Reasons to March for Choice this September

Date:

September is a terrific month for you to become more involved in the struggle to make access to abortion in Ireland free, safe and legal.

The 4th Annual March for Choice will take place in Dublin on Saturday 26th September. This day marks the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.
 
In preparation for that march, the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment has a conference on Saturday, 12th September in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin from 9:30 onwards. It will focus on the theme “What do Women Need? Why we must Repeal the Eighth Amendment”.
 
More information on all of these events is available at www.abortionrightscampaign.ie.
 
WHY MARCH?
Nearly 4,000 women with addresses in the Republic of Ireland travel to access abortion abroad each year. They must do so because abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances in both north and south Ireland.
 
Many women now evade that ban using the Early Medical Abortion (EMA) pill ordered online from organisations that include Women Help Women and Women on Waves. The laws remain punitive. Only last July, a couple of hundred people attended a pro-choice solidarity rally in Dublin to protest against the prosecution of a woman in Belfast for supplying her daughter with the abortion pill.
 
By criminalising abortion in virtually all circumstances, Ireland’s abortion laws deny the fundamental rights of women to live in dignity, to access healthcare, to self-determination and to avail of their rights without discrimination. Each woman must carry the entire financial, practical and emotional burdens of doing so. Practically, Irish women travelling abroad are likely to avail of the more invasive surgical rather than medical abortions as they cannot afford to remain near the clinic for 3-4 days. Irish women are also less likely to receive pre- and post-abortion medical and psychological care due to the time limitations and stigma.
 
The burden of anti-choice laws falls most heavily on minors, women on low incomes, as well as migrant women who are refused travel documents. Such women may not have the connections to access medial abortion pills and face difficulties finding the funds to cover the substantial cost of travelling abroad for an abortion. The Irish government is continuing to put these women at risk in its refusal to legislate for abortion access in this country.
 
SEA CHANGE IN ATTITUDES BUT MORE WORK TO DO
Years of Pro-Choice activism is reflected in changed public attitudes and a greater erosions of the stigma attached to abortion in what was once a conservative, predominantly Catholic country. A majority of people now support the amendment of Irish abortion laws. A recent poll found that 81% of people polled were in favour of widening the grounds for abortion, 66% of people surveyed believed the Government should decriminalise abortion and, just 7% were opposed to abortion in all circumstances.
 
Unsettlingly, however, the same poll found that popular awareness of abortion legislation was low. Only 1 in 10 surveyed were aware that the penalty for an unlawful abortion in Ireland is up to 14 years imprisonment. 64% were unaware that having an abortion in Ireland was a criminal offence when the woman’s life is not at risk and 50% believed that Irish doctors could legally make referrals for women to obtain abortions abroad.
 
In short, more and more people support the idea that access to abortion should be a medical issue for the person concerned to decide on – not the church, and not the state.
 
We anarchists of the Workers Solidarity Movement agree. We think that access to abortion should be free, safe and legal. An anarchist society is one in which all people – men, women, trans* - are free to make choices about their own lives. This includes choices about whether or not to become pregnant, remain pregnant or to have children by any means.
 
We will march for choice on 26th September. Will you?
 
WORDS: Tom Murray
 
 
REFERENCES
The Workers Solidarity Movement has a long, proud history of supporting women’s right to choose. Our coverage of Choice activism and associated issues is available at http://www.wsm.ie/medical-abortion

 

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