Repeal 8th

Articles on the 30+ year campaign to repeal the hated 8th amendment which was passed in 1983 and removes medical control from people as soon as they test positive in a pregnancy test

Fascist Party Openly Campaigns as 'Abortion Never' to Keep 8th Amendment

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Seen any of these posters around recently? You may be interested to know they are a product of the 'Abortion Never' campaign, an initiative of the anti-immigrant, far-right National Party. The party is led by one Justin Barrett who is arguably best known for leading Youth Defence from the early nineties until 2004.

In the past he has attended several events hosted by the German NPD, a Neo-Nazi group, whose then deputy leader confirmed that the NPD was 'friendly' with Youth Defence. Italian fascist group 'Forza Nuovo' reported that Mr Barrett has also attended several of their events in the early 2000's.
Even after Mr Barrett's departure, Youth Defence still managed to grab the headlines though. In 2013, a Youth Defence billboard truck parked outside the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre carrying a billboard that read: "The abortion bill won't make women safer, it will just kill babies". The company who owned the truck refused to carry any more Youth Defence material after the wave of outrage that followed.

A trip into the anti-choice mind

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You'd be hard pressed to find an issue riddled with as many lies, myths, inaccuracies etc. as abortion particularly in Ireland. You'd also be hard pressed to find a more ridiculous poster as that which some members of the anti-choice brigade have produced in the run up to referendum.

How the government were forced to call a referendum to repeal the 8th

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Now that we have a definitive date of May 25th 2018, the date on which we will get to vote to repeal the 8th Amendment it is timely for us to remember how this opportunity to change Irish society into a fairer one came about. 

History is written by those in power, therefore this referendum has comes with a heavily constructed backstory that goes like this. Leo Varadkar, our funky sock wearing leader, with all his social media savvy got together with his wing of the Fine Gael party to progress social change in Ireland. Repeal was the next obvious step. The line continues that having witnessed the historic popular vote on the marriage equality referendum, the government decided to tackle the thorny issue of the 8th amendment. They had not the courage to devise a plan themselves so they gave it to the Citizens assembly, hoping that if they came back with something grossly unpopular then it was the assembly that could be blamed. I diverge from the script here, but it is important to recognise that there is a distinct lack of courage with the elected ones. Now, they are now fully enacting the recommendations, because the Citizens assembly came back with the obvious solution to deal with the issue. That was to repeal the 8th amendment and legislate for safe abortion in Ireland.

Repealing the 8th - what the opinion polls are telling us

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The Sunday Times with Behaviour & Attitudes have run two very useful polls that give a strong sense of how the campaign to Repeal the 8th Referendum is going.  The overall story the poll results tell is bad for the Vote No campaign and promising for the Vote Yes campaign.  If the referendum had been held at the time of the March poll then Repeal would have been carried by 64% to 36%, almost 2:1.  The polling data also shows No has a soft vote that is very much larger proportion than the equivalent soft Yes vote.  This means if anything between now and referendum day the polls are likely to drift towards repeal.   

None of this is a reason for complacency, what the No side lacks in terms of numbers and support they make up for in terms of funding.  Before the campaign had even started they were spending hundreds of thousands on online advertising, billboards, leaflets and free buses to what had to be their disappointingly small March 10th national march.  Together for Yes may have far more support and more people out canvassing but will it have enough to defeat all that paid advertising? 

As this is a long read we are also making an audio version available

Kildare turns out for Repeal

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There was a solid turnout at the TogetherforYes public information meeting in Newbridge Kildare the evening of 26th March. Great venue too. 

Together for Yes launched to campaign for Yes vote in Repeal of 8th referendum

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There are times when you walk into a room, and you sense that this is the exact space that you should be, something special is about to take place. It was that way, when Solidarity Times attended the launch of the Together for Yes campaign in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital last Thursday [22nd of March]. The room was filling up fast and there was excited chatter in all quarters. You need a crowd, and progress and movements come from crowds assembled and pushing in a direction. Together for Yes, is as broad an alliance as I have ever witnessed for a campaign, and all the disparate groups where represented, covering a spectrum that ran from activists, feminists, anarchists, socialists, republicans, through to the most established of establishment political parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael included.

Together for Yes is a broad alliance, very broad because it unites all of the people who see this law for what it is, and the time has come to address it, by repealing it. This is issue which has blighted this island, and will continue to do so, even after we win the vote to repeal the 8th amendment, as we cannot forget about the active denial of reproductive rights that exists in Norther Ireland. But in the room last Thursday, the atmosphere crackled with static, there was anticipation to get this started, to enact the campaign, and to repeal the 8th amendment, to move towards free safe medical reproductive care for people in the republic of Ireland.

Cambridge Analytica style tactics are already being used by anti-choice groups in Ireland

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We've seen a number of Irish journalists wondering if Cambridge Analytica style tactics could be part of repeal referendum. In fact they already are and have been for over a year - we are going to demonstrate this in what follows.

Comments as #repealthe8th referendum becomes a reality

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A few thoughts on the start of the #repealthe8th campaign. Commentators who thought the anti-choice side were better organised because they went full throttle faster should reconsider - how much damage have they done to themselves with fake stories, fake 100s crowds & neo-nazi smears. At this stage they must be wishing they had done & said nothing over the last week & instead focused on fact checking & claims that could stand 30 seconds scrutiny. If you are pro-choice you should reconsider anything presenting the campaigns as if it was a apolitical horse race - focus on the issues and not on performance.

Save8Rally - 6 Points that Prove that 9k and Not 100k Marched

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Saturday March 10th saw an anti-choice march pass through Dublin, part of their campaign to try to maintain the status quo where pregnant people and doctors can be jailed for 14 years for taking abortion pills in this country while others are denied control of their own maternity care. Polls show that few people support this position and its ‘let women die’ implications so the anti-choice campaign is trying to create the fiction of mass support in the hope that people will be more inclined to vote No.

Aware of this, WSM decided to put together a team to go out and document the march for ourselves including physically counting everyone who marched and using other techniques that give a good estimate of the numbers marching. Below we will bring you through the results of each of these counts and estimates but the headline item is that when the organisers claimed 100k had marched this was a blatant lie that we will show is even physically impossible.  We counted 8930 marchers. All of the other methods we used also limited the maximum size of the march to less than 15,000.

Kilkenny referendum campaign is on!

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On this 8th of March, as part of International Women’s Day, the group Kilkenny for Choice launched its campaign for the upcoming referendum on the 8th amendment of the constitution which currently stands in the way of decriminalising abortion in Ireland.

Early in the afternoon, members of the group set up a stall on the castle parade and were soon joined by workers from local animation studios who had crafted a series of posters and cardboard word bubbles in support of the pro choice campaign. It is always great to see how much can be achieved in a short amount of time when a number of dedicated and talented people get together to promote a cause. The delightful variety of handmade visuals sharply contrasts with the slick, uniform, mass produced imagery of the pro-life campaign.

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