'I am voting Yes as I believe we should trust women to make the decisions'

Ahead of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, members and supporters of Parents Together For Yes speak to the GALWAY ADVERTISER about how the Eighth affects maternity care, women's rights, women's ability to make decisions around what is best for their health, and why they will be voting Yes on May 25

"As parents, we love our children, and we care deeply about them and their well-being. We make all of our major life decisions with them in mind. We believe in the right of every child to be born into a family where they are wanted and loved. This means that, sometimes, the best decision we can make is to not continue with a pregnancy.

"One in every two of those who need abortion care are already mothers. Most are using at least one form of contraception. The decision to seek abortion care is a private family decision, made with the best interests of our children in mind. As parents, we know all about the reality of parenting in Ireland today. We know about the challenges; and what our capacities are as families, and when our family simply isn’t able for another child. We also know what a pregnancy does to our mental and physical health, and believe that we should be the ones to decide whether to take the risk of continuing another pregnancy if our health should be negatively impacted" - Parents Together For Yes is a group of mothers and fathers and a member of the national Together for Yes campaign

ciara c

"I grew up with the view that abortion was wrong, in every circumstance. Some gentle conversations with a friend, however, opened my mind. I started to realise that abortion is not a black and white issue, and that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It means supporting people in whatever they decide regarding their pregnancies. I trust women to know what is best for them and their own lives. This is why I will be voting yes on May 25" - Ciara Coy, Loughrea, mother of one

emily king

"I had heard of the Eighth Amendment before I was pregnant but, like many, just assumed it only affected those who needed to terminate a pregnancy. What I didn’t know was that it also affects every pregnancy due to it being referenced in the HSE National Consent Policy. It was only after I had my first child that I realised I had very little control over my labour and birth. Decisions were made about interventions and treatments I was to receive, without my consent and in many cases without my knowledge, with some of these interventions not in line with best practice guidelines. This, I believe, was due to the Eighth Amendment.

"During my second labour and birth, once again decisions were made by midwives and doctors without my knowledge or consent. Both of these events made me realise that while I was pregnant, I was not in control of the situation or my body. This made me feel helpless and frustrated. When I was at my most vulnerable, I knew I had no voice. I experienced significant anxiety during my second pregnancy knowing this.

"I am voting Yes to remove the Eighth as I believe no person should be in a situation where informed consent is not necessary. I am voting Yes as I believe we should trust women to be able to make the decisions that are best for them and their families. I am voting Yes so those who do require termination of a pregnancy can access it in their own country, where it is safe and regulated, and where they have the support of their loved ones and their own trusted doctor" - Emily King, Knocknacarra, mother of two

karen oneill

"I am voting Yes because we need to have compassionate systems in place to assist women and their families when faced with difficult decisions in pregnancy. A system that gives them information and counselling if they need it, and which allows them to make informed decisions. I want women to be treated as equals. This is important to me because, until the Eighth Amendment is removed, none of the above is available. As a mother, and a grandmother, I am doing this for my family. We never know what the future holds for them, and I want them to be looked after in Ireland" - Karen O’Neill, Ardrahan, mother of four, grandmother of five

mike and family

"Like most men who have never had a partner experience a crisis pregnancy, I have never really considered the full meaning of the Eighth Amendment, but since the decision to hold the referendum, I have read a lot on the subject, and have come to the conclusion that we should not be making the most difficult decision a woman or family ever has to make even more difficult. As the father of three young girls, I hope to raise them in a society where, if they ever face a crisis pregnancy, they will receive the medical and emotional support they need, in their own country, with my unconditional love. I will be voting Yes on May 25 for them, and for my wife" - Mike Conroy, Moycullen, father of three

Doireann and son

"When I got pregnant, I was living abroad. The pregnancy wasn’t planned, but it was my own decision to go ahead and continue with the pregnancy, not because of any law. I’m glad the decision was left up to me, and I’d never dream of making that decision on behalf of another woman or family, because we can’t know enough about someone’s situation to decide a thing like that for them. Only we know our own lives. That’s why I will be voting Yes.

"Nuair a d’éirigh mé torrach, bhí mé i mo chónaí thar lear. Ní raibh an toircheas sa plean agam, ach is ar mo chumas féin a bheartaigh mé dul ar aghaidh leis, ní de bharr aon dlí. Tá áthas orm gur suas chugam féin a fágadh an cinneadh sin, agus ní smaoineoinn riamh ar an cinneadh a dhéanamh ar son bean nó clann eile, mar ní féidir linn go leor eolas a bheith againn ar suíomh duine eile chun rud mar sin a bheartú dóibh. Níl ár saol féin ar eolas ag éinne ach muid féin. Sin an fáth go mbeidh mise ag vótáil ‘Tá" - Doireann Ní Murchadha, Indreabháin, mother of one



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