- 22 May 18
The referendum on the 8th Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland takes place on Friday, May 25th. During the final week of the campaign, Hot Press is bringing you Home for Yes , a series of interviews with Irish emigrants scattered around the globe, who are returning to their native soil to Vote Yes. From Japan to Canada, England to America, we meet the heroes, who are travelling from far and wide in the name of social and political change. We salute them, and wish them Bon Voyage. See you in Ireland!
Next up in our series is midwifery student Lola White, 27, currently based in Denmark
Why did you decide to move?
"I'm currently studying midwifery in Ireland and I had the opportunity to have a placement in a labour ward here in Denmark. I was excited to take the opportunity to see midwifery care in another country."
How does Ireland compare to where you live now?
"In Denmark, abortion is legal and has similar laws that Ireland hope to have if the 8th amendment is repealed. The care I have witnessed that is given to women in pregnancy and labour is truly woman-centered. In the absence of the eighth amendment, the women have autonomy, the right to refuse treatment and give informed consent to procedures and care. The midwives, on the ward I am working on, support women who are having abortions by compassionate induction in cases of fatal fetal abnormality. They have the ability to care for women in their own hospital, in there own town surrounded by their family and loved ones. Offering non-judgmental care to women who seek to end their pregnancy."
Have you always been Pro-choice?
"I have always been pro-choice. I think I have become even more pro-choice over the past few years by studying midwifery. I have learned more about how the eighth amendment is about more than just abortion. It prevents women from receiving the care they deserve if they have a crisis pregnancy, have a miscarriage that still has a slight heartbeat, if their much wanted baby has a syndrome that it will not survive pregnancy, labor or will die shortly after, it prevents women from having the right to refuse treatment or receive important medical treatment that may affect the fetus, it stops women from having bodily autonomy. Women do not have an abortion on a whim. Each woman has their own reasons that lead them to make the difficult decision to have an abortion. It should not be my choice what a woman does with their body. The word midwife means “with woman” and I, as a future midwife, want to have the ability to truly be “with woman”. If the eighth isn’t repealed, I don’t know how I could look a woman in the eye and not offer her the care and support she deserves, forcing her to seek it in another country, if I didn’t do all I could do for the eighth amendment to be repealed. I want to support women in their own hospital, surrounded by their families and loved ones, in their own country."
Why are you coming home to vote?
"I have seen the care I could give to women in Ireland if the eighth amendment is repealed. This has given me no other choice but to come home to vote. I am a member of midwives for choice and had been canvassing with together for yes before coming here. As you can imagine, I really wanted to vote but I didn’t know if I could change my shifts or even afford to come home. I found being away from Ireland really difficult as the referendum came closer. After some advice from friends I joined the Facebook group ‘Abroad for Yes’ and set up a go fund me to see if I could get a little bit of help. Ryanair had hiked their prices up to a ridiculous amount but I found some slightly cheaper flights that would take longer as I would have to change planes. However, it meant I would only miss one shift, be back in time for a night shift and most importantly come home to vote. I felt really uncomfortable asking people for money but I decided I had to get over myself and just do it. Incredibly the €500 flights were funded in full by a majority of complete strangers in three hours. I was incredibly moved by the kindness of strangers, giving me hope for an empathetic Ireland."
For the duration of the campaign, Hot Press will feature more emigrants on their monumental journey home to Repeal the 8th!