Repeal activism ‘empowers women to speak’, says Katherine Zappone

The referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment has empowered women to speak out about their own personal history, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has said.

At an event in favour of a yes vote, Ms Zappone (pictured above) said it is a “huge positive” that women have come to her to talk about their own stories.

“Over recent weeks, people have begun telling me, out of the blue, about decisions they made to travel for abortion,” said Ms Zappone. “I am sure the same is true for many of us.”

She said the Eighth Amendment has caused so much hurt, with stories of women being forced to travel abroad for a termination because of a fatal foetal diagnosis, ill health, or failed contraception.

“Two friends have told me how they left Ireland for abortion care over 25 years ago; neither had ever told me before,” she said.

“We were having other conversations and they shared it with me, and I think it’s important for where we are right now in terms of helping the Irish people make a decision, but the fact that they are able to share that, even privately, means that they feel safer.

“We are beginning to live in a country where it’s OK that women talk about their experience and what that means then is they feel that it was the right decision for them.

“Every decision in relation to women’s reproductive power is an ethical one and I think that the laws that we have proposed, if the people chose to take the Eighth out, can appropriately balance protection for foetal life along with protection for the life and the health of the woman.”

Also speaking at the event, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the current law has “failed” and has not given support to women.

“We can do better, we are able to do better,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Garda’s Computer Crime Investigation Unit is investigating a cyber-attack on the crowdfunding pages of pro-choice groups Together For Yes, Terminations for Medical Reasons, and Amnesty Ireland on Wednesday.

Causevox, the company that hosts all three websites, said the attack was a distributed denial of service attack originating from within Ireland.

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