For this activity post and for the specific health topic I will cover for the rest of the course I will talk about abortion in Ireland.
In early 2018, the Irish electorate voted 1,429,981 votes to 723,632 votes in favor of removing an amendment that banned abortions. 64.1% of Irish people turned out to vote for or against the abolition of the 8th amendment, which gave the mother and the fetus equal constitutional rights, only one constituency voted against (McDonald, et al., 2018). In 2017 alone, 3,092 women in England received an abortion while using an Irish address, indicating that they traveled to England to get an abortion (Abortion, 2018). Discrepancies in views about abortions between genders is also apparent. In a poll conducted in Ireland in 1992, found that less than 1/3 of both men and women felt abortion should be illegal in all cases. However, the same poll determined that when only women were sampled, only 1/5 felt it should be illegal in all cases (Francome, 1992). Furthermore, in 2015 the Irish High Court found the eighth amendment to be in violation of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which respects a person’s right to a private family life (Davies, et al., 2017). After the passage of the vote to abolish the 8th amendment, the co-director of the Together for Yes campaign Orla O’Connor stated that this was a “rejection of Ireland that treats women as second-class citizens” showing the underlying thoughts of many about the legislation about abortion (McDonald, et al., 2018).
Abortion is an important topic to discuss because it is one of the few health needs that is specific to women. The debate between pro-life and pro-choice is one of the most hotly debated topics around the world and especially in Ireland, which just overturned the 35 year old ban on abortions. Pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are all important ‘traditions’ so to speak that many cultures consider sacred; there is almost a magic that surrounds these events, making them critical parts of a culture. Abortion is sometimes seen as violating this tradition or harming it. On top of that, it is seen as harmful to the unborn child. Women seek abortion for many reasons- from rape to health risks for the mother if the pregnancy continues.
Abortion is an important cultural topic because it asks two questions: where do we as society consider life to start and if it is at conception do we consider the life of the mother or the life of the child to be more important? The answers to these questions can define a society, making abortion a critical health topic in modern society.
Abortion is also an important public health topic, despite some groups and people claiming it is not. Without abortions, women could die or suffer non-fatal but debilitating side-effects. It is important to give women access to live saving healthcare when available. Additionally, it could be argued that the fetus involved has a right to life and protection as well as healthcare. But the abortion argument brings up another debate of whether or not healthcare is a right. If not, then both the fetus and the mother do not have a right to treatment and therefore it is not an issue.
“Abortion Statistics, England and Wales.” GOV.UK, GOV.UK, 7 June 2018, www.gov.uk/government/collections/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales.
Davies, Martin, et al. “Abortion-Northern Ireland (NI).” Journal of Medical Ethics, Institute of Medical Ethics, 1 Feb. 2016, jme.bmj.com/content/42/2/141.
Francome, Colin. Abortion in Ireland: Confused on Both Sides of the Border. Middlesex University , 22 Aug. 1992, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1882577/pdf/bmj00088-0008.pdf.
McDonald, Henry, et al. “Ireland Moves Forward with Abortion Law Reform after Historic Vote.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 May 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/27/ireland-to-start-abortion-law-reform-after-historic-vote