As celebrities push for abortion in Ireland, they’re framing their fight as a battle for women. But every pregnancy physically involves two people. Not one.
On May 25th, Ireland will hold a referendum on whether or not to repeal the country’s Eighth Amendment banning abortion. As citizens prepare to take part in the vote, celebrities from Liam Neeson to U2 are using star power for abortion support.
After a 1983 referendum, Ireland’s Constitution expanded to include the Eighth Amendment. The amendment reads: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
According to The Independant, a repeal of the amendment would pave the way for Ireland’s government to allow abortions up to 12 weeks. But to be clear: there isn’t an absolute abortion ban right now.
In 2013, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act became law and declared that abortions were legal under three circumstances: “risk of loss of life from physical illness,” “risk of loss of life from physical illness in emergency,” or “risk of loss of life from suicide.”
That’s still not enough for many in the entertainment industry. Here are the top 10 celebrities backing the repeal of the Eighth:
- Liam Neeson
Neeson, who has starred in movies like Taken and Schindler’s List, is a longtime advocate for repealing the Eighth. In early May, he released a statement urging men “to stand with women.”
“There are times when we must stand for what is right. When the obvious injustice of a situation demands that we do so,” he wrote. “For me, the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment is one of those times.”
At the same time, together with other Irish celebrities, he appeared in an ad by abortion group Together for Yes to support the repeal. But that wasn’t the first time he used his voice in a video for abortion. In 2015, he narrated an Amnesty International Ireland ad calling for the “repeal of the eighth” because Ireland “doesn’t have to be chained to its past.”
- Saoirse Ronan
Ronan, who rose to fame last year after starring in the Oscar-nominated film Lady Bird, appeared in the Together for Yes video along with Neeson.
“Please, vote yes!” she exclaims in it.
In a May interview with Lorraine, she added that, “What this [repeal] will do is just give women the choice and give women full right and ownership over their own body.”
- Sarah Hyland
The Modern Family actress and Planned Parenthood supporter recently took to Twitter to call for repealing the Eighth.
“I am a woman. I am Irish,” Hyland tweeted. “I have a slew of health complications that COULD put me in a situation where I would be forced to make a heartbreaking decision. If I was a resident of Ireland, the laws in place would kill me.”
On May 1, the world-famous rock band tweeted out a “Repeal the Eighth” picture with the caption “Vote on May 25th.” The announcement came as the group launched a new tour.
“It’s huge, there’s this huge divergence of opinion and it’s very emotive and I accept that,” guitarist The Edge said, according to The Irish Times. “It’s hard to take a stance without acknowledging there’s another side of it but I’m for it. I support Repeal.”
- Cillian Murphy
The Inception and Red Eye actor also appeared in the Together for Yes video.
In an April interview he argued that “Men and women are custodians of this society and we both decide what’s going to happen for our future,” according to Irish Central. He added, “I think, you know, that you can be well-intentioned and say ‘look, it should be for women to decide this’, but we need to go out and support women on this.”
- Liam Cunningham
The Game of Thrones actor appeared in the Together for Yes video alongside Neeson and Ronan.
“In Ireland today,” he began the celebrity video, which continues with other celebrities reading “if the woman sitting next to you is pregnant, she does not have full rights over her own body.”
- Aimee Richardson
Richardson, who also stars in Game of Thrones, called for the repeal. In support of Together for Yes, she tweeted out “I’m beaming with pride for our wee island” on May 7.
“So wonderful to see so many people from both sides of the boarder [sic] coming together to support reproductive rights for all,” she wrote. If that wasn’t enough, her Twitter bio includes the hashtag “#RepealThe8th.”
- Chris O’Dowd
The Irish actor, who has starred in films like Bridesmaids, partnered with Amnesty International Ireland’s Vote Yes campaign. In a video posted May 14, O’Dowd insisted, “Vote ‘Yes’ on May 25th.”
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to stand with our wives, our girlfriends, our mothers, our daughters,” he said. “Be part of the future, not the past.”
- Courteney Cox
On May 9, the Friends actress tweeted out the Together for Yes celebrity video along with the caption “Repeal the eighth!!!”
- Kate Nash
The actress, who stars in Netflix’s GLOW, tweeted May 10 against the eighth.
“On May 25th vote to repeal the harmful eighth!” she insisted. “Unsafe & Illegal abortion is barbaric, ancient, harming women & must change!”
Unfortunately, none of these celebrities addressed the barbarism of destroying a human person in the womb. All women’s lives matter – including those in the womb.