Aonghus Óg McAnally Profile picture
May 20, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
So today's the day for #HearMeOut, an initiative to have conversations with undecided voters where they can tease out their concerns or questions in private. Well, I'd like to go public with my own situation.
This Friday, I'll be voting Yes, and I'd encourage you to do the same. However, if the vote had been 5 or 6 years ago, I would've been voting No. I've never identified as "Pro Life," but I would've been very strongly anti-abortion.
I had, to my mind, sound reasons for this stance. How impossibly complicated and messy it would be to legislate for rape/incest etc, how legalisation would strip away fathers' rights, adoption was a better way, all the usual explanations.
Thankfully, I had some brilliant women in my life who were willing to talk things through with me, explain things from another perspective, and gently counter each of my "but what abouts" with a patient, considered response.
It'll come as no great surprise to anyone that chief among these brilliant women was @EleanorMethven, to whom I remain eternally grateful for shining a light on areas I hadn't previously thought to explore.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're a Yes voter, please keep having those conversations. They work. They bring people round. They brought me around. This result is going to be tight, and we need every vote we can get.
And if you're still undecided or planning to vote No, ask yourself honestly if forcing that 12 year old child to travel was what a compassionate society does. If making couples travel their child's remains home cooled with bags of frozen peas is what a compassionate society does.
Ask yourself if there's an inherent contradiction in being ok with abortion in cases of rape or incest, but not otherwise. If that's your stance, then your issue is not with the termination of a pregnancy, your issue is with the manner in which the woman was impregnated.
Ask yourself, if what's stopping you voting yes is the notion that some women will abuse the system and use it as contraception – then would you also advocate stopping all dole payments if a tiny minority abuse that system too?
Ask yourself if you think donating blood, or bone marrow, or a kidney should be compulsory if someone is in need of it. If not, then you understand bodily autonomy.
Ask yourself if you felt uneasy with any of the tactics of the No side, and then maybe question why they felt their argument couldn't stand on its own merit without resorting to lies and misinformation, the Down Syndrome posters, the Savita posters, the fake "impartial" booklets.
Ask yourself if you can stand over supporting a constitutional ban on abortion, while also supporting a constitutionally enshrined right to travel for an abortion? A constitutional protection to travel for something that attracts a 14 year jail sentence at home?
Ask yourself, if the No side are actually serious about increased "supports" for the women they'd force to carry a crisis pregnancy to term against their will, then where are those supports? They've had 35 years to put those plans in place.
And if, after all that, you still feel that your own morality would never let you terminate a pregnancy, then fine, that's your choice. But ask yourself if it's right that you should impose that choice on anyone else?
And if you're a man who feels this is a "women's issue" and nothing to do with you – well, last I checked, men were directly involved in 100% of pregnancies. This is absolutely about you. It's about all of us, and the society we want for our people.
We have the chance to be on the right side of history here. If you vote No, Irish women will still have abortions. They just won't have them as safely, or as supported as they should be. Please get out and Vote YES on May 25th.
#Together4Yes #yourYESmatters

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