Our elected officials, including those representing us at the local and European level, can use their position and their platform to elevate the issue of access to abortion care. When these candidates knock on your door, ask them about their stance on abortion and reproductive rights. Tell them that our fight is not over, and make sure they agree that abortion access is still an important issue. Candidates need to know that we will not support them unless they demonstrate their commitment to full reproductive health services for everyone across the island of Ireland.
When a candidate or a member of their team asks for your vote this May, here are some questions you can ask them:
- Are you pro-choice? What does pro-choice mean to you?
- Did you vote to repeal the 8th? Were you active in the referendum campaign?
- Do you support safe access zones to protect abortion providers and patients? Would you take action in your council to pressure the Government to pass safe access legislation?
- What will you do to stop rogue agencies who lie to people looking for abortion services (anti-choice organisations posing as legitimate clinics and websites)?
- Do you agree with the 3-day waiting period?
- Do you support the full decriminalisation of abortion, which would end the threat of 14-year prison sentences for health care providers and those who help a pregnant person to get an abortion?
- Do you support having the full spectrum of abortion care services in the local maternity hospital? If your local hospital is not currently providing, what are you going to do to change that?
- Will you speak out in support of GPs and other medics who are conscientiously providing abortion care, and call out harassment of doctors?
- Do you support the provision of free contraception? Will you advocate for the Government to make good on its promise to deliver free contraception?
- For those running in the European elections: As an MEP, what would you do at European level to ensure that abortion access is available to all who need it? (for instance, in countries like Malta, where abortion is illegal)
In addition to asking these questions, feel free to share any personal stories about how the restrictions in the current law affect you, if you feel comfortable doing so. We know from the successful referendum campaign that personal experiences help to change attitudes. Those who oppose autonomy and choice will certainly make themselves heard during the election. Don’t let them be the only voices in the conversation!
How to Register and Vote
If you are a resident of Ireland, you are eligible to vote in the upcoming local elections. You do not have to be an Irish citizen to vote in local elections: Irish, British, EU, and non-EU citizens are all eligible. And, if you are an Irish or EU citizen, you are also eligible to vote for European Parliament; you can be a citizen of any EU country and currently living in Ireland.
Make sure that you’re registered to vote by checking online at checktheregister.ie. Not registered yet? Registration forms are available online here. You can also find more information about eligibility and registering to vote online here. The deadlines to register to vote are Sunday, April 28th (for postal or special voters) or by Tuesday, May 7th for everyone else.