I marched, canvassed, and campaigned

Bunch of orange "Together for Yes" flowers on display in the front window of a house


February 2018: My father-in-law is anti-choice. I definitively found this out this evening when I asked if he was registered and ready to vote yes for freedom to informed consent during pregnancy? His response?: I’m not having this conversation with you because I’m voting no. I asked why? And he said the usual: It’s not right kill a baby. I said, but I am my mother’s baby, What if the pregnancy could kill me? “Aaahhh, you’re twisting things now!”. I ask him what if me and your son were happily pregnant and received an FFA diagnosis at our 20-week scan? What if I was raped? He wouldn’t answer. Left the room. 

I am now sitting crying silently in the darkened bedroom in my father-in-law’s house. Feeling trapped and isolated. How do I begin to process this? My father-in-Law currently has more control over my body than I do. This is not ok. I do not know if I would ever choose abortion, but whether I would or not should be my decision to make. And what if, in a few years, we become pregnant and can’t continue for whatever reason. How am I supposed to continue knowing he thinks I killed my baby? A very much wanted baby. This is not something I could look past. 

Two long days later as we’re preparing to make the long drive home, my father-in-law comes to me and says; my son spoke to me yesterday, and I’ve decided to vote yes. For you and for him, for the just-in-case.

Unbeknownst to me, my partner had overheard the conversation between myself and his dad. He had heard me quietly crying in his childhood bedroom and decided to speak to his dad. It was only when his dad could see how his no could affect his son, did he realise how his no could add to the pain, while his yes could maybe somehow ease the pain by allowing us to choose how we might deal with our crisis. 

Conversations like this all over our country are what led to a collective yes. A collective response to look after our own here, on our shores. 

My name is Shauna and I marched, canvassed, and campaigned for Repeal of  the 8th Amendment. It was one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever done. 

Thank you to all the others who  worked tirelessly for the right to choose.