I’ve written about abortion before, some of those blog posts were me trying to work out where I stood on the issue. To an extent I could understand where both sides were coming from, but the more I learned about the consequences of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution the more actively pro-choice I became. I’m a card carrying member of the Abortion Rights Campaign and founding member and chair of Kerry for Choice.
If you care about repealing the Eighth Amendment here are some ways you can get more involved with the campaign. There is still work to do before we see a referendum, but that work has already started. Be part of it.
Get involved with your local pro-choice group
The Abortion Rights Campaign is an all Ireland voluntary run organisation which advocates for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment and for the introduction of free, safe and legal abortions as well as the introduction of extensive abortion legislation in Northern Ireland. There are dozens of regional groups with new ones being set up all the time. I compiled a list recently, divided by province, it’s not exhaustive but it’s a start. If there’s no group listed for your area do a quick social media search or tweet me and I’ll double check for you. If there isn’t a pro-choice group in your area consider setting one up. The Abortion Rights Campaign is always on hand to help in any way they can as are other regional groups.
Not sure how you’ll be able to help? Contact your local group and ask if they need a hand with anything specific. Attending meetings isn’t for everyone, but maybe you could help out with running social media accounts or stalls. Or maybe you have media/PR skills that would be useful.
Contact your TDs
Politicians have said they are more likely to hear from anti-choice constituents than pro-choice constituents. You can help change that. Emailing them is good. Sending them a letter is better. If you can, attend a constituency clinic and speak to them in person.
Ruth Coppinger, TD has put forward a Private Member’s Bill calling for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. It is expected to be debated in October. Get in touch with your TDs and let them know you support the Bill and hope that they will vote in favour of it. Jason O’Mahony has written an article about lobbying your TD, which is worth reading. This Abortion Rights Campaign General Election Pack is also a great resource about talking to politicians
Write to newspapers
Letters to the editor have a part to play in the campaign. You can be certain that anti-choice people won’t hesitate about making their views heard. Make sure pro-choice voices are heard as well. While national newspapers are great, local and regional newspapers often play a larger part when it comes to abortion. Keep an eye on your local paper and consider responding to the inaccuracies of anti-choice letters. Even better write a standalone pro-choice letter.
This can sometimes be a tricky one because you might not want to rock the boat too much with people you know. But if you can, those conversations are important. If someone is unsure where they stand or has questions, you could offer to point them in the direction of resources that will help answer them. If they’re in favour of repeal, suggest ways they can actively help to achieve it.
Wear #RepealThe8th merchandise
There are plenty of ways you can show your support by wearing pro-repeal and pro-choice items. What’s not to love; you get some cool merchandise and much needed funds go to pro-repeal/pro-choice groups. They also serve as a good conversation starter, which helps with the point above.
The Abortion Rights Campaign has an online shop, where you can buy T-shirts, badges and tote bags. The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment has badges. The Artists Campaign to Repeal the Eighth is selling badges and art work. ROSA has badges that are usually available at their stalls for a small donation. The Repeal Project jumpers aren’t selling like hotcakes for nothing. 20% of the proceeds of these Repeal necklaces from Love & Robots goes to the Abortion Rights Campaign.
Donate to Abortion Support Network
Abortion Support Network is a volunteer organisation that provides funding and accommodation for women travelling from Ireland (including Northern Ireland) to the UK to access abortion care. You can make a much needed donation here.