ColumnistsVogue Williams

The 8th isn't just about abortion... it's denying woman basic care

The 8th isn't just about abortion... it's denying woman basic care

I have written my feelings on abortion laws in Ireland quite a few times here. My opinions on the topic are clear – my body, my choice.

Unfortunately the laws in Ireland do not reflect my opinion that I’m capable of making a decision about my own body.

The topic of repealing the 8th Amendment came back into my mind during the general election. 

It was voted into the constitution in 1983 and outlaws access to abortion in all circumstances, except where it can be proven that a woman’s life is at risk.

It has led to situations such as the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012, and the prolonging of life support for a clinically dead pregnant young woman against her family’s wishes.


When it comes to voting in an election, I find it vitally important to choose a government that respects and values the opinions of its citizens.

I don’t agree with everything that each party has to say, so I find it is good to go instead with people you like that sit within a party.

Which is why I became very nervous when I kept seeing Fianna Fáil coming out above quota when the count took place. 

Fianna Fáil have made it clear that they are completely against a referendum that will allow us to vote on the 8th Amendment, with party leader Micheál Martin saying: “We’ve said collectively, as a political party, that we would not initiate moves to repeal the 8th.”  

That is even after a poll found 64 per cent of the country would like a referendum.

Like many of the women it now affects, I was not born when it was voted upon and passed.

Women in our country are still not allowed to decide what we want to do with our bodies and the 8th Amendment is not just about abortions.

It is denying women basic health care in their own country; over 3,500 women had to leave Ireland to have abortions in 2014 when it could have been done here for them.

And what about women who cannot, for various reasons, travel?

We are living in a country where the church and politicians are making decisions about our own bodies.

Talks continue to cobble together a government. F F are central to that, but in my eyes it remains a male-dominated party with male views. 

I watched the party’s Dublin West candidate Jack Chambers talking about being pro-life, and listening to the rubbish that came out of his mouth infuriated me.

Wanting abortion legalised does not mean you aren’t pro-life, it means you are pro-choice. Everyone deserves to have the right to choose what they want to do with their own bodies.