Irish Pro-Choice MP Tells Men #ItsTimetoTalk to Women About Abortion

As both sides of the Eighth Amendment referendum heat up, Repeal campaigner Simon Harris tells men to listen to the women in their lives

Irish Pro-Choice MP Tells Men #ItsTimetoTalk to Women About Abortion

by Sophie Jackson |
Published on

Ireland’s referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment – the restriction that prevents the legalisation of abortion – is fast approaching, with the vote taking place on the 25th of May. Irish Health Minister Simon Harris is spearheading a campaign along with Amnesty International Ireland encouraging people to talk to one another.

The referendum is an opportunity for Irish people to be heard. The Eighth Amendment was introduced by a (largely male) coalition government in 1983, and supporters of Amnesty International’s #ItsTimetoTalk have emphasised the fact that this is the first time ordinary people will get a say on abortion.

Simon Harris is hoping that encouraging men to talk will break down the taboo around discussing abortion. He believes that referendum events are dominated by women because men feel less informed and more hesitant to start conversations about the Eighth Amendment. Lynn Ruane, another vocal Repeal campaigner and Irish politician, has said that she believes political discussions like this one have been dominated by ‘elites’ and loaded with hard-to-grasp academic language.

Ruane argues “it is powerful elites who have for decades blocked women’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare in Ireland” and that working class men and women need to have a stronger voice in the Eighth Amendment debate, as working class people are more likely to struggle to access abortion.

To launch the #ItsTimetoTalk campaign, Simon Harris visited traders on Moore Street in Dublin. He told supporters, “From this point forward, it will be the conversations people have with friends and family that will decide this crucial referendum.” Members of the It’s Time To Talk campaign are hoping that by encouraging ordinary Irish people to talk to each other, the stigma attached to abortion will start to break down and will bring a win for Repeal in the referendum.

In particular, Simon Harris is hoping that men will learn from their wives, mothers, daughters and friends why repealing the Eighth Amendment is so important to them. This way, the referendum might be decided by personal perspective as well as political.

Get informed about other important feminist issues around the world:


Debrief Articles To Read To Be A Better Feminist

International Women's Day1 of 9

We Meet The Northern Irish Women Theresa May Has Betrayed In Her Deal With The DUP

[As Theresa May signs a deal with Northern Ireland's DUP The Debrief speaks to the women campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland.](http://As Theresa May signs a deal with Northern Ireland's DUP The Debrief speaks to the women campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland.Photography by Jade Jackman)

International Women's Day2 of 9

Abortion Is Illegal In Brazil: That Doesn't Mean It's Not Happening, It Means It's Not Safe

International Women's Day3 of 9

'I Won't Lie, I Can't Lie To You and Say I Am Happy Here.'- What It's Like To Be A 20-Something Syrian Female Refugee Living In Germany

International Women's Day4 of 9

Beware The Faux Awokening: Being Woke Has To Exist Beyond The Hashtags

International Women's Day6 of 9

Mental Healthcare In The UK (Still) Has A Huge Race Problem

International Women's Day7 of 9

Period Poverty Is Much More Common Than You Think

International Women's Day8 of 9

My Family And I Rely On Social Housing: Where Will We Live When It Disappears?

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophlynne

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us