The date for the referendum has not yet been announced, yet the campaign is already getting nasty. I refer of course to the proposed referendum to remove the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which effectively bans abortion in almost all circumstances (for my non-Irish readers).
I’ve made my decision, and I explained my reasons here. But I will not be campaigning or reading or listening, because I find it all too upsetting. There’s good people on both sides, compassionate people who do care, I know that. But there’s others who will use anyone, any strategy, or any argument in their attempt to win this battle, and it’s ugly to watch. So I plan to avoid it. I will be muting and hiding as much of the coverage as I can.
Personally I find some of the tactics of the Save the 8th campaign barbaric (with apologies to my pro life friends). Pictures of dead foetuses are surely disrespectful, and seeing one in your Facebook news feed or on the street must be very upsetting for those who’ve had abortions, as well as those who’ve suffered miscarriages or given birth to very premature babies, like I did.
Then there’s the fake accounts being set up to discredit the other side by spreading horrible lies.
And I was disgusted by the exploitation of children with Down’s Syndrome by one group. I fired off an angry tweet asking whether this group actually provides any support to children or adults with Down’s Syndrome who “leave school and face into a life of sitting at home with their parents or being dragged around shopping centres by their carers.”
Not a very balanced tweet, I admit.
When I calmed down and admitted that I know adults with Down’s Syndrome who live happy lives, I was admonished by a member of the repeal campaign because it “confuses the issue by giving undue prominence to a minority.”
That tweet left me feeling very uncomfortable.
The repeal side can also present a cold clinical tone when discussing the whole issue of abortion, and how many babies/foetuses will be affected, which I also find upsetting.
And many of the campaigners ignore what happens post pregnancy whether it’s ended early by abortion, or results in a baby being born. Everything has to be presented in black and white, but life is messy, and there will never be a solution that works in every situation.
Abortion is obviously an emotive subject, and I’d love to ask everyone involved to play nicely, but it ain’t gonna happen, is it? I’ve never liked wars, so please excuse me while I head off to hibernate. Wake me up when it’s all over.