Referendum on the Eighth Amendment: How will you vote?
2018-05-15 14:02:48 -

Ahead of the poll on whether to retain or remove Ireland’s Constitutional ban on abortion, Metro Éireann invited New Irish on both sides to explain which way they are voting, and why


Yes: D Kluczenko

What’s my take on the Eighth Amendment? I say Yes for repeal. Does this mean I am pro-abortion? No. Neither does this means I have lost my moral or my Christian beliefs. Here is my story.

My husband and I were desperate and longed for another baby. We planned, ate clean and healthy, took all the right supplements. And after months of trying, I got pregnant with our fourth child.

On the 20th week, I travelled to my routine check-up on my own. I was hoping to hear that everything was well and hopefully I would know the sex of the baby.

During the scan, the consultant paused and stopped talking to me for a few minutes. She excused herself. I was feeling anxious, my heart was beating fast and my whole body was shaking with chills. Something was wrong with my baby.

A few moments later the consultant returned with two other colleagues. She informed me that there was a problem with my baby and that she needed a second opinion. They continued with the ultrasound for about 15 more minutes before sitting me down to break the news. “Sorry, D, there is a problem…” she started.

Being all alone made the situation one hundred times worse. My husband was at work. It was just me and the consultant, who not only had to give me the news about my pregnancy, but also stressed the risk my pregnancy now posed to my own life if I were to continue with it — which was a risk I was not willing to take, with three kids at home and a family dependant on me back in Nigeria.

The consultant reluctantly advised me to go to Leeds. She handed me a referral letter, and her departing words echoed in my head: “I’m sorry we can’t help you, I’m sorry, it’s just the law.”

My husband and I sought a second and third opinion, but the outcome remained the same. Like the 12 women each day effected by the Eighth, I was forced to travel to a country outside my comfort zone, leaving my family and work behind, to avail of a healthcare procedure that I was denied in the country I call my own.

In fact, the decision to vote Yes should not depend on people having to go through what I experienced. I would never wish it on any one.

Having to go through such pain is one thing, but the law made the pain worse. When the Eighth Amendment was introduced, Ireland chose to turn its back on women going through such turmoil, who need medical attention without having to justify why they deserve it. That needs to change now.

No: Okezie Emmanuel Emuaga


I believe we’re considering whether to legalise abortion on demand. That is, a lady can choose to kill the baby in her womb for any reason. She may choose to kill the baby because of her mood, her fears, quarrel with a partner or friends, advice from a bad influencer, irresponsible behaviour, hatred for the baby, and not just for health reasons. Abortion for the sake of abortion only.

I welcome the efforts to highlight the select issues that may have affected the ladies. However, I suggest that we don’t make colossal decisions based on a minority sample.

From management science, especially Lean Six Sigma methodologies, we learn the necessity to make decisions based on confidence intervals that protect our core interests. Even if we set this at 99 per cent for accommodating the issues raised by the Yes campaigners, their issues won’t still make up the one per cent.

This is why I have said several times that this referendum was called hastily, without exploring every available opportunity to address the minor but relevant issues that exist. We need to identify the issues and strengthen our resources to respond to them on their merits. Otherwise, we ridicule professionalism for matters of pregnancy management.

May I suggest that we focus on why it is necessary to kill the babies we made out of our enjoyment? I say it this way because even the cases of rape and health fall within the abilities of the relevant personnel decision circle and can be treated there. We have structures that help victims of sexual abuse and the law, which recently dealt with the allegations against rugby players of Northern Ireland. Are we discounting the effectiveness of these structures?

Further, I suggest that we treat this debate within the context of Ireland. Drawing examples from abroad doesn’t add much value because the chances of replication here are low. It is an unnecessary digression. I have lived in Ireland for 12 years and most of the reasons presented by the Yes team cannot qualify as proof for a blanket and reckless legalisation of abortion.

As a parent of two special needs children, I can attest that no parents would like them killed, even in their condition. They have unique personalities that transcends monetary and convenience considerations.


To my African and Christian people, it is important that we don’t lose our sacred values because we now live in Ireland. It is an abomination to kill any human being. I request everyone to remember that there are consequences for every action. Why would parents not be interested to protect their unborn children when we passed the children’s protection referendum not long ago?

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