Opinion

Monday 15 October 2018

Now finally we can end the chill of the Eighth

The resounding repeal this weekend marks a momentous point in our nation's history, writes Ivana Bacik

LONG-TIME CAMPAIGNER: Ivana Bacik in the upper yard of Dublin Castle where activists met to mark the referendum result. Photo: Gerry Mooney
LONG-TIME CAMPAIGNER: Ivana Bacik in the upper yard of Dublin Castle where activists met to mark the referendum result. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ivana Bacik

We have made history this weekend. I am overwhelmed at the way in which Ireland has spoken. The resounding repeal of the Eighth Amendment marks a historic point in our nation's history - the moment at which we have finally faced up to our social responsibility, to the reality of women's lives and our reproductive healthcare needs. It has been a long time coming. It has taken us 35 years.

I was too young to vote in 1983, but I have lived all of my adult life under the chill of the Eighth Amendment. I now have two young daughters growing up under the same chill. One of the key motivations for me in continuing to campaign for repeal over recent years was that I did not want my daughters' generation to reach adulthood facing the same restrictions on their reproductive health care that so many of us have faced for so long.

Nearly 30 years ago, I felt the chill of the Eighth Amendment personally as Trinity College Dublin students' union president, when I and my fellow student officers were taken to court by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) in 1989, and threatened with prison - just because we were giving the phone numbers of clinics in Britain to women with crisis pregnancies.

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