The 8th amendment. It’s a hot topic at the moment, especially with the General Election upon us. No matter what a candidate’s views are on the matter, you can be sure that they’ve got something to say… just like everyone else in the country.
As a law student, it is impossible not to have a strong view on the matter. The current position in Ireland- that a termination is only legally permissible when the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of the mother or if there’s a real risk that the mother will commit suicide if she continues with the pregnancy- is subject to much criticism.
One of these critics is Labour’s Ivana Bacik, who is of the firm opinion that nothing less than the deletion of Article 40.3.3 from the Constitution is a societal failure. It’s hard for me to disagree with her views.
Sitting in a lecture hall, hearing all about the law on this area, is probably the most frustrated I’ve ever been in my academic career. If you study law you know that you have to attempt to put your own views to one side because the law is not subjective. But this is a topic so controversial, so delicate, that that was almost completely impossible. I left that lecture angry, dissatisfied. I wanted change.
For me, this is the equality referendum all over again.
When I voted in favour of the of allowing marriage regardless of sex, it was because I don’t think it’s for me to decide how other people live their lives. If a person wants to get married, be it to a man or a woman, that’s their choice and they’re as entitled as anyone to make it. The same goes for the right to terminate. Even if it never affected me, I don’t think it’s for me to decide how other women live their lives.
Whether or not a move towards a referendum will be made anytime soon remains to be seen but there’s no denying that there’s a strong desire, especially amongst the young liberals, for change to come.