Thousands at Dublin pro-choice march over Irish abortion laws

‘Not the church, not the State, women must control their fate’, protesters chant

The demonstrators expressed opposition to current legislation, after a rape victim said she was refused a termination under the new abortion legislation.

Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 21:17

Some 2,000 people turned out at the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell street to protest at Ireland’s abortion laws.

The demonstration was organised by a number of pro-choice groups, including Choice Ireland and the Abortion Rights campaign in the midst of the latest abortion controversy.

Protestors chanted “not the church, not the State, women must control their fate” and “abortion rights now.”

Inside Politics podcast: Abortion in Ireland

Many protestors held signs which said “repeal the eighth” while other slogans included “I’m not a vessel” and “Raped, Pregnant, Suicidal, Forced C-Section – Ireland 2014”.

Gardaí at the march estimated that 1,500 to 2,000 people attended while organisers said up to 3,000 people had attended.

Protester Niamh Hanley said “I don’t believe in our political system and I don’t think anything will change unless we stand up and use our voice.” Jennifer Brennan said “I think this young woman has been treated appallingly. I think that we can do alot better for women in this country and for women who come from overseas.” Richard Hamilton said he came out to march because “the current law does not seem to be workable.”

Annie Hoey Equality and Citizenship Officer with the Union of Students of Ireland (USI) said the USI is calling on the Government to repeal the eighth amendment to the Constitution.

“The Government needs to recognise that women have rights to autonomy over their own bodies and to make decisions that are right for them,” she said.

Buzz O’Neill said he came out to protest “in solidarity with every woman that’s had to leave this country for an abortion.”

“There’s a child being brought into this world in the most scandalous of conditions and another young woman is distraught. It just has to stop,” he said.

Marcher Michaela Gonzales said that she wouldn’t normally protest but felt she had to come out because she had been “shocked” by the case. “Something has to happen, something has to change.”

Another pro-choice rally will take place on O’Connell Street this Saturday. Demonstrations also took place at Eyre Square in Galway, at Belfast’s City Hall, and at Cork’s Courthouse and Limerick and outside the Irish Embassy in Berlin.

Separately anti-abortion groups, the Life Institute and Youth Defence, have given a name to the baby of the woman at the centre of the controvesy which was delivered prematurely by Caesarean section earlier this month.

They have called the baby ‘Hope’ and are holding a vigil for the infant on Saturday. In a statement issued today they said the “You are not alone’ vigil for ‘Baby Hope’ will be held on Saturday at 4 pm on O’Connell Street. They are asking people to bring a candle

The latest abortion controversy began when it emerged that a woman’s pregnancy was delivered by Caesarean section earlier this month, at 25 weeks gestation. She says she was suicidal had been refused a termination under the new abortion legislation. She says she was pregnant as a result of rape before she came to the country and first asked for an abortion when she was eight weeks and four days pregnant