to women in Ireland who are pregnant as a result of rape, who are pregnant with a baby who is going to die when born, who become severely ill when pregnant, or who for a variety of complex and very personal reasons cannot continue with a pregnancy, is to repeal the 8th Amendment.
The majority of practising obstetricians in Ireland, who see the daily realities of the effect of the 8th Amendment on women in Ireland, are in favour of repeal of the 8th Amendment.
Joan Burton TD
Last night, while out canvassing for Repeal the 8th in Blanchardstown, a man had tears in his eyes as he told me he was voting Yes. This was because of younger relations – a couple who had to go to England last year to deal with a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality of their much much longed-for baby. More and more as this referendum campaign goes on, we are finally telling each other all the sad stories of Irish abortions being performed in England, and Irish people being made to feel like outcasts in our own country.
Most shocking of all is listening to doctors like Peter Boylan and Rhona Mahoney telling us they can’t intervene to save a pregnant woman until she is close to death. Many days going in and out of Leinster House, I pass the the vile photos of a gigantic foetus. I think of miscarriages and all the pain it brings to women who have lost a baby. Sometimes these super-sized images are outside maternity hospitals too. For what?
So let’s stand up for ourselves and each other and be strong. Remove the 8th Amendment from our constitution and vote Yes to Repeal!
We have had a long, profoundly detailed, democratic discussion of how to address abortion in Ireland – the citizens' convention, the all-party Oireachtas committee on the 8th Amendment, the Dáil and Seanad debates, the public meetings, the media discussions, and most of all our own personal private conversations. For me all lead to one conclusion – Repeal the 8th and make Ireland better for women.
Eoghan Murphy (Minister for Housing)
A lot of people talk about this as a conscience issue, and I get that. I don’t approach it that way though. I approach it more from a political-philosophical viewpoint. I’ve never thought that the role of an elected parliamentarian is to impose his or her own beliefs or values on the electorate. Nor is it our role to represent what we think may be the majority view (that we may or may not share). We have to use our judgement to decide what is the role of the State in Irish life, and how it best meets its responsibilities to the people.
I don’t believe that the State or Government should have a say over what people can or cannot do with their bodies. I do believe that the State has a duty of care when it comes to women’s health, and I believe it has failed in that duty of care. And when you hear the personal stories – the terrible pain that the State has inflicted on women and their partners, who are in enough pain as it is due to their circumstances – it really is shocking.
This Government is trying to right that wrong. Nothing can change if the 8th Amendment is kept in our constitution. Nothing. And we desperately need change.
It's a ‘Yes' from me – I want women to be trusted to make their own choice, when it comes to their own bodies. It’s about living in a world where people have the right to make their own decisions and the right to dictate their own lives.
Sue Collins (Comedian)
As a mum of four, I'm speaking out for a ‘Yes' vote – this is a no-brainer for me. It's a personal choice; it's a positive move forward for protection of women's health and for women to have control over their own choices and bodies. Vote Yes.
Jack O’Rourke (Musician)
For years, women have been second-class citizens in our nation. The horror of misogyny has deep roots. I wrote about it in my song, ‘Bowled Over’. I am voting ‘Yes' to Repeal the 8th because I believe women should have the fundamental right to have control over their own bodies, and make the right choices for themselves. Like Danu would have intended before the patriarchy sank their claws in...
Jake Hurley (Musician)
I’m advocating for Repeal, as it is a step towards an Ireland where women’s bodily autonomy will no longer have to be ceded to the will of the powerful. In my view, a ‘Yes' vote is a stance in solidarity with the 170,000 Irish women forced to travel abroad for proper abortion care, shunned by the law of their home and the stigma of their communities.
Furthermore, a Yes vote is an acknowledgement of the pain of the low income and migrant women without the means to travel abroad who are left trapped by a system that would rather brush their concerns under the carpet than hear them out.
We need to repeal the 8th Amendment as a move towards ending the legacy of pain and oppression that has characterised the relationship between the Irish state and its women, and as a stepping stone towards the provision of quality and affordable healthcare to all who call Ireland home. Please vote Yes!
Max Zanga (Tebi Rex)
Not for my mom
Not for my sister
Not for any of the women in my family
Simply because it's the right thing to do and it shouldn't have to affect anyone I personally know for me to realise that.
A quote by Clarissa Pinkola Étes: "It must be remembered that an oppressed woman not so much refuses to fit as she cannot fit without also dying"... Trust women to choose!!
Preservation of the law only delays the inevitable and gives the government deciding power in a situation they don’t have to deal with. In conservative Ireland, there’s a habit of avoiding issues rather than confronting them. Abortions happen regularly for people out of Ireland – the only difference now is that we have to outsource our problem rather than putting measures in place to aid people who are faced with the problem.
Repeal comes with regulation for those who are afraid of misuse, and the availability of choice will create a domino effect to introduce measures that will regulate the exercise of choice, such as accessibility of contraception to younger generations (because they are having sex anyway), improvements in the adoption and foster systems etc. A road block doesn’t stop you from reaching your destination, it just takes a little longer. Vote Yes to Repeal the 8th, on May 25.
We can't let the opportunity to make a change for the better pass us. This is a referendum on choice, something we should all have. No one should get to say what a woman can or can't do with her body – except that woman. Let's make that happen.
Make Ireland a safer place for all women. If you are opposed to abortion in all circumstances, you have the choice to never have an abortion. In any circumstances. No matter what the result of this referendum.
No matter what the result of this referendum, you will continue to have the choice to never have an abortion.
Chances are, you are a compassionate person. Chances are, you already know that you, your friends, families and colleagues will encounter a multitude of complex and often unexpected circumstances in life. Chances are, you know the statistics. Chances are, if you are pro life you are pro life not just until a child is born. Right?
Chances are, you are a compassionate person. You can be pro life and pro choice. No matter what the results of this referendum, you will always have your own personal right to choose. Extend that right. Make Ireland a safer place for all women. Vote Yes.
Sarah Davis Goff (Publisher)
Whether or not you agree with the idea of women's right to choose, whether or not they carry a foetus to term, it's clear that women will make this decision for themselves. The 8th Amendment only makes it more difficult, more dangerous, and more complicated – and the complications carry over to those women who very much want children. This country does not have a history of treating its women well; this country has a history of allowing the religious right to interfere with health, education and politics. It's time to consign that to the past, to move forwards.
Linda Coogan Byrne (Musician and Music Profesional)
I've been very quiet about this, which was surprising to many people. I am a gay woman so, really, the only way I would ever find myself with an unwanted pregnancy would be worst case scenario. And to think I wouldn't be able to safely abort an unwanted foetus shocks me. I grew up with friends who had abortions and went through horrific experiences and mental health issues after it. And I know others that were perfectly fine after it. I've known young women who were backed against a wall, so to metaphorically speak, and forced to make huge life-changing decisions without the adequate medical healthcare or mental health professional services. All the while feeling utmost shame and guilt.
Some decisions and experiences stay with us for life – and its time the women of Ireland had the freedom and facilities to face making these huge decisions in the safest manner possible. Everyone should be able to make their own choice about abortion in a legal and safe manner and environment without prejudice or feelings of shame. Anti-choice perpetuates ignorance and intolerance of progress, therefore I am pro-choice.
The cognitive dissonance out there is mainly due to lack of education and information. I would say to anyone feeling unsure to read the facts, not the scaremongering lies that are going around. Pro-choice, to me, is the only right solution here, as it should be the individual woman's choice over her bodily autonomy.
I fully support the Repeal Movement. My body, my choice.
We just want to say: we don’t support a whole lot, but we wholeheartedly support women’s right to choice.
Vote Yes for change, Yes for courage. And Yes for our women. Let's break the backward generational chains and rid ourselves of this for once and for all. Ireland – you have stepped up and shown courage recently in the Same-Sex Referendum... It's time to RISE again and Repeal the 8th.
Colly Dempsey (Jester )
I’m fully behind the Repeal the 8th campaign. Thankfully Ireland is becoming more and more liberal in recent years, and voting Yes in the upcoming referendum is another positive step in the right direction for our country.
This month, we have a peerless opportunity to show that modern Ireland is committed to compassion and caring for women in crisis – to start building a culture that is more sensitive towards the unique and often challenging situations that pregnancy entails. The No campaign insists upon maintaining their fervent denial of complex circumstances and an astounding lack of empathy for the women of Ireland – it's time for us to show that there is no place for this fanaticism in Ireland 2018.
While the issues surrounding abortion are complex, our choice on May 25 is very simple: Vote Yes for safe abortion, trust and dignity for women in crisis. Vote No, or simply abstain, to continue forcing women through dangerous and degrading experiences (that are happening right now as I write this). Stay strong, stay caring, and use your voice to make Ireland a better place.
Paul O’Riordan (Changing Trains)
I completely agree with repealing the 8th Amendment – we have a law that simply does not work, a law that puts the lives of women in danger, a law denies women a basic human right – and that just can't be acceptable.
Ed (Long Tail)
This is a huge moment for our country and needs the full backing of young Ireland. This is a genuine moment to be heard and make a real difference. Please don't waste your voice! Echoing the ethos of Doug Stanhope here, the only thing you truly own is yourself. Your Body, Your Choice!
Neil Brogan (Sea Pinks)
I fully support the Repeal movement. I hope and believe that Ireland will vote to give women the basic human right to choose abortion and that Northern Ireland will soon follow its lead.
Danny (Shrug Life)
As a band, we actually released a song, 'Your Body', specifically about the journey women are forced to make and the archaic restriction put upon them by our state. We fully support the repealing of the 8th Amendment.
Adam Redmond (Search Party Animal)
Repeal the 8th, because our women should feel free to make their own choices about their future. They should feel safe and protected by this country. Thousands of Irish women are already forced abroad to get abortions every year; let’s look after our own from now on.
Keith Mannion (Snow Place Like Home)
I would like to think we have come a long way as a Republic. That we are not entirely controlled by church rule and superstition anymore. In this day and age, the least we owe ourselves as a modernised society, is a woman's right to choose. It is baffling how the vote on whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment, has been hijacked by fear-mongering and a staunch old-world viewpoint. We can do right by all Irish citizens and vote for women to have the right to their own bodies and the decriminalisation of abortion. We, as a generation, must prove ourselves and be responsible for crucial change.
Aoife (Alien She)
This referendum matters. It will decide the future for all people residing in Ireland, not just you as an individual. Please try to remember this as you go to vote. This is not a question on what you personally or your loved ones would do in the case of a crisis pregnancy under any circumstances, it is a question of changing the law of the country to reflect reality, which is that people have abortions in this country every day.
• You can never have an abortion yourself and still vote to Repeal the 8th Amendment.
• You can be a person of any gender and still vote to Repeal the 8th amendment.
• You can have complex feelings about sex, contraception and love and still vote to repeal the 8th Amendment.
• It's absolutely fine if, in any possible instance, you yourself cannot imagine having an abortion.
• It's fine if, in the case of being left pregnant after rape, incest, having a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis, being pregnant and being at risk of dying yourself due to an illness, or having a crisis pregnancy, you personally would not have an abortion.
• However, that DOES NOT mean that everyone or anyone else should be forced to do the same thing. You cannot know what you would do with another person’s life circumstances.
• Even if you have very complex or unsure feelings about abortion, you should know that the 8th Amendment affects every pregnant person, NOT only those with a crisis pregnancy.
• It affects mothers. It affects people who want to be parents. It affects children who are pregnant.
• It gives the state more control over what happens in the case of a medical problem during pregnancy than the person themselves.
• It can put doctors in horrible positions and it can leave patients permanently affected or dead, and families traumatised.
By not using your vote to Repeal the 8th you are telling everyone else that you don't believe they have the right to decide what happens to their own body – you are forcing people to travel for medical care, to buy pills online and to go through all this with the weight of shame on top of it, often with no support.
Well. Here we are… 2018 and we're a country split on the abortion issue. Which is basically the historical equivalent of being split on the issue of the square or round wheel. Fuck me, how embarrassing. I saw an 80-year-old guy recently wearing a 'Protect the 8th' badge. Bloody big one too.
That's the problem. If women started to tell him to travel to London to empty his colostomy bag, he'd whip a Mario Lanza 78 at their heads. And that's the issue for me. It's choice. And it's a female choice for certain. As Macca said many times "You can't reheat a soufflé” – but we can repeal the lemon of a law that is the 8th (see wot I did there?).
VOTE 'YES' TO REPEAL THE 8TH ON MAY 25…
Anyone with any doubts surrounding the Yes campaign please don’t be afraid to talk to friends and family about your thoughts, to allow for some healthy debates. It’s the people with silent doubts shamed out of talking about their feelings on the subject that will vote No when it comes down to it.
Equally, those who are passionate about the Yes vote, please don’t react aggressively to someone else’s doubts and scare them away from an opportunity to understand the positive effects of repealing the 8th.
Instead of strengthening the Yes votes we already have, we could make a real difference by being open to helping the unsure, uninformed and unregistered.
If the No vote wins on May 25 and a woman/women were to die or be injured in the intervening years (until we get another chance to fix it), we'll only then realise the finality of this opportunity.
As the Yes/No Gameshow rolls into its tiebreaker rounds and Foetalmania reaches hysteria, if you're in any way on the fence about this, please consider voting Yes.
It's true that a potential life may be ended, and yes when the procedure is filmed and pictured it looks pretty gruesome, but if we were to judge the validity of all medical procedures by that, we'd never tog out in that backless, blue, crepe-paper nighty for anything again outside of an Art Attack swinger party.
None of us like the idea of a life being stopped before it starts but it's really not as simple as 'happy, healthy baby' vs 'sad, dead baby', and the queues to adopt the kids born into unliveable circumstances aren't exactly at Ed Sheeran ticket levels just yet.
A Yes vote will not give our nice country an open-season 'licence to kill', it'll merely put a decision into the hands of a pregnant woman and her doctor, who we need to trust to do what they think is best in a crisis situation – which the rest of us should be damn glad we've never had to deal with.
Let’s live in a world of compassion, not a world of fear.
I don’t think anybody likes the idea of abortion. However there are many and varied reasons where it has to be considered an option. It is for that reason that I support the Yes campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment.
I will be voting Yes on May 25, as I believe in letting women and their families make their own decisions at a time when they need utmost support from the health system and from their country. A Yes vote is a vote for safe abortion care – as every day 12 women travel or take online abortion pills.
Aoife McCann (Æ MAK)
I am pro life, therefore I am pro choice. Every human being should have the right to complete bodily autonomy. Nobody should have the right to dictate or shame another person’s traumatic decision of this magnitude. Like myself, if you are anti-abortion, that is completely okay, justifiable and true to your own personal beliefs. But let society have the choice – life is too hard: we need to be kind, supportive and respectful of the hard decisions like abortion that need to be made in the diverse contexts of other people’s lives that you and I have nothing to do with.
Now is the time that we stand together to ensure the physical, emotional and mental safety and nourishment of our women in Ireland. This affects us all. If and when the 8th is repealed a much needed acceptance will wash over this country and we can truly start supporting the LIVES of women. Full bodily autonomy now. Vote Yes. Our lives are too important to vote No or even worse, to not vote at all. Every voice counts. Also, fuck the church!
Come On Live Long
We feel so passionately about this critical moment in Irish history. As active campaigners North and South of the border in the pro-choice movement, we implore everyone to vote REPEAL on May 25. A Repeal result will also mean putting additional pressure for a change in legislation in the North, which is something we have been desperately working towards. This is a time for change, a time to finally give women in Ireland a voice.' - - Stephen, Christine & Chris
We're firmly behind the Repeal Movement and urging people to get out and vote Yes. This is about women having the right to choose and having control over their own bodies. Historically, Ireland has not been a country that could be overly proud of its treatment of women. This is an opportunity to take huge steps in the right direction. If you have a vote make sure you use it.
Theme Tune Boy
Appealing to all conflicted Catholics out there with a true story. In 1962 a 39-year-old Italian lady died of septic peritonitis days after giving birth to her fourth child. She’d been told in the second month of the first trimester that she’d a fibroma on her uterus and that proceeding with the pregnancy presented a serious threat to her life. Her options were – abortion, hysterectomy or removal of the fibroma and proceed with the pregnancy.
In line with her faith and conscience she told her doctors her unborn child’s life came first and proceeded with the pregnancy. As well as the newborn she left three kids under 10 behind and a heartbroken but proud husband. That is what her faith called her to do and as recently as 2004 she was amongst the last tranche of candidates elevated to sainthood by Pope John Paul II.
If you seriously don’t believe that is the most bat-shit lunatic thing you’ve ever heard – by all means go ahead and vote No. Knock yerself out. Her name was Gianna by the way.
Senita ( Shookrah, Lakerama)
I've spent the predominant portion of my life in Ireland, and am in the unfortunate but not wholly unusual position of not being able to vote in referendums. I look forward to a time that I can contribute fully to the Ireland we want to live in going forward. An Ireland that looks to the future, holding itself accountable for the past transgressions it has allowed against its inhabitants, meanwhile seeking out ways to realistically and compassionately address its current cirumstance and where we go from here.
I particularly hope we, as a nation, take stock of the times in which we live, that we not only hear but truly listen to women's fierce outcry globally for reparations and realise that these chants, marches, words, stamps of declaration are not going anywhere and are certainly not being masked. As one of my favourite artists Janelle Monae has recently stated "We come in peace, but we mean business!" Let's take another step together in making history! Let's support one another through experiences – we may not personally choose or understand without being divisive about it. I urge you to please: Repeal, Repeal, Repeal the 8th!
We as artists and songwriters never intended to cross paths with the political. However, this referendum is debating the moral, and in that case it is necessary that everyone’s voices must be heard, including our own. We are voting Yes on May 25 because we trust women. Growing up in a small house with a single mother and two sisters, we realised quickly that females possess a powerful beauty of heart and mind.
It is up to us as males, not only in our small family, but in the large generation of Irish men and women, that we respect our opposite sex. They need freedom to make their own choices. We need to bring them into the light that always deserved to be cast upon them. To put the dark history of Catholic Ireland behind us, and move on towards a more liberal, progressive and modern state.
Thousands of Irish women avail of abortion services each year either abroad or at home in secrecy. We believe that there should be compassion and care for these women in their own country. We urge the men of Ireland who feel that this issue does not affect them to engage. Talk to your sisters, friends and mothers and know that when you go to vote. You are voting not only for them but also for our future generation#men4yes#together4yes