SpunOut.ie, Ireland’s Youth Information Website, has announced their support for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment. SpunOut.ie were one of a number of organisations who hosted the launch of the Youth for Yes campaign calling for a Yes vote in the referendum on Tuesday 1 May.
In a blog post published on the website on Monday evening, the organisation outlined why they chose to advocate for a Yes vote, and how they came to that decision.
The power of positive change
According to their blog post, as an organisation, the mission of SpunOut.ie is to empower young people “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 their post, the organisation mentioned the rulings of the UN Human Rights Committee and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in relation to abortion in Ireland, and said that the issue of the 8th Amendment is about respect and human rights for women and people who can become pregnant in Ireland.
A website by young people, for young people
The decision making structure in SpunOut.ie is unique, because it is young people who make decisions for the organisation, and not the staff or the Board of Directors.
The SpunOut.ie Action Panels, made up of over 150 young people aged 16-25 around Ireland (previously made up of 30 young people when this decision was made), help to guide the website on the information needs of young people. The Action Panel were asked if they believed SpunOut.ie should take a stance on the issue of Repeal the Eighth, and what that stance should be. Their decision was supported by a poll taken by active SpunOut.ie readers and volunteers, which was overwhelmingly in favour of SpunOut.ie supporting the Repeal campaign.
Based on this recommendation from the Action Panel, the Board of Directors approved the stance for a Yes vote in the referendum,
Content on SpunOut.ie
The organisation have reassured readers that the information they find in factsheets, particularly those in the health section of the website, will not change and will remain neutral.
The news section of the website will feature reporting on the campaign for a Yes vote, and SpunOut.ie social media will promote these news pieces.
SpunOut.ie staff and volunteers
In their blog post, SpunOut.ie has recognised that not all staff members or volunteers may be comfortable in promoting a Yes stance. Their statement says:
“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.”
The website are also welcoming opinion pieces from young people on the subject of the referendum from either side of the campaign, which can be sent in to [email protected]
The organisation have also addressed the issue of funding for their referendum campaigning, explaining that they will not be looking for donations to fund their campaign, and no State funding will be used towards any activity relating to the campaign.
The money for campaigning will come from unrestricted non-exchequer funding only, and will be recorded in the organisation’s management accounts and Annual Financial Statements for 2018.