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14.00 16 Apr 2018


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Disability rights activists say the Eighth Amendment is about more than abortion for the women they represent.

Disability organisation Inclusion Ireland has joined forces with the ‘Together For Yes’ campaign to call for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

They say that the Eighth Amendment creates additional barriers to care, including inaccessible travel options for those who may need abortion services.

Disability rights campaigner Suzy Byrne says some disabled women are told not to get pregnant.

She explained: "The Eighth Amendment is about an awful lot more than terminating a pregnancy when it comes to people with disabilities.

"People are told 'don't get pregnant because there's nothing we can do to help you'. Then contraception may not work in certain circumstances depending on your condition - you may not be able to take medication because it may affect other medication that you have."

She says travelling to the UK for some physically disabled women is sometimes not an option - and even if it is, it’s a logistical nightmare.

"The tube in London is not accessible... so there were taxis involved, a hotel involved... and the psychological impact is huge," she observed.

'12 weeks'

Separately, anti-abortion group Save the 8th has today begun a new online campaign called '12 weeks'.

It shows social media users a video of a scan of an unborn baby at 12 weeks gestation and asks if the unborn is deserving of constitutional rights.

The video will be promoted to Facebook users over the age of 18.

Save the 8th’s Niamh Ui Bhriain said: “It is important that this debate is informed and that people have access to basic information. The Government is asking us to legalise abortion for any reason up to three months.

"In that context, a fully informed debate need not show graphic images, or upsetting images. But it should show, at a very basic level, what a child in the womb at that age looks like."

She adds that the group is calling on broadcasters to include a video of a 12-week scan in their TV coverage of the referendum campaign.

Reporting by Kim Buckley, Trish Laverty and Stephen McNeice


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