Pro-choice canvasser ‘shocked’ by reaction on doorstep
Activists given mixed response in one of State’s most liberal and wealthy constituencies
The literature being handed out by pro-repeal campaigners while canvassing in Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.
Annette Mooney canvassing in Ringsend for a pro-repeal vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.
The reaction to pro-choice campaigners in one of the wealthiest areas of one of the most liberal constituencies in the state left canvasser Mary Cody, “shocked and disappointed”.
The Dublin Bay South Repeal campaign had its first canvass on Saturday afternoon around Dublin 4. It was Ms Cody’s first canvass for the campaign and she had just spent 10 minutes talking with a woman in her late 30s.
Standing at the door of her villa-style residence in Sandymount, a young child by her side, the woman said she would “probably be voting ‘No’ to repeal”.
The spacious hall behind her was painted in soft grey hues and from the livingroom the build up to the Ireland-Scotland rugby match could be heard on the television.
“I totally agree supports for women with a crisis pregnancy in this country are totally inadequate,” she told Cody and local campaign organiser Annette Mooney, a People Before Profit representative.
“But what I am hearing about the legislation [that would follow repeal of the Eighth Amendment] does not address my concerns. It would open up a whole new, unregulated industry of abortion. It would not be monitored. This is a country that is just not good at healthcare or regulation.”
A few doors down, and up a gravel path, a man in his 60s answered the door and looked at a leaflet offered to him, titled “Eight reasons to repeal the Eighth”.
He asked what it’s about and when told raises his voice. “Get off this land and close the gate behind you.”
At another door, reached up wide granite steps, a woman in her 40s works in media is more conciliatory, saying she will definitely be voting to repal. Others too, including a couple of young mothers walking with young children, said they would like to get involved in the local ‘repeal campaign’.
Positivity to the canvas was erratic, however. An older man, dressed in a black quilted jacket, slacks and wearing a fur-lined hat, who was on his way to the Aviva Stadium, said there was “no need” for abortion.
“People should be taking precautions. And there’s no way I’m leaving it to TDs,” he said.
In the nearby, and less wealthy, Irishtown and Ringsend the reaction is predominantly pro-repeal. In Stella Gardens, Bernie Galvin, who is in her 60s, tells how she contracted Rubella during her first pregnancy in 1984 – a year after the Eighth Amendment was inserted into the Constitution.
“I was covered in German measles and the doctors told me nothing. I was kept totally in the dark about what could happen to the baby. The child [A GIRL]was born very sick, and completely deaf. They didn’t even tell me she was deaf. All I wanted was for my child to be better. Everyone has a story; everyone has a choice.”
Asked how she’ll vote, she said: “Yes, of course. I’m a woman.”
At a number of doors people had not decided how they will vote, saying they had to “study the issues”. Several, particularly men, did not want to discuss it.
A young couple, with one baby and another on the way, in a small red-brick house in Ringsend said: “We’re with you all the way.”
Asked her reaction to the canvas, Ms Mooney said: “It was a good start”. She was not shocked at the antipathy encountered at numerous doors in Sandymount, or surprised at the positivity in Ringsend.
“The reaction we’re getting – a lot of it depends on the size of the house.”