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With the referendum on the Eighth Amendment looming, Ireland is witnessing both sides of the debate battle it out in the media, online, in the streets.
But have you ever wondered why these sides – pro repeal and anti repeal – are so diametrically opposed? Where do they part ways? Can we ever know who is right and wrong with such a complex, nuanced issue? Should the constitution mention abortion at all? And can we know when life truly begins and should be protected?
This month, the HeadStuff Podcast Network presents a new podcast series documenting the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the constitution of Ireland, The Eighth.
This new podcast attempts to answer these questions, and more, through the lens of a pro repeal host attempting to bring clarity, understanding and some degree of common ground to this incredibly fraught space.
The Eighth asks: what do doctors in the UK who perform abortions have say about the Irish situation? What kind of complex situations present in abortion information counselling sessions? How can bioethicists, the Church, midwives, lawyers, activists and everyday people inform how we will vote? And will hearing, for the first time, a wave of real stories of women who have travelled or illegally obtained an abortion in this country have an impact on people’s decision making?
The Eighth, hosted by Ciara O’Connor Walsh, gives a 360 degree view of this complex referendum in real time as it unfolds. Episode 1 will land on 23 March, where Ciara talks openly, frankly and honestly with people intending to vote against repeal.
- In episode one, Ciara speaks to a range of people who are voting against the amendment, and puts herself “in the eye of the storm” at the recent Rally for Life in Dublin
- Episode two speaks to people intending to vote for repeal of the eighth amendment, and explores the range of complex reasons and nuances of belief on this ‘side’
- Other episodes include Professor Peter Singer, celebrated Princeton professor of Ethics, Prof Maureen Junker-Kenny, Head of the Department of Religions and Theology in TCD, Niall Behan, CEO of the Irish Family Planning Association, and representatives from Midwives for Choice, Doctors for Life and the Catholic Church.
“I made this podcast because I am genuinely curious about how people are currently thinking about the Eighth Amendment in Ireland, what way people are planning to vote – and more importantly – why”, says host and producer, Ciara O’Connor Walsh.
“I’m hoping people who listen will learn something – about themselves, about women who have to travel to the UK for abortion services, about the reality of the situation in Ireland. In making this podcast, I have definitely learned a lot – I have had genuinely humbling and emotional conversations with people who I may have otherwise shut out of my sphere because I disagreed with them. You’ll hear me navigate some incredibly choppy waters on both sides – some more successfully than others – in my journey documenting how Ireland is handling the lead up to this highly anticipated referendum.”
The series will culminate in an episode documenting people’s views on the day of the referendum itself in May, and will present the reactions and emotions on both sides running high on the day of the results.
Produced by Ciara O’Connor Walsh
Executive Producer: Alan Bennett, HeadStuff
Production assistance from Paddy Walsh and Brian from HeadStuff
Artwork: Eimear Gavin
Music: Ghosts I-IV, Nine Inch Nails