Sunday 20 August 2017

I won't vote for any party that continues to shirk dealing with Eighth Amendment

Enda Kenny said that Fine Gael would not commit, in its election manifesto, to abolish the Eighth Amendment
Enda Kenny said that Fine Gael would not commit, in its election manifesto, to abolish the Eighth Amendment
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

The Eighth. It's shorthand for something beautiful, inspirational and life-affirming in other cultures - Beethoven's Symphony No 8. But in Ireland, it's the polar opposite. Here, it's code for a harsh law that turns a pregnant woman into a receptacle, a clumsy piece of legislation that alarms and immobilises doctors.

Fear elbows its way to the forefront when the abortion question is raised. Politicians are terrified to tackle it in case of voter backlash. Medical teams are scared about being sued, even where a patient's welfare requires it.

And women are silenced by the risk of stigma if they admit to an abortion. Finally, however, the silence is being breached. Journalist Roisin Ingle and actress Tara Flynn felt the fear and told their stories anyway in recent days, and deserve our thanks for their candour.

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