Monday 17 October 2016

Repeal the 8th

As a woman living in England, I am lucky in many ways; I can go to school for free, I can marry my girlfriend, and I can get an abortion if I need or want one. I probably never will (being gay means I'm very unlikely to get pregnant, but you never know what situations I might end up being in in the future) but if I ever had to have an abortion, I could.

But if I lived in Ireland, it'd be a different story entirely - abortion is only legal if the life of the person carrying the baby is at risk. Abortion is prohibited by the constitution (protection of the right to life of the unborn) and by legislation. The constitution is the Eighth Amendment, which is what girls and women and other people all over Ireland are working so tirelessly to repeal; I've seen, from my safety in England, their unwavering hard work, dedication and incredible perseverance - and it makes me so proud to be a woman.

Because it's important, I think, that women/people with vaginas (PWVs henceforth) are allowed to control their own bodies. We learn from such an early age that our bodies belong to men: that we are there to be ogled and objectified and used as pawns in a game for someone else's pleasure. And it's not fair. It's not fair that in 1983 old white men got to make a decision that would affect the bodies of PWVs for decades and generations after. It's not fair that something so big, so life-changing and so scary, isn't in the hands of the people it needs to be.

And repealing the 8th isn't about everyone wanting an abortion, and it becoming a form of contraception; it's about choice. It's about PWVs making choices about their own bodies, their own lives and their own futures. You can be entirely sure that you won't/wouldn't ever have an abortion no matter what your circumstances - and that's fine. But to go to sleep at night knowing you have a choice, isn't that something everybody deserves?

Abortion is a personal choice, something people decide for so many different reasons. And you don't need to know those reasons to know that realistically, that person deserves that option. That person deserves to be able to make a safe choice to protect themselves and their health without having to travel across borders or make risky online purchases that can, ultimately, lead to being sentenced in a court of law - something that just wouldn't happen if they lived in England, or Wales, or even Northern Ireland.

So I'll say it (not very eloquently) again: it's not about being pro-abortion. It's about being pro-choice; you can be personally against abortion but giving PWVs the choice only seems fair to me.

What's your opinion on Repeal the 8th?

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