March for Choice - video report


Last Saturday the 26th of September saw thousands of people take to the streets of Dublin for the now annual March for Choice. The march is organized every year by the Abortion Rights Campaign.

The current key demand is that for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. This amendment passed in 1983 equates the life of a mother with that of a foetus. It's implementation through the legislation of the Labor Party party and FIne Gail government means in effect that a doctor who helps a pregnant person have an abortion or someone who procures one in Ireland could face a jail sentence of up to 14 years.

One of the positive aspects of the march this year was increased visibility of the fact that it's not only women who need abortions but also trans men and non-binary people.

A poll commissioned by Amnesty a couple of months back showed that over two-thirds of the Irish people want abortion to be decriminalized. That's quite a significant figure because if you remember the referendum was passed in 1983 and that means that nobody who voted in that referendum is of childbearing age anymore. Which also means that everybody who is of childbearing age had no say this particular law.

From the politicians we get the usual cynicism The Taoiseach Enda Kenny for instance recently said that he had no intention of appealing the Eighth Amendment. This despite that large percentage of people who would like to see abortion decriminalized. His stance is little more than a cynical calculation on how he thinks Fine Gael voters in his particular constituency might view the eighth Amendment.

In the meantime every day twelve people have to travel to the UK or began in order to procure an abortion. Most days at least one person is illegally taking abortion pills they've obtained off the internet. In theory they could face a jail sentence of up to fourteen years and let's remember in northern Ireland which is similar laws to the Republic one woman is already been prosecuted for procuring such pills for her daughter.

That's the context in which we would say about twice as many people as last year turned out for the March for choice. It was a well organized event with a wide variety of speakers We've become all too used to political protests been dominated by speakers who are politicians and more or less repeating each other in the hope for future votes. This one was very different with only one politician speaking among the dozen or so speakers and many of those who spoke were giving voice to communities that would often be marginalized and excluded from this debate including migrant community and Irish traveller.

Video of individual speeches at March for Choice


Video: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )