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Abortion Rights Campaign

Large crowds as March for Choice takes place in Dublin

This was the seventh annual March for Choice and the first since the Eighth Amendment was removed from the Constitution.

5994 Abortion March_90555206 A participant in the march today. Sam Boal Sam Boal

LARGE CROWDS TURNED out today in Dublin for the March for Choice, organised by pro-choice groups. 

The event was notable as it was the first pro-choice march to take place after the Eighth Amendment was officially removed from the Constitution.

6022 Abortion March_90555215 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Leaders of the Abortion Rights Campaign told the crowd: “This has never been a quiet revolution – do not get quiet now.”

In May of this year, the Irish people voted to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, paving the way for the legalisation of abortion. Legislation is set to be enacted to allow abortion up to 12 weeks, and also in specific circumstances up to 24 weeks or viability.

6094 Abortion March_90555213 Sam Boal Sam Boal

However, Abortion Rights Campaign said it held the event today to show supporters that although the Eighth Amendment has been repealed, it believes there is still a need for campaigning by pro-choice activists.

“We will continue to campaign for all girls, women and people who need abortion. Abortion on demand and without apology,” Abortion Rights Campaign co-convenor Denise O’Toole told the crowd. “Let’s continue to make 2018 the year of an unstoppable wave of people power. Real change must come from below.”

5949 Abortion March_90555203 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Present at today’s event were Health Minister Simon Harris, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone, Senator Catherine Noone and Amnesty Ireland’s Colm O’Gorman, who all campaigned for a Yes vote in the referendum.

Social Democrats candidate Evie Nevin told the crowd that currently at least one person with a disability travels from Ireland for an abortion every week. Another speaker was Zanele Sibindi of the Masi group which supports people in Direct Provision.

In a blog post explaining the reasons behind the march, the Abortion Rights Campaign said:

Even though the referendum has finally been won (by a huge majority of 66.4%!) nothing practical has changed in Ireland. 10 people still travel for abortion care every day, while at least 3 more take pills at home that are safe but still illegal under our laws.
We’ve waited a very very long time for change, and now we’re still waiting for the government to pass legislation and introduce real abortion services.

It said this is why the theme of the seventh annual March for Choice is “Free, Safe, Legal”.

We’ve marched behind this slogan for years but now, more than ever, it’s vital we show our support for stigma-free abortion access for anyone who wants or needs one, regardless of their financial or legal status.

The group also said that it is also holding the event to “make a promise that we will continue to fight until abortion is available for all people on the island of Ireland, including our comrades and siblings in Northern Ireland, and those whose circumstances will not fall within the bounds set by the new law”.

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