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'It was the first time I could breathe since I lost my daughter'

Members of the Termination For Medical Reasons (TFMR) have spoken to reporters this afternoon.

“IT FELT LIKE it was the first time I could breathe since I got my diagnoses that I lost my daughter. I think we all felt like that.”

028 Abortion Referendum count_90545984 Dr Siobhán Donohue and Amy Walsh (speaking), both women are members of Termination for Medical Reasons Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Amy Walsh’s baby daughter Rose was stillborn at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Speaking to reporters at the RDS this afternoon, she said today’s results are a “huge relief”.

“It was just such a relief that we now know that other women and couples who receive this news, that the worst news is going to be that they are losing their baby, but that they will be looked after compassionately surrounded by their family and their loved ones at home.”

Members of the Termination For Medical Reasons (TFMR) group have made statements as results are rolling in on the Eighth Amendment referendum and the Yes side marches towards victory.

90302172_90302172 Arlette Lyons, Fiona Walsh, Ruth Bowie, Sarah McGuinness, Julie O Donnell, Agatha Corcoran, Deirdre Conroy and Gaye Edwards all from TFMR Source: Leon Farrewll/Photocall Ireland

Julie O’Donnell said, “Today’s historical result brings huge relief to all the members of TFMR. Across age, political party, faith and counties – our people have come together to give us a Yes result.”

Jennifer Ryan said, “Now Ireland can work towards changing how these couples are treated. For those who make that heartbreaking decision to end their pregnancy, they will no longer be kicked out of their country and made feel like criminals for their difficult choices.”

Image uploaded from iOS (2) Jennifer Ryan speaking to reporters at the RDS

Arlette Lyons said:

Telling our stories over the past six years has been emotional and draining but it was the burden that the Eighth added to our trauma and pain that galvanized every single one of us to relentlessly fight to stop any more women, couples and families suffering in the way we have all done.

90302168_90302168 A pregnant Arlette Lyons outside Leinster House in 2013 after she and a group from TFMR briefed TDs on their concerns on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill Source: Leon Farrewll/Photocall Ireland

Siobhan Donohue said: “We know this is just the beginning. We know there will be further work to get legislation in place, to make sure people can access care when and where they need it, but the overwhelming support shown by the people of Ireland gives us the strength and resolve to pursue provision of compassionate care.

Removing the Eighth was the first step, but what a step.

Ruth Bowie said, “We want to thank all the TDs who have heard our stories, listened to us and had the courage to alter their position and help bring about change. We especially want to thank our Minister for Health Simon Harris who has actively engaged with us and spoken publicly and passionately in support of our cause.

We are grateful for all the doctors and obstetricians who have spoken out to urge better healthcare for women, the journalists who have given us a platform to share our stories and every single person who has told them. And our family and friends who have encouraged us throughout this fight and have wiped away many tears.

James Burke said, “We thank every Yes voter, those who have rallied, spoken, travelled and stood alongside us to demand and deliver a clear and unequivocal mandate to change the way all women in the Republic are treated in the future. Today’s Yes has made all that worthwhile.”

Amanda Miller said:

Never again will any Irish woman or couple be treated in the way that we were. Tragedy will no longer be punished.

“Today compassion, understanding and sense has prevailed. We are so humbled and we are so thankful that so many of the amazing people of Ireland have listened to our stories and joined together to rise up to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Thank you.”

Additional reporting by Aoife Barry.

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