Compiled by members of the Parents for Choice Facebook Group, and co-ordinated by Sharon Leavy.
1. Currently under the constitution, the life of a woman or pregnant person in Ireland is considered equal to, or in some cases lesser than, a zygote.
2. If a young girl becomes pregnant, she has no option to terminate the pregnancy. Pregnancy is possible once ovulation begins – usually a year or so after a girl’s first period. Girls as young as 12 have become mothers.
3. Currently in Ireland, only the children of unmarried women or orphaned children are eligible for adoption. In certain cases, if a married woman becomes pregnant due to rape, she may surrender the child for adoption but only when the facts of the child’s paternity satisfy the Adoption Authority of Ireland (Source – TUSLA). This offers women in sexually abusive marriages no option but to continue with their pregnancy.
4. A clinically dead woman was kept on life support in 2014 because she was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. A High Court ruling eventually allowed life support to be switched off after three weeks. She was not afforded any dignity in death. Her life was deemed of lesser importance than a foetus.
5. Abortion “on demand” is not a thing. It’s not a subscription service. It’s abortion “as needed” or “when requested”. It is a medical procedure.
6. Making abortion available to all women and pregnant people does not mean all will access it. Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.(Source – World Health Organisation)
7. Nor does it mean that any person who is pregnant with a baby who has Down Syndrome will be forced to terminate. To use children with Down Syndrome in Anti-Choice campaigns is not only an insult to those children, but also to their parents – it implies that given a choice, the pregnancies would have been terminated. That they are “stuck” with their children because they had no other option. They are wanted, loved children – not consolation prizes.
8. Women with Down Syndrome can become pregnant too – they also need access to abortion services. Their images are being used to campaign against their own bodily autonomy.
9. Those who oppose the right to choose, cannot call themselves Pro-Life. You can not be pro one life and not another. If you are not Pro-Choice, you are Anti-Choice. We are all in favour of protecting lives. Pro-Choice does not mean Pro Abortion. Nobody is calling for forced abortions – people ARE campaigning for the continuation of forced births.
10. It is relatively easy for men to access vasectomy services in Ireland. A woman, however, will have great difficulty in getting sterilised if she doesn’t meet certain criteria (age, children, etc). Women are also encouraged to attend counselling before they are sterilised. Men do not need to attend counselling before a vasectomy. (Source – HSE)
11. In the case of FFA, the right to terminate a pregnancy in Ireland will take away the added financial, emotional and mental pressure from already grieving women. They need aftercare and support and they deserve to get that care and support in their own country. FFA isn’t a single condition or list of conditions. The individual symptoms are what make it fatal and if death occurs before, during or shortly after (within minutes of) birth it’s a Fatal Fetal Abnormality. Contrary to rumours that legal abortion would mean termination for all diagnosis of a non fatal disability,only 2% of all abortions carried out in the UK in 2015 were for this reason. (Source – Gov UK)
12. Anti-Choice literature that shows heavily pregnant women as the norm in relation to abortion is inaccurate. In the UK in 2015, 92% of abortions took place before 13 weeks. 80% of those were before 10 weeks. (Source – Gov UK)
13. The UN’s human rights committee has called on the Irish government to reform its restrictive abortion legislation, after ruling that it subjected a woman (Amanda Mellet) to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violated her human rights by denying her an abortion due to FFA in 2011. Ireland has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), part of the International bill on human rights. As such, it is obliged to prevent similar violations from happening in the future.
14. Nobody under 52 years of age has had the chance to vote on abortion in Ireland. The majority of women who will ever need abortion access have had no say. For women over 52 who have not yet entered menopause, they can still become pregnant and also need access to abortion.
15. If you agree with abortion “in certain circumstances”, it is not abortion you have an issue with, it’s the type of sex women have.
16. If abortion is only allowed in cases of rape, not only will women have to endure horrific sexual assault but the onus will then be on them to prove it. 65% of rape survivors who presented themselves to a rape crisis centre in 2015 had not reported their rape to an authority. (Source – Rape Crisis Network Ireland)
17. In 2015, 54% of women who terminated their pregnancies in the UK were already mothers. 70% were married or had partners. (Source – Gov UK)
18. If a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape procures abortion pills and is caught, she can currently serve a longer sentence than her rapist.
19. Abortion is not murder. The definition of murder is “the killing of one human being by another”. A zygote is not a human being.
20. The 8th Amendment is not only about abortion – it also restricts the ability of a pregnant person to consent to or refuse certain tests, procedures and treatments during pregnancy. (Source – HSE National Consent Policy)