Campaigners run for 'Yes' vote as psychiatrists outline abortion concerns

More than 800 pro-choice supporters have taken part in a 5km run organised by the Yes campaign ahead of Ireland’s abortion referendum.

Among those running in the Together for Yes event on Sandymount Strand in Dublin on Wednesday were politicians including Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Senator Ivana Bacik, comedian David O’Doherty and former professional football player Richie Sadlier.

Mr Sadlier said: “I work as a psychotherapist and I’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years, male and female, who spoke openly about how they were impacted by the eighth amendment.

“I think when we actually break down the impact with this amendment, go beyond the conversation about the rights and wrongs of abortion, I just feel really strongly that any person who is in a situation where they are vulnerable, where they’re in circumstances whether they’re in trouble, should absolutely have a say in what they should do, particularly when it’s their own body.”

Speaking to the 850 runners before they set off along the beach, Together for Yes co-founder Ailbhe Smyth said: “If you don’t run it, you can walk it, it you can’t walk it, you can stagger it.

“The main thing is to get over that line and that’s exactly what we’re going to do on Friday, May 25, we are all going to get the Yes vote over the line and we are finally going to remove the huge obstacle, the impediment to our freedom, our health and our wellbeing as women, and men will be with us all the way.”

Earlier on Wednesday, a group of consultant psychiatrists criticised the Irish Government for presenting abortion as “treatment” for mental health issues.

Prof Patricia Casey (right), Dr Anne Doherty and Dr Martin Mahon at a press conference where consultant psychiatrists outlined abortion concerns (Brian Lawless/PA)

In a letter written ahead of the May 25 referendum on repealing the eighth amendment, the group of 26 psychiatrists said it was “dishonest” to justify a change in the law as healthcare.

The letter said: “Given the experience in the UK, we can confidently say that abortions taking place in this country after 12 weeks will be authorised under the mental health ground.

“As in the UK, there will be little or no justification for this in the great majority of cases.

“We do not want to see spurious appeals to ‘mental health’ being used to justify post-12-week abortions.”

- Press Association

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