Why it is time to Vote Yes
Speaking at the final Labour press conference in the referendum campaign to repeal the 8th amendment, Labour spokesperson on Equality, Cllr Deirdre Kingston said:
“Across Ireland today there are women in crisis pregnancies.
“There are women who will take an abortion pill, alone in their bedroom or bathroom, without any medical supervision.
“There are women on their phones or laptops looking up and booking flights.
“There are women in maternity hospitals and clinics receiving the most devastating news about a much wanted baby. Women who assumed they would go to full term with a healthy baby, who imagined holding that baby in their arms.
“There are women who are having miscarriages and are terrified that they might get sepsis.
“Women going through the trauma of losing a much wanted baby and having to deal with an extra worry top of that, if they might come close enough to dying to be eligible for a termination.
“Knowing that there is a real and dangerous chill factor over their care.
“This is the reality of maternal care in Ireland. Women are frightened of what could go wrong, and if they will be impacted by the 8th amendment.
“I had a baby in November, and I was lucky to have a pretty straightforward pregnancy, but the shadow of the 8th is always there.
“Irish women are having abortions. Yet they are being forced to travel to another country due to this hypocrisy enshrined in our constitution.
“That you have a right to travel, and a right to information but not the practical, essential and compassionate support on our island, is shameful.
“This is directly impacting women of my own age, possibly someone I live beside, went to school with, or just passed on the street.
“Many of our close friends may have had abortions but feel they can’t tell us because of the shame and stigma that has been attached to it for so long.
“But what has been amazing about this referendum campaign has been the open and honest conversations at doors across Ireland. Conversations which have taken on that stigma head on.
“Women and their partners have broken the taboo on abortion and spoken about their experiences.
“This campaign has seen women and men across Ireland, through a grass roots bottom up approach, organise to repeal.
“I have been campaigning in Dun Laoghaire and it has been inspiring to see so many out fighting for equal rights for Irish women, rights which have been denied to those who went before us.
“Like the elderly man I met who couldn’t understand why other people should have a say about what a woman may need to do in a crisis pregnancy.
“We have abortion in Ireland. The No side cannot deny that reality.
“The fact that they are now saying they would support proposals for abortion in cases of rape and FFA just exposes their hypocrisy. They now laud the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, a Bill which they opposed every step of the way in the last Dáil.
“What they want is to do is keep abortions happening in secret or under British law. Keep sending our women away, keep them quiet and pretend this isn’t happening.
“It’s time to vote yes for women’s health.
“It’s time to vote yes for our daughters
“To vote Yes for Savita, for Miss X, Miss P, and for all the brave women who have spoken out during this campaign, and for all those who couldn’t.
“It’s time to show compassion in a crisis.
“To support women at home in Ireland with care and compassion, rather than exporting our problems and importing pills.
“We won’t be quiet anymore. And I believe our voices will be heard loud and clear come Saturday.”