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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 22 March, 2019
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Pro life and pro choice abortion demos go head-to-head today

The two marches will be held at Merrion Square at 4.30pm in Dublin city centre.

Pro Choice protest in memory of Savita Halappanavar in November.
Pro Choice protest in memory of Savita Halappanavar in November.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

TWO ABORTION MARCHES will be held at Merrion Square at 4.30pm today in Dublin city centre.

The Unite for Life group organised their ‘Vigil for Life’ protest first, and a group called  ‘Unlike Youth Defence, I trust women to decide their lives for themselves’ decided to hold a silent, counter demonstration.

A Unite for Life spokesperson told TheJournal.ie they expect a crowd “upwards of 30,000 today,” showing a “real indication of how people feel in Irish society about abortion and legislation”.

On the other hand, Sarah Malone, spokesperson for the Irish Choice Network say they expect a much smaller turnout of around 400 people because they “don’t have Americans with huge funds paying for buses to take people from towns and counties all around Ireland to the protest”.

Malone explained to TheJournal.ie why they were holding a demonstration today:

We are standing up for women like Sheila Hodgers, Savita Halappanavar, Michelle Harte and many other women women who we don’t know about. We need to protect pregnant women. They have rights too.

“Tempers and emotions tend to run very high during marches, so we decided to stay silent. We’re not really interested in having an adversarial march,” she added.

The pro-life group spokesperson said they didn’t have a problem with a counter protest because “it is a democracy and everybody has a right to have their say”. However, Malone questioned whether any democracy truly existed within the groups because they were calling on the government to reverse including ‘a risk of suicide’ in the legislation, which was voted for already in two separate referendums.

Why are they going against what the Irish people have already voted for twice? It is offensive and outrageous.

A Youth Defense Protest in November. (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

The pro-life spokesperson said they had “no problem” with the government providing legislation for “clarity purposes” for doctors but did not support any legislation that would pave the way for abortion. They argued:

It  [abortion] is not needed. We have a big problem with the issue of suicide being included in any legislation. Abortion isn’t the cure for suicide, psychiatric health is.

No one has come out and said that Savita died because she didn’t get an abortion. Not even her husband said it. Only those jumping on that fact are the abortion lobby and the media.

The pro-choice group have decided to meet at Merrion Square West, outside the National Gallery and just down the street from the pro-life group.

Read: Pro Choice group plans to counter protest Pro Life demo >

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Amy Croffey

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