As the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment garners support and gains momentum, many Irish women have embraced the possible legislative change.
Despite the growing Repeal campaign, many continue to support the current Constitutional amendment, urging the nation to protect both the Eighth Amendment and the life of the unborn.
Mary Kenny, Limerick native and mother of one, recalls her decision to continue with an unplanned pregnancy at 19-years-old during her second year of study at UL, after considering terminating her pregnancy.
“Abortion was my first thought. As someone who never wanted children, this was the end of the world for me. I felt it was my only option.
“I thought about booking flights over to England and booking the abortion, which I came very close to doing,” said Ms Kenny.
Prior to her pregnancy, Ms Kenny said she “never considered myself as someone that needed to think about the debate surrounding the pro-life or pro-choice issue, because I never wanted children.”
Recalling feelings of regret and guilt that weighed heavily on the expectant mother during a routine scan, Ms Kenny said, “I’ll never forget seeing my little Hollie’s fingers and toes, all perfectly formed, on her ten-week scan. I remember coming out of that scan, crying for thinking of abortion, because I had just seen a perfectly formed little human.”
“The fact that I had life growing inside of me was something to be celebrated, and not thought of as a death sentence,” she said.
Ms Kenny regards the Eighth Amendment as having played an integral role in the life of her child and in her decision to continue with her pregnancy, as she believes ready access to abortion would have resulted in a different outcome:
“The Eighth Amendment gave me time to think and, thankfully, I have my baby because of our right to life amendment.
“I often wonder what the outcome would have been, if I only had to sit in my car and drive myself twenty minutes down the road, into the Maternity Hospital in Limerick to end the life of my own child,” she said.
“My beautiful Hollie is almost three-years-old, and no two days are the same with her. She has brought more joy and happiness into my life than I ever thought possible,” she continued.
Urging women facing an unplanned pregnancy to turn to available services, Ms Kenny praised the Social Services Centre located on Henry Street: “They made everything sound so positive and doable. I remember one of the girls saying ‘you can do this’, and that was all I needed to hear.
The young mother calls for further services to be made available in Limerick for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.