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Why We’re Supporting a Yes Vote to Repeal the Eighth

Blog Posts April 30th, 2018

SpunOut.ie was founded on a mission of empowerment. Our vision has always been of an Ireland where young citizens are empowered with the information and supports they need to make informed decisions about their own lives and health. We have always believed in the power of positive change, and that is why are supporting a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on Repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

In making this choice, we have been guided by the importance of compassion and care for those people making the difficult decision to end a pregnancy. SpunOut.ie believes that we all have a responsibility to ensure every woman can access reproductive healthcare in her own country with the support of her chosen doctor. We agree that Ireland must do more to respect and uphold the human rights of its women, as argued both by the UN Human Rights Committee and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Above all, SpunOut.ie believes that a more caring and compassionate society begins with meeting the needs of those who have had their agency and dignity stripped away by the Eighth Amendment. For these and many other reasons, SpunOut.ie strongly supports a Yes vote on the 25th of May.

While our factsheet information will continue to remain completely neutral, we will be reporting on our campaigning for a Yes vote in the news and blog sections of the site, as well as our social media channels. We will also be publishing opinion pieces from young people of all perspectives in our opinion section (send them in to hello@spunout.ie).

How did we come to this decision?

As a youth-led organisation, SpunOut.ie’s decision-making structure is designed to make sure our policy stances are decided by young people, for young people. Our decision to back a Yes vote was not made by our staff or Board of Directors, but rather by the young people who make up our Action Panel.

In reaching a consensus, the Action Panel were supported by a poll carried out amongst our active readership and volunteers, which saw a large majority in favour of SpunOut.ie actively supporting Repeal of the Eighth Amendment. On the Action Panel’s recommendation, our stance in favour of a Yes vote was approved by the Board of Directors and will be implemented by our staff team, with support from the many young volunteers that are the lifeblood of SpunOut.ie.

Whilst SpunOut.ie’s organisational position is strong support for a Yes vote, we place no obligations on our staff, volunteers or Board members to match that stance in a personal capacity. Our staff are required to communicate and respect SpunOut.ie’s official stances, but no member of staff or volunteer will be required to actively promote a Yes vote against their own personal beliefs. Diverse views are welcome in SpunOut.ie and will be treated with respect.

What about funding?

SpunOut.ie won’t be soliciting donations for this campaign, nor will we be using any of our State funding on activities in any way relating to the referendum. Instead, we will be funding our work on Repeal the Eighth through unrestricted non-exchequer funding only. This spending is recorded as an independent project fund, separate from our other work, and will be reported transparently in our management accounts and Annual Financial Statements for 2018.

Here are 10 reasons why SpunOut.ie supports a Yes vote to Repeal the Eighth:

  • The Eighth Amendment means that a woman’s life is considered equal to that of her unborn child, severely restricting the choices available to Irish women who become pregnant.
  • An increasing number of women order abortion pills online, but are unable to access proper medical support and supervision from a doctor when taking them, leading to serious health risks.
  • Our laws seriously interfere with the ability of doctors to treat pregnant women who are ill, even in cases where continuing a pregnancy could seriously damage a woman’s health.
  • The Eighth Amendment means that a woman or girl who becomes pregnant as a result of rape cannot end that pregnancy in Ireland.
  • Our Constitution recognises that women can choose to access abortion, but only if they travel to a different country.
  • Over 150,000 women who have needed or wanted an abortion have had to leave Ireland for the procedure since 1980.
  • Abortion access is a class issue for Irish women, as only those who can afford to travel for reproductive healthcare are able to do so.
  • The need to travel outside of Ireland means that Irish women often have to access an abortion later in their pregnancy than they would have chosen.
  • If a pregnant woman develops a condition which means her child will die before being born, she cannot choose to end that pregnancy at home with the support of her own doctor.
  • If Ireland votes Yes to repealing the Eighth Amendment, the proposed new laws would allow women to access safe, legal and early abortions in their own country under the care of their own doctor.

What we’re encouraging our readers to do:

While SpunOut.ie supports a Yes vote, we recognise and respect the wide range of views held by our readers. Nobody has to vote in any particular way to be a part of the SpunOut.ie community, volunteer base or staff team.

However you think you might vote, we strongly encourage all our readers to take these steps before voting day on May 25th:

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote! Read our guide to checking and getting on the register before the deadline of May 8th so you can have your say.
  • If you’re not 100% sure how you’ll vote, try taking some time to consider the facts of what you’re being asked to decide. If you have the time, have a look through the all-party Oireachtas committee report which recommended the referendum.  
  • If you’ve got something to say about the referendum, say it! SpunOut.ie are always eager to publish opinion pieces from young people so long as they meet our submission guidelines.
  • Above all, make sure you go and vote! Referendums like this have a history of coming right down to the wire - one vote really could be the difference between Yes and No.

If you support a Yes vote, there’s lots you can do to get active in the campaign:

If you have any questions about any of the above you can get in touch with us by emailing hello@spunout.ie