Ireland Votes to Legalise Abortion – But There’s Still Work to Do

Keep Abortion Safe and Legal sign

On Friday 25th May 2018, Ireland held a much-demanded and much-needed referendum on whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment which makes abortion illegal in almost all cases in Ireland.

Thanks to brave and tireless campaigning by Irish people and pro-choice movements such as Repeal the Eighth, the Irish people voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, paving the way to make abortion safe, legal, and accessible for all pregnant people in Ireland.

“Abortion Support Network is a network that supports abortion. And it feels like yesterday the Irish voters turned out as a their own network of people supporting abortion,” says Ruth Taylor, Chief Executive of the Charity, Abortion Support Network. “Such a landslide is better than we’d dared to hope.”

Irish people voted 66.4% to 33.6% to repeal the Eighth Amendment, the amendment in the Irish constitution that equated the life of a foetus to the life of a pregnant person. The amendment meant that pregnant people in Ireland could only access abortion if their life was in severe danger, and led to many unnecessary deaths in Ireland, including that of Savita Halappanave.

The referendum was the result of the tireless campaigning of women in Ireland, and was undoubtedly won thanks to the phenomenal campaigning of pro-choice activists across Ireland and beyond.

Despite the result of the referendum, change in Ireland will not be instantaneous. The Eighth Amendment will remain in place until Ireland changes its laws through the Oireachtas. This change could take several months to come into effect. When the Irish people voted to legalise same-sex marriage in May 2015, it took took nearly five months for the referendum to become law.

Until the law changes, pregnant people in Ireland, like the thousands of pregnant people before them, will continue to have to travel to the UK to get safe and legal abortions. Traveling to the UK for an abortion is expensive, complicated, and stressful, and can cost up to £2,000.

Thankfully, the Abortion Support Network exists. Abortion Support Network is a charity that provides financial support and accommodation for people travelling from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. They also provide confidential, non-judgemental support and information to anyone who contacts them via phone or email about travelling to England for an abortion, as well as information about reputable providers of early medical abortion pills by post.

“Our phone is still ringing,” says Ruth. “People are still calling us in need of support to travel, because all the referendum has done is repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution, giving the government space to legislate for abortion. Nothing has changed over night, and it could be a long road ahead to provision.”

Here at The Nopebook, we believe strongly that no person should be forced to endure a pregnancy that they don’t want to, for whatever reason. As such, we are launching a fundraiser today to raise vital funds for the Abortion Support Network so they can continue helping pregnant people in Ireland access the healthcare they need and deserve.

All money donated will go directly to Abortion Support Network, and will help pregnant people in Ireland access the healthcare the need in the UK until they can access it in their own country.

The Nopebook campaign will help us make sure that we continue to be able to support everyone who needs us, until abortion is readily available in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man,” says Ruth.

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

Image by Open Democracy

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