SIR – I attended my first stall with Rebels for Choice this weekend, which I found enlightening and encouraging. The overwhelming majority of people I spoke with were already pro-choice; a few had some reservations and concerns, which were soon put to rest with good, factual information from the members of the group.
There were few, of course, who did not wish to engage in polite conversation and only wanted to angrily shout abuse. Those who had different views were shown great respect by the pro-choice group, who entered into calm, friendly debate with them on the facts.
On leaving the city, I walked past a pro-life (or, more accurately, anti-choice) stall, which was covered in gory, graphic imagery and misinformation. What we are seeing, time and time again, is that when presented with solid, factual information, people are choosing to vote for a repeal of the Eighth amendment.
We saw it in the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, in the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, in the decision of Micheál Martin and many other TDs to come out in favour of repeal, and I have encountered it personally in many people I have spoken with.
Once the referendum date is announced, I only hope that the referendum commission can act to condemn the campaigns of deception we are seeing from the ‘pro-life’ side. To mislead people on such a sensitive issue is abhorrent.
The Eighth Amendment was forced into our Constitution in 1983 with a campaign of lies, deception and foreign money, which took advantage of an unstable political situation. It is only with a continuation of such deception that the side looking for its retention have any hope of success.
When presented with the facts, people are overwhelmingly on the side of choice. I urge anyone with any doubts to speak to a member of their local pro-choice group without fear, or read the report from the Citizens’ Assembly.
Only when in full possession of the facts can we make such an important decision on the lives and basic health care of Irish women. They deserve our time, and the truth.
Repeal the Eighth.