In Friday’s referendum, the decision to repeal Ireland’s Eighth Amendment was made following a landslide result of 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent.
With turnout for the referendum coming in at more than 64 per cent, people came #hometovote in droves, from all corners, to show their support for the Yes campaign, and people the world over stood with Ireland as it waited for the result to be announced.
So many women felt passionately about the Irish referendum because it felt like a public vote on all our lives, all our choices, all our rights. We saw with fresh eyes the hard-won, fragile laws which protect us from Irish women’s fate.— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) May 25, 2018
As Una Mullally wrote for The Irish Times, “The past is left back there, and a new legacy is being created. A legacy of compassion, empathy, and maturity – a country taking responsibility for the care and health of women and girls.”
The move to replace the Eighth Amendment is a win that helps Ireland take an important step towards equality. It’s a win for choice. A win for access to health care. It’s a win for overcoming the uncalled for burden of shame of the past. It’s a win for Ireland’s women, for basic rights long overdue, which must now be afforded to the women of Northern Ireland #trustallwomen.
In a piece for The Sun, Labour MP Stella Creasy wrote, “There are now 2.5 million women who have won the right to choose in the country. Put simply, we have to focus on the 1 million women north of the border. Abortion is illegal there in all but the most exceptional of circumstances and those unable to travel because of coercive relationships risk life imprisonment.”
Amnesty International’s campaign manager for Northern Ireland, Grainne Teggart, told the Irish Times, “This marks the beginning of a new Ireland – one that really does trust and value its women”, but added, “We cannot be left behind in a corner of the UK and on the island of Ireland as second-class citizens … It’s hypocritical, degrading and insulting to Northern Irish women that we are forced to travel for vital healthcare services but cannot access them at home.”
For us at Moment Health, we are hopeful and determined to see the same rights come to pass for all women on the island of Ireland. The referendum result is a major step forward for Irish women to access the healthcare they deserve.
At a time when it’s estimated that a quarter of women suffering PND in the UK go undiagnosed, when 20 per cent of women have perinatal depression or anxiety, when at least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetime (WHO), a change such as the one Ireland’s referendum brings empowers women to access care their way, without judgement or shame, and to seek and receive professional, compassionate help and support in what is so often some of the most dark and difficult moments of their lives.
This weekend’s Yes campaign win gives us hope, and fuels us further in our work towards our mission to make women’s health mainstream, to push for equality and to improve access to services and support – not just on our small island, but the world over.