Removing the 8th amendment will allow for the provision of compassionate, non-judgemental care to women and girls who are pregnant as a result of rape, the Together For Yes campaign stated today.
A number of invited speakers attended an event in the Together For Yes headquarters in Dublin City centre today where a position paper on allowing women or girls access to abortion services for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy was officially launched today.
The paper states that requiring a rape victim to disclose what she has experienced in order to access abortion may re-traumatise the woman at a particularly vulnerable time, or prevent her from seeking care at all.
Speaking this morning, Campaign Co-Director Orla O’Connor said: “Women and girls who become pregnant as a result of rape must have access to all healthcare supports they need. This means that a woman pregnant as a result of rape must be protected and allowed to end the pregnancy if that is what she decides to do.
"Allowing a woman or girl in these circumstances up to 12 weeks to access an abortion will provide her with the time and support she needs, and means that she will not be forced to disclose or report a rape to access the healthcare she needs.
“Removing the 8th amendment is the only compassionate way to care for women and girls who are pregnant as a result of rape, and it is one of the reasons we are advocating a Yes vote in the referendum.
"It will also mean access to care for women and girls who are currently ordering abortion pills illegally over the internet or who are forced to travel abroad for abortion services. As a mature country, we must support women and girls in these situations, not turn away from them.”
Speaking about the moment after her own personal experience, Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill, a rape survivor and campaigner, said: “In those initial moments of horror and realisation, my mind immediately went to the next worst possible situation: to be pregnant in Ireland as a result of rape.
“I believe that had I been living in a State with liberal laws and a more open attitude to abortion that this would not have been my first thought. I don’t want this for any other woman or girl. I want them to know that they will be supported to make the best decision for them.
“The only way that this can be done is by repealing the 8th amendment and by adopting an open, supportive attitude that is reflected in our laws and services.”
Campaign co-director Orla O’Connor also said that it is "wholly inappropriate" that abortion referendum material from the other side of the campaign was delivered to homes inside toy catalogues recently.
The distribution company involved said that an automated process matched a pro-life leaflet with the catalogue, while Toymaster on Mary Street in Dublin has apologised to those who received the leaflet.
Ms O’Connor says the pro-choice side is running a transparent, fact-based campaign.
"Of course it would be very shocking and distressing for parents to receive this information, and particularly as part of a catalogue that's focused on children, in terms of toys," she said.
"So of course, it's wholly inappropriate.
"From our point of view, in Together for Yes, it's about providing information in an open and transparent manner."