(abortion tw // rape mention) This weekend I traveled to Dublin for our 5th annual March for Choice. In Ireland abortion is illegal in virtually all circumstances, and the punishment if prosecuted is up to 14 years imprisonment. However we are “allowed” to procure the medical procedure abroad, and so approximately 12 women a day travel from Ireland to the UK or Netherlands to avail of their medical right to an abortion.
Abortion-free Ireland is a myth. Our government are simply exporting the problem, forcing people to travel - often alone, often under pressure with the extra expense, forced into silence and stigmatized when they return home - after what is already a difficult and emotionally and physically demanding ordeal. Many cannot afford to travel; this is a class issue. Many asylum seekers are not allowed to travel; this is a race issue. Women have died after being refused the life saving termination they requested, women have been raped and forced to carry their pregnancy to term against their wishes, women have had to continue with their pregnancies knowing fatal foetal abnormalities will force them to miscarry before they even reach term. This is an Irish issue. This is a human rights issue.
The 8th amendment is the section of our constitution that places the life of the unborn child on par with the parent and essentially blanket bans abortion. To repeal this we need to have a referendum ie country-wide vote. The repeal the 8th campaign has been gaining massive amounts of momentum, particularly since Ireland passed marriage equality via referendum in 2015, and this weekend was a tipping point. Tens of thousands of people (shown above) marched the streets of Dublin (despite bus strikes and heavy rain and wind) demanding the right to choose. “Our bodies, our lives, our right to decide.” “Pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die”. Even well-known Irish figures like Hozier and Cillian Murphy joined us in protest of our archaic, barbaric laws.
25 protests took place in different countries across the world this weekend in solidarity.
Our government party leader failed to even acknowledge the event, but with so many people inspired and desperate for change we are not going to back down. I am thankful for all the beautiful, inspiring people I am meeting along this journey, and no doubt there is a long way to go but hopefully we will see real change. To everyone forced to deal with crisis pregnancies; we are with you. For support visit; womenonweb and needabortionireland.
What does change look like? Year after year we find ourselves walking this same rainy circuit, from the Garden of Remembrance to Kildare Street. Now in its fifth year, the March For Choice takes place every September, and will continue until the eighth amendment, which bans the right to abortion in Ireland, is repealed.
Have we made any progress since last year?
Certainly the campaign is more visible now. Artists and storytellers and writers and politicians and anonymous women on Twitter have made their abortion stories public. The issue has entered national conversation: several days before the march, a show at the Dublin Fringe Festival saw journalist and author Roisin Ingle take to the stagealongside national treasure Panti Bliss, to deliver a version of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised wearing her black “REPEAL” sweatshirt.
We begin to assemble at Parnell Street at half past one in the afternoon. ROSA, the Irish Socialist Party’s group “Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity”, have brought out loudspeakers and battle drums. In previous years I have either burst into tears at the gravity of the event, or gone to a “drink for choice” party beforehand and turned up rather tired and emotional. Both reactions seem appropriate, given the circumstances, but I’m inclined to maintain composure this time.
The mood here is confident, a little embittered due to the number of times we’ve already called for change. In the windows of the Gate Theatre above us, supporters cheer and hold posters. There’s a woman dressed as a giant uterus. There’s a small army of dog allies. There are babies in slings, children in buggies, whole families from around the country, undeterred by a bus strike now in its seventh day. They’re carrying a collection of inventive, invective, fitfully hilarious signs.
“Hoes before embryos.”
“More than 116,951 woman swept under Ireland’s rug. Ain’t no rug big enough!”
My name is Lauren and I am a sixteen year old girl from Ireland. These are my views on the topic of the 8th amendment.
In the past couple of weeks I have become very involved and interested in the debate of the 8th Amendment.
Something I have noticed though is that quite a lot of people don’t actually know what this law is or have different thoughts on it. So here are my opinions and observations.
In Ireland, our law is set down by something called the Constitution and in the Constitution contains an act called the 8th Amendment.The 8th Amendment states;
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
In following that law, abortion is illegal in Ireland.
Personally I do not agree with this law and I am in favour of a referendum being held to repeal the 8th.Although I am only sixteen and unable to vote I still believe my opinion is just as relevant and important.
The large turnout was quite possibly a reflection of the recent organising and empowerment derived from the marriage equality and the water charge campaigns, but almost certainly a testament to the years of work and dedication that the Abortion Rights Campaign have put in on the issue.
blowing a gale at the old head by Dora Meulman Via Flickr: An aerial wide angle shot of The Old Head Of Kinsale and this famous exclusive links golf course. Can you see the wind with the light Irish rain falling sideways. The gale force winds can take your breath away and knock you off your feet. Mother Nature plays games out here and that’s why people love it.
Thank you for your visit I hope you enjoy.