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Niall Ó Tuathail @niallotuathail
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*Thread* Some thoughts following the #CBLive debate last night.

1. Twice a group of Irish people representing Ireland as a whole (Citizens Assembly / Oireachtas Committee) have been brought through the nuance, difficulties and reality of the 8th amendment.
They came out believing in a Yes vote. This referendum is the third and most important group, but last night's debate was far from the calm & reasoned debate undecided people deserved and needed to make up their mind the same way the citizens assembly and Oireachtas committee did
2. The cheering and clapping for point-scoring was in poor taste given the amount of people in the audience and watching who had lived experience of terminations. My heart goes out to them on what must have been a deeply upsetting thing to witness.
3. I couldn't believe Mattie McGrath asked for Savita to "be left in her grave" when the 8th amendment "played a major role" in putting her in her grave. (…)
4. Much of the No campaign is focused on the 12-week limit. Part of the rationale for 12 weeks was to protect victims of rape who become pregnant. There is no way to treat a rape victim with compassion if she has to prove she was raped with the court processes we have in place.
5. Another No side argument is that mental health grounds isn't a serious reason for a termination. Same argument was used for suicide during the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. This is not fair to the hundreds of thousands of people with serious mental health issues.
6. The No side continue to use the example of terminations on the ground of disability when the proposed legislation does not allow for this. This is not right, and is causing distress amongst people with disabilities.
7. While knocking on doors, I've met a lot of people leaning towards voting No who have genuine respect and empathy for people in difficult situations. I haven't seen them represented well by the No campaign.
8. I wish the No side would be more honest about the "hard cases". They are being smart in their campaigning to try to get people to vote No so that the hard cases can be put directly into the constitution.
Ronan Mullen, Mary Steen, Caroline Simons and Wendy Grace have been asked multiple times whether they would force child rape victims or parents of babies that will survive for minutes or hours to give birth against their will.
They make sounds that make it seem like they struggle with this but the answer to that question is Yes, they would force those victims of misfortune to give birth.
If the Irish people vote No, I would not be surprised at all to see these same campaigners suddenly be at the forefront of the campaign against changing the law for the hard cases, and I would guess that they would also attempt to reverse previous changes...
... including allowing terminations where the mother's life is in danger, allowing women to travel to England or allowing women information about health services available in other countries. They are entitled to have that view but they should be honest about it.
9. Every time we have referenda on social values, the same campaigners come out for No. They make bold claims about the impact on society. Happened for divorce, contraception, travel/information for abortion, marriage equality. Despite these yes votes, the sky hasn't fallen in.
10. The reason why the sky won't fall in is because abortion is very much a reality for Irish women. It's just that it happens in England. We are not really voting on whether we allow abortion, as it will happen anyway.
We are voting about whether we will judge, disgrace and shame these women or whether we will show them compassion, dignity and ensure their healthcare is of the highest quality.
It's about whether we will send them away on a cold plane or boat, or keep them close to the warmth of friends and loved ones.
11. It's important to remember that no-one will be forced to have an abortion. Couples will continue to have children they didn't intend to have, babies with fatal foetal abnormalities can be born into a loving family and great neo-natal palliative care...
... a rape victim can 100% decide to continue with a pregnancy. We can and will support their decision with compassion and care as equally as the people who decide differently.
12. It's also important to remember that no-one is pro-abortion. We all want the rate to go down. According to the evidence, countries that have legalised terminations have reduced the rates of terminations. (…)
Furthermore, making abortion illegal or harder to access makes that termination more likely to be late-stage and more dangerous for women. This needs to be coupled with good sex-ed & contraception. If we vote Yes, the indications are that it would reduce Ireland's abortion rates.
13. It's OK to be undecided. This is an issue that pulls people's values in opposite directions. Please do seek out good impartial information. Obviously I biased but am here to chat and I guarantee I will do it in a non-judgemental way that won't affect our friendship.
Whatever way you are voting, please get out and vote on the day.
14. This vote is going to be very tight. If you really want a Yes vote, and are able to get involved, we really need as many volunteers as we can get. Every dinner time, people are talking over their friends and families to vote Yes.
Every night campaigners are out having conversations with strangers about their vote. Real people talking one-to-one is just as powerful, if not more powerful, than two bubbles clashing against each other on TV. Please let me know if you'd like to get involved. *End Thread*
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