Let’s clear something up right away:
I may be very interested in politics (I got my Bachelor’s Degree, years ago, in Political Science) – but this blog? It’s not meant to be political. Maybe on a grassroots, food security level, but it’s not meant to be polarizing. And so I apologize if this post comes off a bit… or maybe a lot… well, polarizing.
I’m writing this post because I’m worried. In Ireland, a referendum on whether or not to scrap the 8th Amendment, which is the part of the constitution that protects the right to “life of the unborn” is taking place Friday, the 25th of May. If you’re not based in Ireland, you may or may not have heard about it.
I would, generally, never assume to use this food blog as a platform for my political beliefs, but I’m scared that the 8th Amendment will be retained next week. I am scared that women will continue to have zero rights in terms of their bodily autonomy. I am scared that my daughters will have no reproductive health care rights when they reach child-bearing age.
I was scared through each of my four pregnancies in Ireland (one sadly ended in a miscarriage at seven weeks). Before the consultant said anything, during each scan, there was always a rush of anxiety. What if something is wrong with the baby? What if the pregnancy isn’t viable? What if the pregnancy is making me seriously ill?
My first scan for my fourth pregnancy wasn’t until nearly 17 weeks. When I asked the midwife why it took so long to have a preliminary scan, she looked me straight in the eyes and said:
“It’s so you won’t run to England for a quick abortion if something’s not going right.”
I appreciated her honesty, but I also wondered why there was such a lack of trust in Irish mothers.
I come from a country where there are very few limitations on abortion. There is no law saying you can’t have an abortion at any time in your pregnancy. You don’t need to give a reason. You don’t need to have your head examined. You are scanned before 12 weeks. You are supported by your GP and specialists. And you are trusted to do the right thing, always, for your health and the health of your baby, should you wish to go forward with the pregnancy.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, we were still in Canada until I was nearly six months along. I was offered an amniocentesis, which is the test that checks for chromosomal problems and other possible complications. Guess what? I didn’t want it. I chose to get pregnant, and I wanted my baby, whether she came out with health problems or not. I have never considered having an abortion myself, yet, in Canada, I took my bodily autonomy for granted.
I hope my three daughters get to grow up in a country where they can also take their bodily autonomy for granted. I hope they have full access to reproductive health care, which sadly, at times, means access to free, safe and legal abortion.
That’s why I am hoping that the 8th Amendment gets repealed on May 25th.
The thing is, I’m not Irish. I’m not a citizen. I can’t vote in this referendum.
But I can’t just do nothing, either. So I baked these repeal cookies. And they are absolutely delicious. Light, delicate and chock-full of social justice.
Are you in a similar position? Are you living in Ireland (or elsewhere!), hope the 8th gets repealed, but don’t have a vote? This is a gentle, loving way to get your point across (and also, maybe a good way to start a conversation with voters who are still undecided).
Let’s bake to Repeal the 8th. Show me your bakes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – or blog about it, if you have a blog. Show your support through creative bakes. It could be anything. I did these cookies (recipe below) and you can do the same, or make something completely different!
I love this country so much; I am thankful every day to live in the community we do. If we repeal this amendment, life in Ireland will be just that much sweeter for me and my daughters.
For the cookie dough:
1 cup/250g softened butter
1 cup/250g white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rind of one lemon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups/400g plain flour
For the icing:
2 pkg instant royal icing
black food colouring
or (if you can’t get royal icing mix)
2 tsp meringue powder
4 cups icing sugar
black food colouring
- Make the cookie dough: preheat your oven to 180°C (350F) and line two baking trays with parchment.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon rind. Mix well.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until everything is well-combined. You can make this dough ahead of time and chill it in the fridge, or do everything all at once.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into large circles (I use biscuit/scone cutters for this, but if you’re stuck, use a drinking glass).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown slightly. Cool completely.
- Make the royal icing: in a large bowl, combine the royal icing mix (or icing sugar + meringue powder) and vanilla. Slowly, by the tablespoon, add enough water to make a pipe-able icing. Mix until nice and smooth, with no lumps. Divide this mixture into three different bowls.
- In two of the three bowls, add the black food colouring (leave the third one white for piping on the letters). In one of the black bowls, add an additional 2-3 Tbsp water to make it liquid and glossy, for flooding the cookie.
- Put the thicker black icing into a piping back with a small circular tip and make a dam around the edge of each cookie – this thicker icing will keep the thinner black icing from dripping off the edge of the cookie.
- Using a spoon, add the wetter black icing into the centre of each cookie. Use a toothpick or skewer to spread the black icing over the surface of the cookie. Set aside to dry for at least 20 minutes.
- Clean your piping bag out well and, using the same tip, carefully write your message on the inside of the cookie. Again, allow the icing to dry completely – this could take several hours.
- Don’t keep these cookies to yourself – spread the message and the love. They will keep for 1-2 weeks, if they last that long.