An Irish book editor in the UK, living in the lush Hertfordshire countryside, navigating life with four-year-old twins. Various ramblings on various topics. Magic genie wish? More time, please. (Oh, and can I have my metabolism back too, while you're at it?)
Savita didn’t have to die, but her name is now forever etched on the list of women who have lost their lives due to this law. They are our mothers, our sisters, our friends, our wives – and they shouldn’t have to die. The lives of women in Ireland matter too. WE matter.
The problem with the 8th Amendment as it stands is that it’s completely illogical, and in every instance where a choice is needed it is being broken. It’s simple logic: you cannot give equal rights to a pregnant woman and a foetus – when a decision has to be made, one or other HAS to be prioritised, thus making this law impossible to apply even in simple terms. That it was ever passed Thanks , with its current wording, astounds me.
And in answer to which I think has priority, I will always say it’s the one that’s here, alive now. If I had to make a choice between my living children and a child not born, my children will get priority every time. A law that would make their health/safety jeopardised – by forcing their mother through emotional/psychological/physical horror – is unfathomable to me.
A law that means a cancer patient’s treatment is stopped if she becomes pregnant – meaning she and her baby will both die – is totally and utterly barbaric. Our country has treated its women like animals for too long – once dropped outside the laundries, it’s now to the airport/ferry. “Not our problem…” etc etc. The Catholic Church shouting loud and hard… but the Tuam baby scandal is fresh in our minds. Forgive me if I don’t look to the church on this issue (whose corruption/cover-ups in relation to women and children means they don’t have a voice here whatsoever in my opinion) and instead look to international human rights and biology.
We have to trust women to make the choices that are right for their specific situation, and in the meantime not deny them basic maternity rights. Every pregnancy is a complex scenario and only those at the epicentre know what is right for them. For someone to be forced against their wishes to carry a baby to full-term, and birth it, knowing it won’t make it/will be born suffering and live in pain for a few days, is a cruelty I have no words for. Or a woman whose pregnancy will very likely kill them, but who is told they can’t be helped until they do actually start to die, with the hope being they can indeed be saved at the time. Fingers crossed, eh?
The only way to amend the law, is for it to first be repealed, after which point Ireland can debate what laws it can put in place to guarantee the safety of women. 2018 Ireland… it may as well be 1918 if this law isn’t repealed.
If you’re undecided about which way to vote, please look into the 8th Amendment and what it actually means, and what maternity rights women in Ireland don’t have access to because of it, so that you’re as informed as possible before you make your choice. The In Her Shoes – Women Of The Eighth Page is a good starting point, where you can read stories of how the 8th Amendment as it stands has affected women. Every story has made me want to cry, and scream about how Irish women are being treated.
I do strongly believe that when decisions have to be made women should be trusted to make the right decision. I cannot imagine – having had a complicated pregnancy with the twins – had I been told that I didn’t have a say over my body in the midst of that. I was trusted, and was able to make the choice that was right for me.