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Protests to take place internationally over abortion controversy

Hundreds are expected to turnout at today’s rally.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/photocall

MARCHES OVER THE recent abortion controversy will take place internationally today.

The demonstrations will be expressing opposition to current legislation, after a rape victim who had come to Ireland from overseas was refused an abortion and was made to deliver her child by Caesarean section.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, spokesperson for Choice Ireland Sinéad Ahern said:

“We are hoping the government will remove the Eighth Amendment. Regardless of the discussion about the recent case, it is about a woman’s rights and choices over her own body.

I think that unfortunately there has been a degree of desire to avoid debate around abortion. Some of the earlier referendum campaigns have been divisive. We need to have a mature and reasonable discussion about what effect the amendment is having on women’s real lives.

The protest today will also see action being taken in London outside the Irish Embassy. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Hazel Nolan, a spokesperson for the group Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A, said:

“I’ve had to face the reality that the British state takes far better care of me as a women than the Irish state would. I think a lot of people who have moved abroad have found that.”

A protest will also take place today outside the Irish Embassy in Berlin at 6.30pm.

Action is also planned for a number cities across Ireland. These protests will be taking place at 6pm in Galway’s Eyre Square, at Belfast’s City Hall, and at Cork’s Courthouse. A protest will also be taking place at 8pm in Limerick at the Cellar Door.

The protests have come about after much controversy over the recent case of a woman being denied an abortion after expressing suicidality and going on hunger strike. The case is the most high profile of its kind since the introduction of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in July 2013.

The woman involved says she became pregnant through rape before coming to Ireland. The initial request was made for the abortion after eight weeks of the pregnancy.

The woman was offered the procedure in the 24th week of the pregnancy, but this was later withdrawn. During the course of the pregnancy the mother attempted to kill herself and went on hunger and thirst strike.

The woman, being interviewed in The Irish Times yesterday by Kitty Holland said:

Sometimes, when I feel the pain . . . I feel I have been left by everybody . . . I just wanted justice to be done. For me this is injustice.

Comment from Pro-Life Ireland is pending at time of publication. The group has no organised events publicised as yet but has been vocal about the issue. It “strongly criticised” a number of people, including Labour TDs, who called for the repeal of Article 40.3.3.

“This is a tragic story for both mother and baby. There is a premature baby clinging to life in a Dublin Hospital as a direct result of last year’s abortion legislation and all some Labour TDs can do is exploit the situation to push for more abortion. It is obscene the way they are using this case to whip up support for their agenda,” said chairperson Cora Sherlock.

“Instead of playing politics with this tragedy, we should all be focussed on the best outcome for the mother and baby at the centre of this very difficult case.”

Read: These Labour TDs and Senators think we should have another abortion referendum

Read: No one in this government wants to deal with the abortion issue again. Here’s why…

Also: Ireland in the international headlines again after rape victim is denied abortion

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