Repeal campaign ‘worried’ about referendum funding

Ruth Coppinger says pro-choice group concerned about being outspent in referendum

Member of pro-choice group Rosa at the  launch of the  Time4Choice campaig on  Grafton Street in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Member of pro-choice group Rosa at the launch of the Time4Choice campaig on Grafton Street in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Some members of the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment are “worried” they will be significantly outspent by anti-abortion groups in the upcoming referendum, Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger has said.

“I know some people are worried about it ... I don’t think it should be a problem,” Ms Coppinger said, stressing she felt the middle ground was now in favour of abortion on request up to 12 weeks.

A referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which provides a right to life to the unborn, will be held later this year.

“I think the key in the campaign is going to be grassroots and talking to people”, she said, speaking at pro-choice group Rosa’s referendum campaign launch.

“Ten people a day are leaving the country, and an estimated five based on latest figures, are using medical abortion pills in their own homes” she said, adding: “either we deal with that reality or we continue to ignore it.”

Rita Harrold, spokeswoman for Rosa, said the campaign, “absolutely cannot afford the billboards that the other side can”, but would get their message across in other ways.

Rosa would be focusing on “mobilising the largest youth vote on the day”, she said, and their message would be that women “have a right to our own bodies.”

Rural communities

Reaching rural communities would be another challenge for the repeal campaign, Ms Harrold said. “People are having abortions from all over the country, from every town and village, people are using abortion pills in rural communities.”

On Monday, the anti-abortion Save the Eighth campaign group launched a second round of national billboard adverts, promoting two healthcare workers’ opposition to abortion.

The launch of the Rosa campaign, titled Time4Choice, highlighted some of the reported reasons women gave for terminating a pregnancy. Including the lack of money or support, health concerns, wanting to finish their education, and being too young or too old to raise a child.

Ms Coppinger said the given reasons were drawn from research carried out by online abortion pill provider Women on Web.