Legal abortion is genuinely in the cards for Irish women

Despite a long history of Catholicism and religious politics, Ireland is about to go to the polls to decide whether to keep strict abortion regulations or relax them. With just four weeks to go, it looks like voters want to legalize early abortions.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Legal abortion is genuinely in the cards for Irish women - NewsMavens
Protests commemorating Savita Halappanavar. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Ireland has been deeply divided on abortion. Although increasingly secular, Catholicism regularly makes itself known in politics, including in the abortion debate. Many "pro-life" groups rooted in Catholic belief oppose abortion.

But the country could be set to liberalize abortion law, which currently prevents women getting the procedure in nearly all cases. Even the prime minister there, Leo Varadkar, wants to allow abortions up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

In 2016, 25 women had legal abortions in the Irish Republic. In that same year, 3,265 women from Ireland traveled over the Irish Sea to England and Wales to have abortions.

That could all change, and women may no longer have to make the traumatic and expensive journey to the UK to get an abortion if the country votes "yes" to repeal the Eighth Amendment, the law that equates the life of a woman and an unborn child.

Personally, I cannot think of anything worse than having to spend hundreds of pounds or Euros, take time off work, and experience an abortion on a plane in order to not continue a pregnancy.

It's not about women arbitrarily "murdering" babies. It's about women having agency to decide what is right for them. While I do sympathze and understand those who oppose it, in my opinion abortion is a health issue, not a religious or gender issue. And it must be available to those who want and need it.

Details from the story:

  • The Republic of Ireland is set to vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment and liberalize abortion law, in the upcoming referendum on May 25, according to polls.
  • A voter poll from April 20 indicated that 47 percent would vote to allow women to terminate pregnancies up to 12 weeks, a move that would turn the tide on women’s reproductive rights in the country.
  • The referendum will ask voters whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment, a part of the Irish constitution that enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child.
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