On the 28th July, Dublin had its first annual Trans Pride. It was organised from the beginning as a grassroots protest by and for trans people, trying to bring Pride back to its radical roots as a protest movement and rejecting the corporate taint that suffocates most establishment Prides, with companies that carry out queerphobic policies allowed to march or take part in what for them is nothing but an exercise in corporate pinkwashing.
25th May was a momentous and historic day – two thirds of voters in the South voted to repeal the anti-choice eighth amendment from the constitution, demanding the right of women and pregnant people to access abortion services. Unsurprisingly, it was women, young and LGBT+ people and working-class communities that were to the fore in this revolt. The result was a body blow to the Catholic Church’s domination of Irish society which, in living memory, led to such horrors as the imprisonment of women in Magdalene laundries and state-sanctioned abduction of children from unmarried mothers.
The referendum to scrap the ban on abortion was easily passed with 66.4% to 33.6% on a turnout of over 64%, the highest ever for a referendum in Ireland. The result was nearly an exact reversal of the 1983 vote which imposed the ban, except nearly a million more voted this time. As the government, in line with proposals from the Citizen’s Assembly, had said that they intended to legislate for abortion up to 12 weeks on request if Yes won, this can only be interpreted as a very strong pro-choice vote.
On 25 May, Irish citizens voted decisively to repeal the 8th Amendment, a resounding rejection of the abortion ban and misogynistic ideas about women and our bodies. The Yes vote won a landslide 66% and in all but one county. The significance of this victory over decades of anti-choice misogyny and repressive Church control cannot be understated.
No delay can now be justified. There is nothing to stop the Dail [Irish parliament] to move quickly to enact legislation to give effect to the proposals from the Oireachtas Committee. No more people should suffer.
If a movement is built on clear, cross-community basis, all the political parties and Westminster can come under pressure to act on this issue and the right to choose can be won.
In just a couple of months, we could see a gargantuan victory for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy in the South with the Repeal referendum. The potential for discarding of the Eighth Amendment – which equates the existence of a foetus to the life of the women carrying it – and abortion being made available up to 12 weeks upon request is historic.
Victory is in sight for the movement to repeal the anti-abortion 8th Constitutional Amendment in the South. The government has been dragged further than some would have thought possible and the committee they set up has recommended not only repeal of the 8th but also to legislate for abortion in […]