Tuesday, 21st August 2018
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Just a few days away from the referendum on repealing the Eighth amendment. As a man from Country Waterford, I will vote Yes on 25 May. I'd like to explain why.

This referendum is not a vote on abortion because abortion is already here. Everyone acknowledges that. Just look at the numbers. Between 2012 and 2016, 295 women from Country Waterford travelled to England to have abortions. That does not take into account those who did not list their home address, or who travelled to other countries to access care.

Nor does it account for the many women who, unable to travel, choose instead to order unregulated abortion pills online from unknown sellers. These pills are safe when taken under the supervision of a doctor, but that's not what is happening.

The shame and isolation of this act means that girls and women taking abortion pills may delay getting emergency care when bleeding becomes severe.

The threat of 14 years prison sentence if they are discovered means that many suffer and put their lives at risk because they cannot access supported abortion care legally here at home.

Many never even tell their doctors, or seek their support.

And so, this is really a vote to decide if we will choose to regulate and make safe the abortion that is already here, and prove care to women.

In the 35 years since its addition to our constitution, there have been far too many public cases of girls and women who have been harmed by the Eighth Amendment.

This goes back to the devastating story of Miss X in 1992 when a young girl, just 14 years old, became pregnant as a result of rape. This experience was so traumatic and desperate that she became suicidal.

In a time of unimaginable trauma for Miss X, the Eighth Amendment prevented her from being able to terminate her pregnancy in Ireland and start to heal the wounds of her horrific experience.

It is cases like these and many others that led both the Citizens' Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment to recommend legislation that allows access to abortion up to 12 weeks.

After hearing hours upon hours of expert and personal testimony, panels of regular Irish citizens and our elected officials both realised that it is nearly impossible to legislate for cases concerning rape and incest.

The most compassionate and logical laws we can create offer access until the 12-week mark.

The reality is that life is complicated

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