Pro-choice campaign mobilises volunteers

The yes movement in the abortion referendum expects thousands of volunteers to help its door-to-door campaign. It will also heavily campaign on social media.

The Together for Yes campaign will officially be launched later this week, as the Dáil also debates plans to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution and liberalise access to abortion in Ireland.

Joint Together for Yes campaign leader Orla O’Connor, director of the National Women’s Council, told the Irish Examiner that a key focus would be explaining women’s experiences.

“What we will be launching will be the largest civil society campaign to come together to advocate for abortion services in Ireland,” she said. “It is a campaign representing all sections of society and we are going to be taking it, over the next few weeks, to every town, village, and community and trying to have as many conversations as we can with people about the need to provide abortion in Ireland.”

Ms O’Connor said the movement would be doing door-to-door canvassing and that there were thousands of people involved in every area of the country.

There will also be regional launches.

The national umbrella group will be a joint campaign, led by the National Women’s Council, the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, and the Abortion Rights Campaign, and will be a broad-based, civil society movement.

The campaign group has taken office space in Dublin city, appointed a director, Deirdre Duffy, as well as a head of communications, Amy Rose Harte.

“The more conversations we have with people, the more people are provided with the evidence, with the facts that really do put women’s needs at the centre,” said Ms O’Connor.

“So, it is about trying to have as many of those conversations as we can, over the next 10 weeks.”

The ‘yes’ campaign intends to drive a largescale online message through social media, as well utilising regional newspapers and radio. This includes using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat during the campaign, said Ms O’Connor.

“We will be hitting it on all fronts,” she said.

The group says it hopes to raise €500,000 after launching later this week.

“It is going to be all down to volunteers and fundraising,” said Ms O’Connor, stressing that person-to- person conversations would be a key strategy, as opposed to postering or billboards.

“It will be about reminding people what is the reality of the situation, the reality of women being forced to travel, and the reality of being on your own in your bedroom, taking the abortion pill and being very unsure about who to tell and not being able to go to your doctor.”

The group also intends to approach all political parties.

This week, the Dáil will continue to debate the referendum, its wording, as well as issues around Government proposals to allow unrestricted abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Dáil time has been set aside, over three days, for debate, including up to midnight tomorrow. The latest poll, taken this weekend, shows that support for abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy, in the event of repeal, stands at 55%, with 45% against, when undecideds are removed.

Editorial: 10

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