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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
the eighth

How Dublin's March for Choice was reported around the world

Reuters, the New York Times and French newspaper Le Monde covered the demonstration.

Ireland abortion laws PA Wire / PA Images Yesterday's March for Choice in Dublin. PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

WHAT DID THE world’s media make of Ireland’s pro-choice march yesterday?

When Leo Varadkar was ordained as Taoiseach in June, we saw Ireland repeatedly referred to in foreign news outlets as an insular, conservative, Catholic nation.

After the success of the Yes Equality campaign, and with an ethnically diverse, young, gay man chosen as Ireland’s political leader (albeit not by the electorate), that world view of Ireland could be in the process of shifting.

Both those events propelled Ireland into the headlines of the world’s media – and so too did yesterday’s March for Choice, which drew thousands through Dublin city’s streets.

Here’s a few examples of how it was covered.

30/9/2017 Pro Abortion Campaigns Sam Boal via Sam Boal via

Reuters: “Tens of thousands march for abortion rights in Ireland”

What’s considered one of the most respected international news agencies was among the first to cover the pro-choice march yesterday.

The article pointed out that Ireland has “some of the strictest abortion laws in the world”, and of course made reference to the Catholic church’s dwindling influence.

“Ireland is changing. I don’t think you would have seen a march like this a few years ago,” Sarah Murphy, a 26-year-old recruitment professional told the agency.

Sky News: “Irish abortion law: Tens of thousands march in Dublin”

Sky News’ online edition had a video package on the March for Choice, and ran it as one of their top stories that evening.

It placed emphasis on the rally as the first one since Varadkar announced a referendum in May or June next year – “shortly before a visit from Pope Francis”.

Labour senator Aodhan O’Ríordáin told to Sky News: ”People have a right to abortion information and a right to travel to have an abortion, yet we don’t have that facility in Ireland. That time has come.”

The news package from Sky News also featured prominent pro-life campaigner Cora Sherlock, who argued for the preservation of the Eighth.

Ireland abortion laws PA Images PA Images

Guardian: “Thousands march in Dublin calling for end to Ireland’s abortion ban”

The Guardian said that this march “was more significant than ever” due to next month’s referendum on the Eighth amendment.

It reported on the counter-events that were staged across Dublin “indicating protests from both sides are likely to intensify in the lead-up to the referendum”.

It also reported on the protest which was held outside the Irish Embassy:

A pro-choice rally was staged outside the Irish embassy in London on Saturday, with campaigners highlighting the numbers of Irish women who have travelled to Britain for an abortion in the last three decades.
A few hundred demonstrators gathered outside the embassy, chanting: “34 years since ’83, stop sending women across the sea” and holding placards which read: “Healthcare not Ryanair” and “Irish women deserve better”.

New York Times: “Thousands rally in Dublin against Ireland’s abortion ban”

Lisa Byrne, who attended the march told the NYT: “It isn’t just young women in their 20s with trendy haircuts out here. It’s everyone,” Ms. Byrne said in a telephone interview.

I just saw a group of lads on their own, no women with them, who were marching together. You wouldn’t have seen that years ago.

Le Monde: “In Ireland, supporters of the right to abortion take to the streets before the referendum”

A short piece in Le Monde was one of the few international media to include a quote from the pro-life side.

“We have every reason to be proud of the Eighth Amendment,” Cora Sherlock said, ”which has saved tens of thousands of lives and avoided horrific human rights violations caused by abortion in other countries.”

Le Monde also reported that “no senior politician has taken a stand for a broad right to abortion”, comparing the lawmakers’ silence to the widely supported Yes Equality campaign.

Leo Varadkar thinks that the current legislation is “too restrictive” but is not in favour of full legalisation without restriction.

The BBC, the UK’s Independent and AFP also covered the Abortion Rights Campaign’s March for Choice.

Read: Thousands take part in March for Choice in Dublin city centre

Read: ‘The assembly has the advantage of not having to address constituents’: Politicians discuss abortion

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