As the Yes posters remain almost invisible outside cities like Dublin, the Vote No posters are facing a significant backlash and it's not solely based on their pro-life stance. Last week posters with stating that "1 in 5 babies are aborted in England" were painted over in Cork, and Dublin City Council are dealing with a number of complaints to remove a number of the posters.
As the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment is only seven weeks away it's vital we understand all the facts.
The Lack of Female Representation
Aside from one Vote No poster featuring a mother with a baby, and one involving a female GP, many of the Vote No posters are notable for the way in which they seem to relegate the life, and indeed personal agency, of the mother behind that of the child. Many are arguing that the headless women used in these posters are disconcerting and reinforce the overly simplistic and archaic view that a woman's body is simply a vessel for the unborn:
There are now posters EVERYWHERE for both sides of the #repealth8th vote.
Factual inaccuracies aside, the 'headless women' trope has been appropriated by the NO campaign who don't want us to remember there's a person they're dismissing as irrelevant. pic.twitter.com/Y0VtW2wVMg
— Judith 'just ban the damn nazis already' Allen (@jaa_edit) April 9, 2018
A popular move by both sides of the political debate is to use progressive sounding and proactive language. One of the most antagonising posters from the Vote No campaign includes the term 'rebellion' - indicating that a No vote is an act of rebellion. It's not rebellious to maintain the status quo.
They aren't even trying anymore ?
No unborn babies at six months would be killed, delivery would be induced. This would be in cases where the mother's life is at risk or health seriously affected, WANTED pregnancies #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/XOF6i1jWon
— Laurazepam (@daimbarrs) April 8, 2018
The 'Alternative' Facts
Many of the posters include misleading 'information' such as:
- The unborn can be terminated up to sixth months
- After 9 weeks a foetus can kick and yawn
Currently, the consensus, as outlined in the proposed General Scheme to regulate for the termination of pregnancy as published by the HSE is that were the a 'yes' vote to win a majority in the referendum the legislation that would be drafted would allow women to have the option of terminating a pregnancy up until the twelfth week of the pregnancy. Beyond that point, abortion would be permitted in medically approved cases where there is a risk to the mother's physical or mental health, or where there is a fatal-foetal abnormality. The majority of cases in the UK that result in later-stage terminations, which are there termed as post-20 weeks, are in cases where the mothers' life is at risk or in the case of a fatal-foetal abnormality. Terminations at such a late stage, are rare and make up approximately 1% of abortions in the UK.
At 9 weeks a foetus barely resembles a human form and cannot yawn or kick. In the UK almost 90% of abortions take place in the first three months.
Evangelic US citizens are frequently involved in the campaign and are sharing misleading information, somehow confusing the Irish constitution for their own. They seem to be implying that by voting to 'repeal' the 8th amendment that, rather than having a piece of new legislation detailing new abortion laws drafted and added to the constitution, the constitution itself would simply be sort of torn apart and set on fire by zealous progressives, so that we live in some lawless, anarchic wasteland.
Why are they even involved? US religious groups want Ireland to be a beacon of hope for America, a country that has a functioning, but often inaccessible, reproductive health care system when it comes to the rights women.
Amazing. "Pro Life Longford" is being run by Americans who think we're taking about the US Constitution.
— I am Korben Dallas (@conorsthoughts) April 8, 2018
What We're Actually Voting On
Currently, the Eighth Amendment stands for Article 40.3.3 of the constitution, a clause that acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, equating it with the mother’s right to life. The passage reads:
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
On May 25th, Ireland will be asked if they wish to delete this wording. If it's passed then the Dáil can legislate for abortion laws for women living in Ireland. Abortion will not be introduced immediately and will include certain circumstances.
How To Fix The Problem
Other than voting in May, which is the most important thing you can do, if the posters are misleading and do not include the printers details then visit FixYourStreet.ie. If you'd like to make a complaint then email [email protected] with the location and photo of the misleading or offensive poster. Follow the instructions in the Tweet below:
Guys my mom just sent me this: pic.twitter.com/sM8GkQP3ei
— u 085? (@bebostunner) April 13, 2018