Ireland voted to end its ban on abortion. Here's why that's a win for human rights.

In 1983, the people of Ireland voted to ban abortion. 35 years later, they took to the polls once again, reversing that decision in a landslide victory.

Though abortion was already illegal in Ireland prior to the 1983 vote, social conservatives feared that a court decision could render that law unconstitutional, much like what happened in the United States with the 1977 Roe v. Wade decision. So in 1983, to prevent the chance of court intervention, Ireland held a public referendum, voting to amend the country's constitution and adopting the Eighth Amendment, banning abortion in all situations.

In 2017, in response to public pressure, the government announced plans to put this question up for a vote once again. Citizens of Ireland voted on May 25, 2018, and the referendum to lift the ban on abortions won by an impressive margin.


Protesters demonstrate outside the Irish Embassy in London on September 30, 2017, following the announcement of the May 2018 referendum. Photo by Chris J. Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images.

To see the nasty history of the Eighth Amendment, look no further than the story of Savita Halappanavar.

In 2012, 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar went to the hospital 17 weeks pregnant. Her pregnancy had an unforeseen complication, and she was having what's known as a septic abortion or miscarriage. There was virtually no chance that she'd be able to carry the pregnancy to term, but doctors were prohibited from ending the pregnancy. Doctors tried to induce labor, resulting in her delivering a stillborn fetus. It was too late for her, however, as the sepsis had gotten worse. She died four days later.

Though the country implemented a law the following year designed to carve out narrow exceptions to the abortion ban in cases like Halappanavar's, abortion rights advocates argued that nothing short of a full repeal would do. Their opinion is shared by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, ruling in 2016 that "the balance that the state party has chosen to strike between protection of the fetus and the rights of the woman in the present case cannot be justified." Other human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, concur.

Horror stories like Halappanavar's are all too common. In 2007, officials tried to prevent a 17-year-old known as "Miss D" from leaving the country to obtain an abortion after learning that her fetus would not survive birth. In 2014, a teenage asylum-seeker known as "Miss Y" was subjected to borderline inhumane treatment after learning that she was pregnant, eventually undergoing a coerced Caesarian section. These cases aren't about protecting some notion of "life"; they're about control and forcing women to experience absolute nightmare scenarios.

A woman stands in front of a mural inside the Bernard Shaw pub in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

Bor no ban, abortion has always been accessible for the well-off. The two-tiered nature of this is part of the problem.

Since 1980, 170,000 Irish women have traveled to a foreign country for an abortion, and Ireland makes up nearly 70% of all non-resident abortions in the United Kingdom. Repealing the Eighth Amendment is as much about providing access to all women equally as it is about human rights. Access to health care should not hinge on whether somebody has the time and money to take a multi-day international trip.

A man walks in front of a pro-choice mural in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, on May 10, 2018. Photo by Artur Widak/AFP/Getty Images.

Though Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, there's still a bit more work to be done before abortion will be legalized — and would still be rife with restrictions.

The next step is for Irish lawmakers to enact new guidelines on abortion. One popular proposal that's been floating around would make abortion legal in all cases during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortions would be limited to instances where the life of the mother or long-term viability of the fetus were in danger. After 24 weeks, only pregnancies involving fatal fetal abnormalities would qualify for an abortion. Additionally, people seeking abortions would be subject to mandatory counseling and waiting periods.

It's hardly the free-for-all "no" campaigners would have had you believe. It's also short of what "yes" campaigners would hope for. Still, it's a positive step forward for the country, and it will save lives.

A "Yes" canvasser poses for a photo in Dublin on May 12, 2018. Photo by Artur Widak / AFP/Getty Images.

True

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

Keep Reading Show less
via Nick Hodge / Twitter and Jlhervas / Flickr

President-elect Joe Biden has sweeping plans for expanding LGBTQ rights when he takes office in January 2021. Among them, a plan to reverse Donald Trump's near ban on allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

In 2016, President Obama allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the U.S. military and have access to gender-affirming psychological and medical care.

However, the Trump administration reversed course in 2017, when Trump dropped a surprise tweet saying the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Keep Reading Show less