Sputnik: Do you think that Ireland will change its stance on abortion following the upcoming referendum?
Mara Clarke: Technically abortion in Ireland is currently legal; as long as your prove the pregnancy will kill you. What the referendum is about is erasing the part of the constitution that gives a foetus an equal right to life as the woman carrying the pregnancy. So that’s what the referendum is about, repealing the 8th amendment of the constitution.
Based on what I’ve seen with my work in the abortion support network, supporting women coming over from Ireland, the sea change in public opinion over the last few years and even the last few months has been incredible. In particular the work that was done by the citizens assembly of Ireland, I think people are really finally understanding that the current state of affairs means they are just exporting the problem, and I really think they will repeal the law.
Sputnik: Where does opposition to abortion come from?
Mara Clarke: I think the opposition comes from people wanting to judge women, rather than from a point of faith. What I think has happened is that, so many people have come forward with their stories and their experiences of having to travel to England, that finally people have understood the situation as it is now.
Only women with money and resources can get access to this care, and people who are marginalised are facing dire straits, such as in the case a few years back, where a teenager who was a refugee and pregnant as a result of rape, was forced to have a caesarean section and not a termination.
The views expressed in this article by Mara Clarke are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.