To choose or be chosen for.

Olufemi Alex-Odunsi

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To value all life or to have a choice over your body is a universal debate more so in Ireland where it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy. The right to life at all stages starting from conception to natural death is the focal point for those who are pro-choice, on the other hand others argue that women should have a right to decide over their bodies and shouldn’t be held down by the law, they should have a right to choose if they can or cannot care or bring babies into the world.

Over the years there have been protests/ marches around the world especially in Dublin where abortion is a serious offense. These marches have been organised by both parties (the pro-choice and pro-life) to get their messages across to the government and to the people. They do these to get the people/ government on their side and support their cause and people has come out en masse to show their support to the either groups.
Both parties have drummed up arguments to support their campaigns. The pro-life for instance they argue that “since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life. Abortion is in direct defiance of the commonly accepted idea of the sanctity of human life” and pro-choice argues that “the concept of personhood is different from the concept of human life. Human life occurs at conception, but fertilized eggs used for in vitro fertilization are also human lives and those not implanted are routinely thrown away. Is this murder, and if not, then how is abortion murder?”. The argument of whether abortion is murder or not is what they fight about.

abortion rally. photo credit: internets_dairy(flickr)

The latest march which was organised by the pro-choice saw tens of thousands taking part in the rally to show their support by holding up signs that reads “time to act” “repeal the 8th” “mind your own uterus” “get off the fence Leo” in regard to Taoiseach Leo Vardakas’s stand on the issue at hand and chanting “my body my choice”.
Even though the number of girls and women who travel out of Ireland to Britain fell slightly from 3451 to 3265 in 2016 since abortion is very well illegal in the country, it is still a lot of girls and women who travel out of the country to places like the England, Wales and even Africa to terminate pregnancy.
“I don’t support abortion because it is not biblical” according to Seyi who is a student. Further asked on whether she doesn’t support it because it is just not biblical she goes to say “No, abortion to me means killing, whether a foetus or a well formed human, it is still killing”. When asked if it is in the case of rape she says, “there’s no way anyone can change my mind, I am someone that doesn’t support abortion no matter what, and in this case (rape) one can put the child up for adoption”.
Polls have been carried out covering this issue and of recent is the is the Irish times/ Ipsos MRBI polls which says “More than half of 1,200 people (57%) surveyed for an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll would prefer a vote allowing limited access to abortion – such as in cases of rape, fatal foetal abnormality and a threat to the life of the woman.” This has been the reaction of some women and girls who we questioned.
Teenagers were also not left out of this discussion, according to Sope in her interview said “in my opinion I strongly believe that abortion should be illegal in Ireland under certain circumstances for example a teenager having sexual intercourse and doesn’t want to keep the baby because it would be a burden to her should use contraceptives as there are many available”. She rolled her eyes to say.
“Where abortion should be allowed is under life threatening situations which could put the mother/ baby or both in danger. This is the only circumstance where abortion should be considered” says Sope.
“At the end of the day, every life matters. An unborn child should have the chance to live”. She concluded.
Asking girls and women if they are pro-choice or pro-life, 26 year old Ciara says “of course I am pro-choice, I should have a right to decide what I want, why should the government have to decide for me, why is abortion still illegal in 2017”.

photo credit: dave fayram (flickr)

“Why should I go to other countries for abortion? It should be legal in Ireland and I will sign every petition and go for every rally to show my support for the cause” she says passionately while her partner Jake looks on nods his head in support with everything she said.
Jake was also asked of his opinion and he said “why shouldn’t they have the right to choose? Women should choose whatever they want it is their right to choose”.
Others like Sarah, 30, who says “this is a very sensitive topic, I don’t really support it unless it has to do with life and death but who am I to judge”.
She also added that “if it is legal in other countries then why shouldn’t it be legal here?”
Abortion is a really sensitive topic, it is accepted by many and not accepted by many as well. A lot of people put up the argument about it been legalized or not to be legalized in Ireland. A 24 year old who says she doesn’t want her name published talked about how she regrets aborting her baby and how she thinks about the baby everyday “I wish I didn’t abort the baby but there was no way I could have kept the baby, I didn’t want to embarrass myself and my family, and I didn’t see myself as a mother even though I love children, I just couldn’t see myself bringing a baby to this world yet as I am still trying to get my life together” she says as tears welled up her eyes.
When asked about how she went about aborting the baby, she said “I told a friend and I asked her to get me a particular drug when coming from Nigeria and so she did, that was what I used, it was painful but I had to” she also says her partner supports her decision to terminate and her family doesn’t know about it.
The right to choose and the right to live will continue to be a basis of argument between pro-choice and pro-life.
Abortion referendum is set for May or June of this year.

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Olufemi Alex-Odunsi