In less than two weeks, we will know the result of the referendum which proposes to repeal the 8th Amendment in the Irish constitution. The end is nigh, people, it is DECISION time. For those left undecided, it’s time to get making up their minds. A hashtag caught my eye in the last few days, #whoneedsyouryes. It was sparked by a campaign from the National Women’s Council of Ireland under the same name, and contains powerful stories and thought provoking insights from people thinking about this referendum. If you haven’t already, I compel you to read through at least some of the tweets. For me, I wrote what I could fit into the character limit as one of the categories of people I believe my yes will be for on the 25th. But afterwards, so many more occurred to me, and I felt the need to share them. This is who my yes is for.
My Yes Is For the 9 women a day who make the journey to the UK and other countries on planes and boats, who travel alone or with a partner or friend, for a healthcare procedure they should be able to access on their own land without fear of prosecution.
My Yes is for the women sitting on a plane, silently praying that nobody recognises her, and wishing that she was on one of those Hen Parties and not on the way to a clinic but knowing it is the only way she can receive this procedure.
My Yes Is For the scared young woman who can barely afford to feed herself this week, never mind pay for air fare or a medical procedure, but knows she cannot continue with her pregnancy.
My Yes Is For those parents who made the journey to end a pregnancy that was never going to end without tragedy as a result of a fatal foetal abnormality, being denied basic compassion and treatment in their own country.
My Yes Is For those who have shared their stories, and those who are still too afraid and ashamed to put their heads up above the parapet and tell their own.
My Yes Is For the children of this country, that they may grow up in a society where a woman does not become nothing but a vessel the second an egg is fertilised until a child is in her arms.
My Yes is for those who order pills and wait by the letterbox, hoping customs won’t have seized them and reads stories about the dramatic gone-wrong incidences and hopes it won’t happen to them.
My Yes Is For those who are afflicted by the harmful posters, the disgusting images, the angry words being slung at them and towards others during this highly strung period, they have lived experience that those slinging words may never know.
My Yes Is For those for whom pregnancy and bringing another child into their lives will be at the stark detriment of their mental health, and will risk their lives to do so.
My Yes Is For those with chronic illnesses who need medical care without the stress of a pregnancy, and for whom the pregnancy will leave with long term medical repercussions.
My Yes Is For the family of Mrs P, who shared their story and made us all wring our hands and scream “What is our nation doing this to people for?”.
My Yes Is For Savita, who should be here without any of us knowing her name.
My Yes is for Michelle Harte, who should have been granted the choice to choose her health instead of being forced to travel and delay her cancer treatment, which led to her death at the age of 40, leaving her young child without a mother.
My Yes Is For the doctors who need to be given assurance that what they do in their quest to give their patients the healthcare they need will not wind up giving them a custodial sentence.
My Yes is for the women who enter pregnancy so afraid that they will become one of these women, because we see how our state has treated them. I was one of those terrified mothers who had multiple issues in pregnancy, having watched the media covering these cases, who was terrified of what could go wrong. It is wrong to make our women live in fear that their health is less important than a heartbeat.
I hope that everyone who can vote does come out to vote on the 25th of May – hopefully you will be on the register and having read this will help us to repeal the 8th amendment. I would love to hear who YOUR yes is for – leave a comment down below, chat to me on Twitter or on Facebook – get the conversation flowing while we can make a difference.
For other posts I’ve written about the 8th Amendment, check them out here.