‘I had no real interest in politics, until this’ – Ireland’s accidental abortion activists
On 25 May, voters in Ireland will decide whether to legalise abortion. Doctors, grandparents and those who have been forced to travel the UK to seek terminations have been raising their voices in a bid to shift the narrative
Tue 22 May 2018
In September 1983, article 40.3.3 – the eighth amendment – was voted into the Irish constitution. It equated the life of the “unborn” with that of the mother. It gave rise to a ban on abortion in all circumstances from the moment of conception.
It also led to a grave national silence, whereby abortion was outsourced to neighbouring jurisdictions, with Britain becoming a place of medical refuge for at least 168,703 Irish women.
Insertion of Eighth ‘catastrophic mistake’ says former minister
Gemma Hussey and Liz McManus among ‘Grandparents for Repeal’ advocating for Yes
May 8, 2018
The insertion of the Eighth Amendment into the Constitution was a “catastrophic mistake” and has caused “endless suffering and heartache”, a former Fine Gael minister has said.
Gemma Hussey, who was minister for education when the amendment was introduced after a referendum in 1983, was among the speakers at the launch of the Grandparents for Repeal campaign on Tuesday.
Long experience informs shifting views in abortion debate
Members of older generation share thoughts on Eighth Amendment
Apr 4, 2018
Sheila and Paddy Donohoe, now in their 70s, voted in favour of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution in 1983. There was never any question in their minds regarding how they would vote. They were strict Catholics and active members of the Legion of Mary. They had grown up in a conservative country which taught them abortion was a sin in all circumstances.
“We were Catholics, we didn’t practise contraception, we did everything according to the book,” remembers Sheila. “At one stage I would have gone to Mass and Communion every day and we always brought the children to Mass. Whatever the church more or less said we believed. There was no reason for us to doubt or think otherwise. We weren’t encouraged to ask questions. Everything was totally hidden, everything was kept secret.”