On May 25th everyone eligible to vote will be asked to tick Yes or No on the ballot. For me, the unfortunate word in that sentence is ‘eligible’. I won’t turn 18 in time to vote in the referendum, but I believe this amendment not only affects over 18-year olds, but under 18s as well. This is why we need everyone that can to vote.
If you haven't decided where you stand yet, please take some time to seriously consider it. If you aren't too pushed about voting, please do anyway because some of us would love to vote, we are just not old enough.
The 8th amendment was approved by referendum in 1983. No one under the age of 53 had a vote in that referendum, yet 35 years later we are still living under this amendment that many of our citizens did not have a say in. Around 26% of the population still do not have a say this Friday.
As an educated young nation, we are eager to have a say in what is happening to our country. Unfortunately, young people cannot do so. If you are lucky enough to have a vote, a voice, please use it. Please vote and represent the youth of our country and the future you want them to live in.
Young people are not oblivious to the 8th Amendment. If affects us and our loved ones. We need your compassion and your vote.
The legal age of consent in Ireland is 17 years old. This means that a 17-year-old in this country can fall pregnant. The 8th amendment directly affects that 17-year-old, however, she is given no voice in this upcoming referendum. The 8th amendment already causes so many healthcare implications for women in this country. Yet on top of that, some people will also have to deal with the legal implications of healthcare laws for under 18-year olds. Why are we making a difficult situation even more traumatic for the women and girls of our country? Why are we forcing them to leave, to flee? Why can’t we care for them at home where they should be safe?
If an underage girl falls pregnant following an act of violence, who votes for her? Although now affected by the 8th amendment, she has no voice.
So many young people do not get a say in this referendum. We do not get a say in what happens to our bodies. We do not get to say we disagree with an amendment that is forcing our mothers, friends and sisters into terrible situations. We have to watch as other people fight our battles over debates. We do not get to express our informed opinions as we do not get a vote.
We need you to vote because we can’t. We need you to voice our shared opinions for us. We need you to ensure that we are safe and cared for under this country’s legislation. We need you to give us a choice. We need you to stand together for care, compassion, trust. We need to stand together for Yes.