We can’t afford to be complacent as Ireland’s big decision arrives

My friends at Fashion Fix Daily asked me to write a piece on something I’ve touched on a few times in this blog: the US money that’s attempting to influence laws in other countries, most notably the campaign to repeal the anti-abortion Eighth Amendment in Ireland. Ireland votes this Friday.

What used to be an American problem has become a global one: the culture wars that have long divided the US are being exported in yet another example of the internet turning out to be a terrible idea.

We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, fashion is global now: what a celeb posts on Instagram in America soon appears in the fast fashion chains across the Atlantic. Style, music, entertainment and even politics have become global, so why wouldn’t intolerance go global too?

There are very strong links between Irish women’s groups and LGBT groups, who rightly recognise the many things they have in common and the power they have when they unite. One of the things they have in common is their battle against religious conservatives who would deny them bodily autonomy and basic human dignity.

My own take on the referendum is that whatever way Ireland votes, women will continue to need, seek and have abortions. The only difference between a Yes and a No vote is the safety of those women and the trauma they’re forced to experience.

This isn’t about pro-choice versus pro-life. This is about caring about women versus cruelty to women.

I truly hope the referendum returns a yes verdict, but the issue of far-away organisations attempting to influence democratic processes in often underhand ways is not going to go away when the polls shut on Friday.

Whether we’re waving Pride flags or supporting the women who want to repeal the eighth amendment, we need to remember that the enemies of equality can shout just as loud – and that many of them have deep pockets.

They can afford to spend huge sums in their attempts to roll the clock backwards, and that means we can’t afford to be complacent.