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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 20 January, 2020
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Large crowds expected at March for Choice in Dublin this afternoon

This will be the first March for Choice since Ireland enacted abortion legislation in December.

People marching during the 2018 March for Choice in Dublin
People marching during the 2018 March for Choice in Dublin
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

LARGE CROWDS ARE expected to turn out in Dublin this afternoon for the March for Choice, organised by pro-choice groups. 

This will be the first March for Choice since Ireland enacted abortion legislation in December. 

President Michael D Higgins signed the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill into law, making abortion services legal in Ireland, on 20 December. 

The Act allows for terminations of pregnancy up to 12 weeks. It also provides for terminations where there is a risk to the life or a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman. 

Women who have been given a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormalities are now be able to legally avail of early termination of pregnancy in the hospital they are being treated in. 

However, campaigners are today saying that abortion remains out of reach for too many people. 

“We hear from people in dire straits,” Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network said. 

“People who have just missed the 12 week cut off, including people who couldn’t get a scanning appointment in time, who were led astray by rogue agencies, or whose medication abortion failed,” she said. 

Spokesperson for the Migrants and Asylum Seekers Association of Ireland, Bulelani Mfaco, also said some migrants and refugees who arrive in Ireland “may be too scared or disorientated to ask right away for an abortion”. 

The ARC said it is also marching today for the people of Northern Ireland. 

If Stormont does not resume before 21 October, abortion may be decriminalised in the North. 

“Within weeks we are hoping to see abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland thanks to decades of campaigning and lobbying. We are currently the only part of these islands without free, safe and legal abortion access but that is going to change very soon,” Danielle Roberts of Alliance for Choice Belfast said.

ARC spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said “for these reasons and more” the March for Choice is taking place today. 

“We call on the government to end the mandatory three-day waiting period, to increase provision in every county, to end the unethical practice of refusal of case by healthcare providers, to stop rogue agencies and to enact access zones around medical facilities as matters of urgency,” Kavanagh said. 

The March for Choice kicks off at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin at 2pm this afternoon. 

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