An opinion piece,
Written by Sophie Kane.
As much as it pains me to admit, we’ve gotten so many things fundamentally wrong in this country over the years. We seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over, never learning, never evolving.
The Catholic Church have ruled the state since its existence and they have done nothing but lie to us, abuse us, shame and guilt us. What they have done to our people is worse than we could ever have imagined and our Government let them. Sex scandals involving underage children, children being beaten and abused in schools, the horror stories from the Magdalene homes- all of which the Church and State have tried to bury in unmarked graves with the bones of the women and children they failed to keep safe. This unfortunately isn’t history; this is an ongoing struggle for a secular society that values every person the same
In 2017 the women of Ireland are denied autonomy over their own bodies and are forced to procure abortions elsewhere. Even after all of the scandal and the torture, somehow we have let religion be a factor in this debate. The Church promises us that repealing the 8th amendment in our constitution will ruin our country but let’s be honest, this is not the first time we’ve heard them say that.
They told us if we allowed people to get divorced the sky would fall in and it would be an end to marriage as we know it. They were wrong. They told us contraception was against God’s will, and sex was only to pro-create. Access to contraception would turn us into a nation of sex-crazed lunatics and there is nothing the Catholic Church fears more than a promiscuous woman! Well, they were wrong.
When we held a referendum on marriage equality the same old voices piped up again, never learning from previous attempts to keep Ireland in the dark ages. Allowing anyone other than heterosexual couples to marry was a sin, and they promised us the sky really would fall in this time. And yet the sun still shines (occasionally) and the world kept spinning with the sky fully intact.
They were wrong about divorce, contraception and the marriage equality bill and they are wrong about abortion. Repealing the 8th will allow for pro-choice legislation which means women have the choice they so desperately need.
What people need to understand is that standing outside Central Bank with huge graphic pictures of bloody fetuses, calling people who have abortions murderers is not achieving anything. I am not asking those of you who think abortion is wrong to change your mind, what I am asking you to do is mind your own damn business.
No one has the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body, my womb is not up for discussion and the women of Ireland deserve better. Unfortunately however this archaic amendment gives the State and the Church a false claim on our bodies, forcing us to take to the streets and campaign for basic reproductive rights. On the 8th of March International Women’s Day we took to the streets, showing intersectional and intergenerational solidarity for an immediate referendum to repeal the 8th amendment.
Up to 12 women a day are forced out of their country to procure abortions which is an overwhelming financial and psychological burden. That is just those of us who can afford this so called “right to travel” that the Government deems to be an acceptable solution to unwanted pregnancies. Ireland this just isn’t good enough.
What women want and deserve is access to free, safe, legal abortion and there is no place for religion here. If your religious beliefs stop you from having an abortion please don’t let it stop someone else.
Whether it’s because of rape or incest, whether there is a fatal fetal abnormality detected, if your life is in danger or you are pregnant and just don’t want to be – you deserve the right to choose. It is my body, my future, my choice and my right.
We must learn and evolve past this Catholic guilt and trust every single individual with a womb to do what’s right. I trust women and it’s time for you to as well.
Accredited Image- #Striek4Repeal – @BrianTeeling