The first part of the report is all about the Pro-Choice Campaign and a bit on who they are and what they do.
What is the Pro-Choice Campaign?
The Pro-Choice organisation is a social media campaign only, set up in March 2010 by pro-choice activists from North, South, West and East of the island of Ireland.
‘Some of us have been active in the movement for years’, says Dette of the Pro-Choice campaign, ‘others became activists more recently.’ The Pro-Choice page is used ‘to cover the pro-choice issues across the whole of the island and also to give some information of the situation in other countries and other movements around the globe’, she further explains.
The page gives people in Ireland and beyond access to information and news of pro-choice issues and movements allowing many to become part of the movement and feel included in all that is happening. The organisation’s page is also a safe environment in which to express and discuss pro-choice thoughts and posts, ‘they can comment with their thoughts, opinions, and queries and also post pictures/articles on the page without fear of attack from anti-choice trolls, and without shame’, says Dette.
When asked about calling the Pro-Life Campaigners ‘anti-choice’, Dette replies without hesitation ‘did anyone say that the opposite side don’t like the name “anti-choice”? That’s probably because it’s appropriate’.
While the Pro-Choice Campaign do not organise their own events they do support and promote as many events happening in Ireland, as well as solidarity events abroad, ‘so that people can become active and involved wherever they live’.
But why does the Pro-Choice Campaign want the 8th Amendment repealed? Dette explains that ‘in Ireland we have next to no say over our reproductive rights. We are angry about this and struggle for our rights.’ She continues to describe the regime concerning reproductive rights in Ireland and the oppression stemming from this which ‘effects those with the lowest incomes and those with restricted mobility through disability, age, cultural background and political status in this country.’
The solution according to the pro-choice campaign: a total repeal of Article 40.3.3 – the 8th Amendment – from the Irish constitution, ‘repeal of the 8th Amendment is a vital step in the struggle towards women’s equality.’
But what is Article 40.3.3 or the 8th Amendment? It appears in the constitution as:
‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.’ And in Dettes, and the campaigns, view the ‘laws resulting from this amendment are sexist and bigoted.’
Dette speaks out against name-calling in arguments, ‘using the term “murderer” tries to enforce that someone else’s moral view is superior to the moral view of the actual person who has chosen to have an abortion. It is about trying to make a person feel guilty.’
Images of ‘aborted foetuses’ are often used at Pro-Life protests as well as online but when Dette was asked about the use of images like this she had a strong response:
‘The anti-choice propaganda that focus on the foetus use images that are usually of foetuses in the third trimester that look, for all intents and purpose, as fully developed, independent babies with independent rights.’ She then goes on to say that ‘this is deliberately done to try to get people to equate all abortions with the destruction of a human, or that abortion is the same as murder.’
Dette further states that images of earlier gestation are ‘hugely magnified’ to make an embryo which is ‘undetectable to the human eye’ can be seen as the size of a small baby with any ‘developing human characteristics clearly visible.’ Dette confides that doing this is hurtful to those who have gotten an abortion as well as those who are contemplating getting an abortion. She says this tactic is used to ‘shame, intimidate, harass and stigmatise any person that has had or is contemplating having an abortion.’
Note: the Pro-Life Campaign was contacted by email however, after multiple request for comment the Pro-Life Campaign did not respond.
The Pro-Life Campaign oppose abortion in all circumstances.
You may have seen merchandise with ‘Repeal’ lately and, while some have expressed online and in opinion pieces that these trivialise the debate or are OTT, Dette disagrees. She explains that ‘merchandise helps to break down the taboo. Every tactic helps.’
Dette firmly believes that actions, marches and making noise are all vital in the Pro-Choice Campaign for repealing the 8th Amendment and that the campaign ‘cannot and should not be controlled by a minority that are prepared to wait for the government to be “nice” enough to give us a referendum.’ She exclaims that the campaign are not into ‘spineless compromise’ and if some people don’t like how vocal they are they don’t have to join in. She clarifies that ‘if we aren’t vocal enough then we don’t get heard, then there aren’t enough of us to get seen.’
Dette ends her explanation with ‘If they’re anti-choicers, then who cares what they think?’