Deputy President, Annie Hoey was leading a marching protest in Dublin less than a fortnight ago, and said that the USI “will support student unions in any way necessary” on the issue.
Ms Hoey claimed that it is “a crying shame” that the eighth amendment had not yet been removed from the constitution.
“Not every student union has adopted a formal stance on this issue and we want to facilitate an open discussion and support them in engaging with their student body on it.”
Ms Hoey has promised that the USI will “mobilise students around the country by encouraging them to register to vote so that in the upcoming General Election they can only vote for the candidates that commit to pushing for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment.”
The union will also “work with other active groups such as the Coalition to Repeal the Eight, the Abortion Rights Campaign and ROSA to promote the campaign and engage members of the public in open and positive dialogue about this issue.“
Ms Hoey was among the most vocal demonstrators at this year’s March for Choice rally, which up to ten thousand people reportedly attended.
Ms Hoey said she was “delighted” at the huge student turnout last Saturday.
“I think the huge numbers is a clear indication that repealing the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution is an issue of huge importance to people.
“There was a huge delegation with Trinity College Students Union, and we were also joined by lots of gender equality societies, Amnesty societies, students’ unions and other student groups,” Ms Hoey said.
“I think it is a crying shame that Ireland is a bastion of progressive rights in terms of marriage equality and gender recognition, but we are still trapped by our draconian laws that deny a woman their right to choose what is best for their own body.
“I am furious that a decision has been made for me about what I can and cannot do with my body.
“If a person was told that someone else had made a decision on their behalf in relation to anything else they would want to do with their body, there would be uproar,” she said.
She went on to say that she “knows too many people that have both been forced to carry a pregnancy to terms or made leave their own country in secret and in shame.”
Ms Hoey also criticised the government’s lack of action on the matter.
“Unless we keep fighting for safe and legal abortion services in Ireland we will continue to have people being forced to travel abroad to deal with the issue because our government won’t.
“We will continue having people smuggle abortion pills into the country and risk a fourteen year prison sentence. And even more alarmingly we will continue to have people engage in dangerous behaviour, trying to induce a miscarriage because they see no other way out,” she added.
She went on to describe the argument posed by pro-life campaigners as “madness.”
“The issue at hand is that a person- a real-life, living, breathing, sentient human being- does not have a right to make a decision about what is best for them and their body. Enshrining such a thing into a constitution is madness.”