Quinn’s Bizzness: Referendum Special

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This week, Quinn’s Bizzness takes a more serious slant, as Jess Quinn makes the case for voting No in tomorrow’s referendum.


Just when you thought your day couldn’t get any worse, you see that I have been given once again a platform to spout my nonsense. This isn’t Bizzness as usual. I’m here to talk about the two things I dislike the most, student politics and hypocrisy.

So, there’s a UCDSU referendum, I hear. Now usually I would be on the neutral stance with anything SU related, because I do not care. However, this referendum has touched a nerve. Probably because there are people trying to shove their Bible, not only in my face, but, also up my vagina. Ouch!

Anyways, here’s some context. A grassroots campaign, which received a thousand signatures, has demanded a referendum for the SU to change their Pro-Choice stance on repealing the 8th. Vote yes to remain neutral, vote no to keep the current SU mandate. Rolls eyes, not this nonsense again.

What is the 8th Amendment? The short answer is that it is the out-dated law, bound into our constitution that makes abortion illegal in Ireland. The long answer is that it is a remaining fragment of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the running of our country. It further adds to gender inequality and it is a violation of approximately 50% of our country’s population.

Firstly, why does our Student’s Union need to have an opinion at all? Well, student politics has always been rooted in campaigning for various different social justice issues. The SU represent the students, not only in lowering the prices of chicken fillet rolls, but also their human rights. Imagine if the SU had remained neutral on the Marriage Equality Referendum? The hundreds of LGBTQ+ students they represent would have been at a loss. The same goes for the SU campaigning in favour of repealing the 8th. It is a human rights issue that affects all female students, trans men students and our nob binary pals that have wombs. It is also the most pressing social justice issue in our country at the moment. Not having an opinion is negligent of our SU. Remaining neutral is negligent of students, who are the future of this country.

It is not good enough to keep the 8th amendment because you don’t like the idea of abortion or because it goes against your religious beliefs. Can we just clarify that repealing the 8th amendment would simply just allow women to access the healthcare requirements they need, within their own country. It does not mean that women will be forced to have abortions. It does not mean that disabled babies will be wiped out. It does not mean that our nation will sink a little lower into hell. You may paint over Repeal murals; spout your lies and shame people into remaining silent on the issue. But, let’s be clear, we are not going away.

Abortion was legalized in 2013 when The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed in 2013, allowing for abortion only if there is an imminent and substantial risk to a woman’s life, including suicide. I’m still waiting to see any harmful affects from that. Ireland has the one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union. Therefore, Ireland is one of the most unequal member states of the EU. A woman may not procure an abortion in Ireland if she is pregnant due to rape. Victims of rape, are then victims of their country’s constitution. Lovely. A woman may not procure an abortion if she is carrying a foetus that will not survive outside of the womb. So, that woman is forced to go through a traumatic 9 months to give birth to a dead child. In 2014, on average, 10 women travelled from Ireland to Britain every day for an abortion. Due to the secrecy and stigma around abortion in Ireland, there are no exact numbers available to account for the women who travel to other European countries or who procure abortions within Ireland using pills. Can you imagine if this was the case for any other medical procedure? We do know that in 2014, 1017 abortion pills were seized by Irish Customs (more than double the amount seized in 2013). Any woman or girl who procures an abortion, or anyone who assists a women to procure an abortion in Ireland, outside the confines of the current legislation, can be criminalised and imprisoned for up to 14 years. So, under the current laws, women are persecuted for availing of healthcare.

Another reason for my distain of this referendum is its hypocrisy. The Yes side wants neutral representation, by silencing the SU. I’m sorry, what? They feel like they are being persecuted because their views are not being represented. Lads, your views are written in to the Irish Constitution. They do not want to be part of a Union that fundamentally disagrees with their own views. No one is stopping you from believing whatever it is you want to believe. No one is shoving a sign in your hand or forcing you to wear a Repeal jumper. You still have a voice, however it just isn’t as loud as your opposition’s.

The notion that most or all women experience regret, anxiety, depression after having an abortion is not just shaky conjecture but also, according to the highest-quality scientific evidence available, untrue. The American Psychological Association (APA) and the Johns Hopkins University have both carried out separate large-scale reviews of research on abortion and mental health. Both established that the large majority of women don’t regret having chosen abortion. Research by the HSE’s Crisis Pregnancy Programme in 2010 showed that 87% of women in Ireland who had an abortion said it was ‘the right outcome’ for them.

Significantly, restricting women’s access to abortion does provoke feelings of depression and anxiety and does increase the risk of suicide in pregnancy. This burden is merely exacerbated by the isolation and stigmatisation felt by those compelled to travel overseas for access to safe, legal abortion services. Therefore, the negative issues caused by abortion are actually a result of the 8th Amendment.

So, since the Yes side does not think my opinion matters, I guess I’ll share it in my column. It is my opinion that a woman’s healthcare decisions are between her and her doctor. If it does not impact you and your own life, why should you care? Prolife people want to save lives. Then save the lives of our women. Invest your time into caring for the homeless or the other lives that are second to embryos in this country.

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