By Emma Delahan
This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote recently which addresses the question I am often asked: How does your daughter feel about you being involved in the Abortion Rights Campaign? Presumably because I was a young single mother (or independent parent as I prefer).
My daughter is a level headed, intelligent and charismatic young woman now, and it is because of her that I have become involved in working to secure women’s reproductive rights by repealing the 8th Amendment. She is also a member of the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). I have been asked how my daughter feels about me being involved in this campaign, as if the work that I am doing would make her feel unwanted by me. We both know this is not the case. She and I realise that life in Ireland has been, and continues to be, difficult for women. The 8th amendment only serves to make our lives life even more difficult.
The decisions women must make during the course of their lives stay with them forever and have an impact on many generations. These decisions should be made in private between the women, their family and loved ones and the doctors that provide their medical care. Every woman deserves privacy, love, support and care when it comes to crisis pregnancies, and every woman deserves to have her choice respected and to receive the care she needs in a non-judgemental environment.
Not every woman has a supportive family, stable finances, good physical and mental health. In the absence of these supports, becoming a mother is a massive undertaking. I think we should allow women to decide if and when they are capable of taking on this task. I feel that it would be better for the children who will be born into this world.
I am a member of a rural regional branch of ARC. The work that I have done through this campaign has been both rewarding and challenging. The stories I have heard from close friends and strangers, and the messages of gratitude that I have received during and after handing out leaflets on our town’s main street, reassure me that we are putting our efforts into a worthy cause. I know the public will hear many women’s voices on this issue, but there are so many women who cannot speak out, and I am proud to be a voice for them.
In conclusion, I am proud of my daughter, and she is proud of me.