'I saw how the patients were talked about with such respect and compassion. It brought home the stark contrast of how women in Ireland were treated.'

Áine Kavanagh, Irish Family Planning Association, abortion rights Ireland, repeal the 8th amendment

Abortion and the referendum in Ireland 

Áine Kavanagh, Advocacy and Communications Assistant, IFPA

I'm 23 years old and I grew up in a particularly rural and conservative part of Ireland.

Our country has changed hugely since I was born in 1995. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993 just two years before I was born. And then just three years ago gay marriage was legalized. It's mind blowing for me to think that’s all happened in my lifetime, so I can't imagine how mind blowing it is to my parent’s generation.

The only time I ever heard the word abortion mentioned in school was when we were doing a play in the Irish language. There was a scene where the characters were discussing abortion. I remember asking the teacher what the word translated as. She said, ‘It means murder’. I know now if you break the translation down it would be similar to the word for a fetus. That doesn't literally translate as murder. But that was how it was explained it to us.

I studied reproductive biology at university and did my dissertation project in an abortion clinic in 2017. I was interviewing doctors and nurses working in the clinic in Edinburgh about their relationship with their patients.

That spurred me into action. I decided to go home and help with the Yes campaign. Legislation is how social change is made, how rights are created. Young people are often seen as politically apathetic, but it’s important my generation are involved in the reproductive rights movement.