My name is Críostíona Ní Laimhín and I’m currently studying Primary School teaching in DCU (Dublin City University). My brother, Seosamh, has quite severe special needs and his life has always taught me that no matter what, life will always be worth living. But then as the years passed, I found new reasons to support life. I’d like to speak here about unplanned pregnancy.

New reasons to support life

I came into contact with women who were in the midst of a crisis because of an unplanned pregnancy. They were alone, uninformed and unsupported. They didn’t know what to do and in that panic they felt that their “only option” at that time was a quick fix: an abortion.

Seeing the panic that these women were in, I began to realise the importance of supporting women. Contrary to what other campaigns claim, the 8th Amendment does allow for that. It gives both the mother and child the equal right to life. All medical treatment required by the mother is provided for under this amendment. For so many years, Ireland without abortion has been one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women. When our doctors are treating pregnant women, they recognise that they have two patients and they provide care to both.

The more time I’ve spent volunteering, the more families I’ve met who have positive and uplifting stories to tell about the 8th Amendment and how it has impacted on their lives.

How to face unplanned pregnancy

Many of my friends who have faced unplanned pregnancy make the point that abortion is not really a choice at all. All it took for them to go ahead and give birth to her daughter was for one person to say “You can get through this and I’ll be there for you.”

I want to work to create a society where every woman feels there is someone there for her. Someone who will help her get through the initial shock of an unplanned pregnancy so that it can turn to unplanned joy.

This kind of society starts with keeping the 8th Amendment. It is a law that protects mothers and babies, healthy and sick, rich and poor. We must do everything we can to protect this law which has been of so much benefit to our country.

By Criostíona Ní Laimhín.