It's been the year of feminism, marches for choice, Pro Life protests and women across Ireland showing their support for and against bodily autonomy – and today marks an important date for this movement.
The closing date to make submissions to the Citizen's Assembly with your opinion and feelings regarding the Eight Amendment is today at 5pm, after which no more submissions will be heard.
The Citizen's Assembly is made up of 99 citizens and chaired by a Supreme Judge, with a view of discussing the future of the amendment in order to make a report to Government by the end of June of next year on whether it is in the Irish public's best interest to have a referendum on the current law on abortion.
As of this morning, more than 4,500 submissions have been received by the assembly of people who are in favour of repealing the current strict ban on abortion in Ireland and giving Irish women equal rights in accordance with United Nations standards.
The Repeal the Eight movement are urging people to make a submission, which can be an personal account of how you feel the Eight Amendment has affected you, in any way, regardless of your stance on the matter.
The Abortion Rights Campaign have helpful guidelines for writing your submission, acknowledging that although "sharing abortion stories can be daunting, but there is power, strength and solidarity in numbers".
Some topics they suggest to include in your submission are:
- What would you say to the citizens’ assembly if you could speak to them?
- How would your experience have been different if you were able to access safe, legal abortion services at home?
- What impact would being forced to remain pregnant against your will have had on your emotional and physical health?
Submissions can be made at Citizens Assembly and personal data or any identifiable details will not be published if you would prefer to share your story privately.
Dublin's Well Woman Clinic has shared their submission in full, part of which states the harrowing fact that "since 1983, the 8th Amendment has had the effect of forcing nearly 170,000 women to travel to vindicate their right to bodily integrity, thereby placing Ireland in violation of several international human rights treaties and covenants".