The 31 Most Memorable Moments Since The Eighth Amendment Debate Began

The 31 Most Memorable Moments Since The Eighth Amendment Debate Began

Over the last number of weeks, we've seen posters and leaflets torn down and defaced; people on television dehumanise mental health struggles and traumatic experiences, and canvassers violently intimidated.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the campaign has been watching people bonding over the Eighth, especially Mná na hÉireann. People sharing their personal stories became the crux of the Yes campaign and resulted in a 66.4% Yes vote and the eventual Repeal of the 8th.

Although many of the people who voted to introduce the Eighth Amendment in 1983 are still alive, this time around pro-choice men and women began a passionate movement based on facts, creativity, and empathy for women facing a crisis pregnancy.

The movement by grassroots organizations such as The Repeal Project, Rosa, and The Hunreal Issues rejuvenated political affairs with young men and women and the men and women who opposed the Eighth in '83.

Compared to the marriage equality campaign of 2015, this debate has been emotionally charged and a difficult one for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy - before, during and after the Government announced a date for the referendum. It's been a journey and here are just some of the more memorable moments that occurred during the buildup to Saturday's Yes vote:

1) We Face The Land

In 2016 a powerful poem by Sarah Maria Griffin went viral after a number of Irish women recited the piece on camera.


2) Katie Ascough's impeachment as UCD SU President

Back in November, Ascough - a pro-life campaigner - was impeached by UCD students after removing abortion information from a freshers handbook. The moment revitalised student bodies across the country with several colleges deciding to take a vote on their stance on the referendum.

3) Vote No Campaigners Interrupt The Last March For Choice

During the last March for Choice in Dublin's city center, a man interrupted speakers on stage with a giant No poster. He was quickly removed from the stage and the day was remembered for its inspiring speeches from women across Ireland and, of course, the posters and signs.


4) Don't Stop Repealin' podcast

Una Mullally and the Hunreal Issues founder Andrea Horan introduced a podcast dedicated to all things Eighth Amendment.


5) The disappearing Maser Repeal logo

The Maser Repeal logo has found a home outside Amnesty International on Fleet Street but that wasn't always the case. The logo was painted over twice outside the Project Arts Center before having to be moved to its new home.


6) UK students funding Irish students to get them home to vote

In a beautiful moment of solidarity, Irish students living in the UK were helped by their fellow students to come home and vote.

7) Repeal Jumpers

After the massive success of the black Repeal jumpers, the campaign released a selection of colours in their pop up shop in Dublin's Temple Bar.


8) Dublin man attacked for wearing Repeal merchandise

A young man was attacked by a group of men for wearing the Maser Repeal logo t-shirt.


9) The Ireland Simpsons Fan page memes

A welcome break away from debating on the Eighth, the Ireland Simpsons Fan page turned the ridiculousness of the amendment into much welcome humour and incredible Simpsons repeal merchandise.

10) A photo of Ann Lovett is revealed to the public for the first time as her boyfriend speaks out

Ann and her baby died after she gave birth in a graveyard in Granard in 1984. Growing up in a conservative Catholic town, 15-year-old Ann hid her pregnancy from family and friends. Her boyfriend, Richard, claimed he was asked to keep silent on the issue for decades by the Church. Click here to read the full article.


11) USI dissociates itself from Catholic pregnancy agency

USI (Union of Students in Ireland) announced that they would be dissociating themselves from the Catholic crisis pregnancy support agency Cura. The union, or its members, will no longer include Cura in any of their USI material on sexual health and support unless they provide information on terminating a pregnancy to women in a crisis. A service agency of the Catholic Church, the group's aim is to work in accordance with the compassionate vision and teaching of the Church.

12) The Eamon Dunphy, John Waters drama

Appearing on Eamon Dunphy's podcast, John Waters, a pro-life advocate, stormed out the interview after being asked by Dunphy about the morning after pill.


13) An Irish mountain spoke for the first time and just said the word "No"

Vote No male campaigners popped up a giant No sign on one of Ireland's landmarks, the Ben Bulben mountain, and got 'the women' to make tea and sandwiches. Twitter had a field day, obviously.


14) The Dublin Mountains also said 'No' from a weird angle. This time the sign was protected by a bull...


15) A Leitrim Councillor declared sex slavery would be legalised if the Yes vote wins

Read the full story here.

16) And an Irish Bishop thought it was necessary to say abortion is 'far worse' than rape.


17) Savita Halappanar's parents appealed to voters

Savita died because of a septic pregnancy after being denied access to a termination in order to save her life. Throughout the debate the No campaign wrongly insisted Savita did not die because of the Eighth.

18) Simon Harris became a sex symbol overnight

One of the biggest surprises of the campaign came when Simon Harris became a bona fide sex symbol after his appearance on Primetime's referendum debate. The Minister for Health debated for a Yes vote and left plenty of people thirsty for his stance on bodily autonomy:


19) Home To Vote

The last week of the campaign has seen thousands of people coming home to vote from all across the world. Men and women have been sharing their support for women facing a crisis pregnancy from airport lounges and from the sky. Facebook groups like Abroad For Yes have been raising much-needed funds for Irish people around the world who need to get home and vote.


20) Ronan Mullen, Seanad member, versus a woman sharing her experiences of abortion

Twitter went into meltdown mode when pro-life Senator Ronan Mullen told Saoirse, a woman who described experiences of traveling for abortion on national television, "you deserve love and respect, regardless of what you've done":

21) Cute moments like Grandads with ice creams for Yes kept us all going


22) International stars supporting a Yes vote was met with relief

Hozier, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Pink, Emma Thompson, Ed Sheeran, and U2 are just some of the international stars who showed their support for a Yes vote.


23) Sky Reporter Mistakes Offaly for Westmeath

24) Enya's Castle

Photoshop or real, we knew Enya would be repealin'.


25) #IVotedYes

Early in the voting day thousands of people shared the #ivotedyes hashtag on social media and we're all finally here for it.


26) Savita Mural

On Friday crowds began to appear outside the Savita mural beside The Bernard Shaw. The Yes voters showed their respect to Savita and her family by leaving notes.

27) Dublin Castle chants


After the exit polls revealed the Yes vote was leading by 70% on Friday night, Saturday morning saw crowds forming at Dublin Castle to hear the results announced.  Chants like "Savita" and "Repealed" rang through the courtyard.

28) After Eights

After it became clear the Eight would be most definitely repealed a woman began distributing After Eights to the crowd.

29) Dogs for Choice


Becoming a crucial member of the Yes campaign, Dogs for Choice took the streets with canvassers and celebrated Saturday's win. In a moment of joy and mental anguish, one dog owner decided to replicate a scene from The Lion King.

Dachshunds for choice ☺️♥️?


30) Donegal becomes the only 'No' county

Just like Roscommon voted No in the same-sex marriage debate, it became clear that Donegals aging population would result in a No vote. It didn't matter in the end as all votes counted towards repealing the amendment:

31) New legislation could be named after Savita

In a full circle moment, Savita's family has asked the Irish Government to name new abortion laws the Savita law. Their request has been supported by Yes campaigners.

Also Read: Anonymous Irish Midwife's Letter Why You Should Vote Yes Is Incredibly Powerful

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Garret Farrell

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