Life in Dublin

An outsider view: Abortion referendum in Ireland

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What I have to say might make me unpopular with some Irish people, but I have to express my opinion.

I think many people are missing the point when it comes to this topic. Some who oppose the abortion repeal are portraying it in a way as if this is about recommending women to do it.

Let’s state the obvious fact: whoever wants to do it will find a way to do it (read as “fly to the UK”), and women who want to keep their baby will (IMAGINE THIS…) keep the baby!

Wow, what a tough conclusion that was. So, in my opinion, the only thing that is going to change is that it will be easier and slightly less painful for women who made that difficult decision.

And because it’s their decision, who are you to decide on her behalf about her life; it’s her body, her right.

I never wanted to have an abortion myself; not because I think it’s immoral or wrong, but because I always had a plan, since I was 12 years old. I wanted to become a mom during my twenties and, if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t get married. I though: “Well , who cares. You can always find a man, so if I don’t have one by the age of 30, I’d just ask someone to make me a kid and be a single mom. Or I’ll adopt.”

Coming from a Catholic country  – Croatia – you can imagine how this was a little bit awkward compared to, say, more traditional and conservative older people. But I don’t remember anyone opposing my ideas. I was always allowed to express my thoughts, desires, wishes. When my mom urged me to do everything possible to avoid finding myself in a position where I would want to have an abortion, it was only for the single reason: it might make it harder to get pregnant one day in the future when I wanted to become a mom.

In my country abortion is legal since 1978. And I know a few women who went through for various reasons. One was only 17, another did it because of the medical reasons, and a married woman I know already had three kids. My role in it was non-existent, except to support people going through a tough time in life. It is challenging, and I don’t think it’s something any woman is planning for herself.

But it’s her choice! And just because you wouldn’t do it – the same as I would do anything to avoid it –  doesn’t mean it’s right to keep it illegal. She’s still going to do it, and you won’t have control of it.

As a country, you’re putting women’s rights and maybe even lives at risk. As a parent, you’re jeopardizing your daughter’s safety: a child who is really ashamed that she’s pregnant might do something dangerous because she’ll be afraid to tell you. Or maybe your son will get someone pregnant and do something stupid.

Ireland as a county cannot keep pretending  this is not happening or avoiding finding real and permanent solutions to address these important issues.

I agree it’s important to save lives, so why not start with people who actually are born and alive?

With love, Ana-Marija Hota

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