On the 21st of February 2018, the UL Student Union voted to take a Pro-Choice stance on repealing the Eight Amendment. With 171 votes to 71, UL Students Union is now standing together with all other universities in Ireland to fight for female student’s rights over their own bodies.
The chance of falling pregnant as a college student is a fear for most girls and their partners. The Pro-Choice stance of the Student Union gives women who accidentally do fall pregnant full support in a country where we are denied the right to bodily autonomy.
As students, the last thing on our mind is raising a child, but when faced with that situation how would we react? How do we cope knowing that we do not have a choice over our bodies and have to carry out the pregnancy because as students, many of us are too poor to travel abroad for an abortion? How do we cope knowing we will have to raise a child, but we have barely enough money to raise ourselves let alone put ourselves through college?
In extreme circumstances, how would we cope knowing we are carrying the child of a sexual assault attack and will have to raise this child as our own and maybe as a constant reminder of a horrifying ordeal?
For most students we would not be able to cope.
As a country we have had a 14-year-old rape victim detained in a psychiatric unit to stop her travelling abroad for an abortion. We have had women denied an abortion only to have a septic miscarriage and die of blood poisoning. This could become a reality to any of us students in UL.
UL has now stood up to fight for an alternative to this, to show its students that these scenarios will not be an option. UL’s pro-choice stance reflects the real aim behind the Student Union, to provide welfare to ALL students in need. With regards to pro-lifers, if you do not agree with abortion then personally you will not need this support, so why take it from a student who does? If you do not agree with abortion then you do not have to have one, but do not deprive the students who might actually need one of a right that should be theirs.
The referendum to Repeal the 8th will take place at the end of May. Please vote wisely.