This letter, by Kerry for Choice member Saorlait Moore-Foley, first appeared in The Kerryman on 15th March 2017
The Eighth Amendment demands all pregnancies go to term, no matter how dire the situation is for a woman. As an afterthought, in 2013, the State added that perhaps it is okay if a pregnancy is prematurely terminated if a woman is close to death.
What would be equally perverse is if the State decided when a woman should have an abortion, and enforced it, and non-compliance would result in a life sentence. ‘Your baby has a fatal foetal abnormality; you must have an abortion immediately.’ ‘You have a chronic illness/disability; you must have an abortion immediately.’ ‘You are in serious debt, we cannot allow you to raise another child, and you must have an abortion immediately.’
Women would instead be concealing pregnancies and travelling to other states to give birth. Women discovered to be doing this would be chained to a bed and forced to have the procedure. This is almost what we had in painfully recent history. The State, the Catholic Church and we ourselves decided unmarried women were not good enough to raise children, so we incarcerated them, abused them and gave away their children.
People who are pro-choice have no desire to return to this kind of dystopia. This is why we firmly believe all women should have a choice, not be forced by law to keep or end a pregnancy. This why neither the State, the Church, nor the rest of us should have a say in another woman’s decision. Reproductive health should not be in the Constitution, it should always be a choice between a woman and her healthcare provider.
We are not anti-pregnancy, we are not anti-babies, and we are not pro-abortion. We are simply pro-choice. And Ireland without the Eighth Amendment will not be one of forced abortions; it will be an Ireland where women finally get to decide what is best for themselves.