The past few weeks have been a journey, for many reasons. Firstly, publicly sharing our story, of our loss which was made that bit more difficult because of the constitution as it stands. Secondly the feedback from being so open, some good, some bad and some, well ugly.
The 8th Amendment is complex, its challenging and has many consequences for families such as my own.
Firstly, regarding Repeal the Eight, all cases, all circumstances that lead any individual or couple to termination of pregnancy, are hard cases. They are not cases we should be judging, they are cases in which we should be showing as a nation, compassion and empathy within the confines of our Island and not moving this issue to another country.
Secondly, imagery which I have found particularly emotive and distressing. I value debate, I value balance. I value the sanctity of life. Sadly, the imagery used by the no campaign, did not provide this, what is has done, is frighten our children where posters are at school gates, it has deeply impacted those going through or have gone through difficult pregnancies or termination of pregnancy. It was not respectful to all those in our community.
What I have learned; I have experienced compassion from my colleagues and friends, strength I didn’t know I had and healing in sharing our story. I heard many stories through the campaign but one will never leave me and that’s the story of Caroline and Michael McCarthy who in January this year had to make a difficult journey to Liverpool because I country could not support the in their time of need. To me, their experience sums up why we need to move forward and amend our constitution.
This referendum is about giving the people of Ireland a say on how we treat women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation. It is about how we want our country to treat our sisters, wives, mothers, daughters, cousins, friends and colleagues at a time when they need our care, compassion and protection.
Tomorrow, May 25th, I am voting for change, I am voting for compassion, I am voting for trust in women and medics to empower each and every individual every opportunity to make the right choice. Our constitution is not there to place judgement, lets reflect that and be #together4yes.