Abortion has touched most families in Ireland
Published: Monday, May 14, 2018
With less than two weeks to go until polling day, one of the lead organisations of Together for Yes, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) launched its ‘Who needs your Yes?’ campaign in Dublin today.
With its campaign NWCI encourages men and women across the country to think about the women in their lives when they are voting on 25th May.
NWCI also launched a short film ‘Who needs your Yes?’, which highlights the harm of the 8th Amendment by featuring testimonies of family members of women who were forced to travel abroad for abortion care.
Speakers at the event included: Tess Murphy, Longford Women’s Link; Grainne Healy, former Chairperson of NWCI and former Co-Director of Yes Equality; Laura Harmon, Women in Leadership Coordinator, NWCI and former President of the Union of Students in Ireland; Professor Mary Higgins, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, National Maternity Hospital, Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI and Co-Director of Together for Yes and Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chairperson, NWCI.
In addition, former NWCI chairpersons, including Frances Fitzgerald, TD, participated in a photo call to launch the #WhoNeedsYourYes online campaign.
Tess Murphy from Longford Women’s Link highlighted the impact of the 8th Amendment on rural women:
“While this is not an urban versus rural or rich versus poor discussion, we cannot deny that women who live in rural areas and many in poverty have fewer resources and less access to resources. So the 8th makes it is harder for the women I know and have worked with throughout my life to make decisions that are right for them. Repealing the 8th Amendment gives all women a chance to fulfil their potential in a safe, just and equal society.”
Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI and Co-Director of Together for Yes said,
“Abortion has touched most families in Ireland, we just don’t realise it because of the huge stigma and secrecy that surrounds it. We know that abortion will always be necessary for some woman, for some couples. What we can change on 25th May is how we respond to a woman in a crisis situation and offer her the support and care that she needs at home in Ireland. This is why we are asking all voters to think about the women and girls in their lives when they go to the polling booths on 25th May and vote yes.”
Professor Mary Higgins, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, National Maternity Hospital, said,
“We want to provide continuity of care, to be with our patients and to hold their hands. We wish to provide high quality bereavement care in our own country. Whether a woman wants to have all her family with her or none, we want that option for her. Where we cannot cure, we wish to care, not to abandon.”
Grainne Healy, former Chairperson of NWCI said,
“Women of the NWCI have been having conversations about women's reproductive healthcare for decades. These conversations have been informed by the values of care and compassion for women. Many women members of NWCI have come on a journey on this issue and through a focus on these values they will now vote for change. A change to repeal the 8th Amendment to finally end the distress and heartbreak of travelling abroad for many and the fear and danger of taking pills in secret and silence for thousands of women.”
Laura Harmon, Women in Leadership Coordinator with NWCI and former President of the Union of Students in Ireland said,
“We have to ask ourselves - what if it was my sister, my daughter, my wife, my partner, my best friend who was facing a crisis pregnancy or a diagnosis of fatal foetal anomaly? Voting Yes to remove the 8th Amendment will ensure that women can receive the healthcare they need at home here in Ireland. A Yes vote is for a more compassionate and caring society, not just for our generation and our families, but for the generations who come after us.”
NWCI’s film ‘Who needs your Yes?’ features testimonies of family members of women who had to travel to the UK for a termination of a pregnancy with a fatal foetal diagnosis, including Sheila Donohue, mother of Siobhan Donohue, Jennifer Lyons, sister of Arlette Lyons, and James Burke, husband of Amanda Mellet. In addition there is an anonymous testimony of a mother whose daughter travelled abroad for an abortion.
For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWCI, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 085 858 9104