Thursday 24 May 2018

Putting a human face on abortion makes all the difference

Graphic posters should be countered by equally powerful images of women who've had abortions but are rarely seen or heard

Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke

Eilis O'Hanlon

As the campaign to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment finally gets going in earnest after a long-winded build up, Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath has declared that "it's more about facts and information now than spin".

That may be wishful thinking. There are zealots with a very warped definition of "facts and information" on both sides of the battle. It's no wonder that many voters have yet to be engaged by the debate. That's probably why so much attention has been focused of late on the pro-life posters, because it's one of the few talking points.

It was naive to expect pro-lifers to play by Marquis of Queensbury rules. This is their last chance to stop abortion in Ireland. If they lose this vote, that chance has gone, potentially for ever. The same goes for the shrill allegations that the campaign against repeal has an unfair advantage because it's being funded by dirty money. This is reminiscent of the fallout after Hillary Clinton failed to win the US presidential election.

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