Thousands of women are traveling back to their home country of Ireland to vote in the historic referendum on May 25 that may put an end to the nation’s draconian laws on abortion.
Etched in the constitution from 1983 in the form of the 8th amendment, the law provides equal right to life to unborn fetuses as their mothers, even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, even if the victim is a minor.
Thousands of Irish women, over the course of decades, have travelled to the United Kingdom and all across Europe to get abortions which their country denied them.
Even though, later amendments to the law allowed women to get abortions if their life was in danger, or at risk due suicidal tendencies, especially in the case of minors, the 8th amendment has claimed mothers’ lives over the course of many years.
Savita Halappanavar’s 2012 death after a miscarriage was a glaring, ugly example of that.
Despite a miscarriage, Halappanavar was denied an abortion because the fetus’ heart was still beating, according to the doctors. She later developed sepsis after carrying a dead fetus and died. Her death led to protests by Irish women all over the country but almost six years later, the law still exists.
I can’t vote (lived abroad too long).— Helen O'Rahilly (@HelenORahilly) May 23, 2018
I haven’t canvassed (I live in London).I haven’t been shouted at, spat at, had doors slammed in my face. I *can* offer lifts to Heathrow/ London City airports on Friday AM. #HomeToVote #Repealthe8th *for Savita & all Irish women* pic.twitter.com/4nr3OvHa9J
However, as the referendum approaches, Irish women have taken matters into their own hands this time.
They have been traveling from all over the world to Ireland to vote “yes” in the referendum so no other women have to make the journey the other way around.
Stories for women traveling for the referendum have been making rounds on social media under the hashtag #hometovote, with people funding airplane tickets to warm welcome at the airport; this has turned into a movement for women who want their right of choice.
#hometovote is like something out of Celtic Mythology. A curse on generations of Irish women, which forces them from their home at the hour of their most desperate need.— Repeal Shield (@repeal_shield) May 24, 2018
So 10 thousand Irish Women hear their cries, rise up, & return home, to help drive the curse from the land. pic.twitter.com/nLp6aHBoxM
a friend of mine wasn’t allowed fly from Manchester as she forgot her passport. random stranger in the airport transferred her 400 pounds to book flights tomorrow morning. She will be #hometovote. I will be crying— ruth cunningham (@rthcnnghm) May 24, 2018
Tonight I will leave hosp bedside of my daughter & go #hometovote Hope when her body recovers, she has right to choose what’s right for her— Ernestine Duffy (@ErnestineClaire) May 24, 2018
Is 2018 finally the year when Irish women would finally stop falling victim to the law that has already claimed many innocent lives?
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Toby Melville