One of the main reasons being given by theYes campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment is so that the Government can regulate the use of abortion of abortion pills which they say can be dangerous if used without medical supervision.
But just a year ago, pro-choice campaigners insisted that these pills were perfectly safe to be used without supervision.
Why have they changed their tune?
In May 2017, pro-choice campaigners praised the publication of a study in the British Medical Journal which found that abortion pills were safe.
Linda Kavanagh, a director of the Abortion Rights campaign, one of the three founding groups of “Together for Yes”, welcomed this report in glowing terms, saying:
“Media reports in Ireland imply early medical abortion with pills is unsafe – this study shows that that simply isn’t the case. In countries where medical abortion is legal, women are largely unsupervised while taking the pill. In the UK for example women ingest the first pill at an abortion clinic, but then go home to have their abortion.”
These pills have been used safely in both supervised and unsupervised contexts for almost 30 years”
Fast forward nine months, and this position seems to have changed.
At a recent Fine Gael press conference the Minister for Health Simon Harris warned about “the danger of the abortion pill“.
The Fine Gael leaflets asking for a Yes vote also claim that the unsupervised use of these pills is unsafe.
At the same event, Dr Peter Boylan warned that taking these pills
“… can result in catastrophe for a woman such as a rupture of the uterus with very significant haemorrhage. And if that happens in the privacy of a woman’s home or perhaps in an apartment somewhere, that can have very, very serious consequences for women.”
How is it that pills which were perfectly safe to be taken without supervision just last summer now pose such a serious threat to women?
With support for Repeal falling in the polls, could it be that the Yes campaign needed to come up with a new reason to vote Yes? One which pulls at the heartstrings, by linking a Yes vote to safety for women?