'We will keep the pressure on until we get this'
About 150 pro-choice supporters took part in a silent protest on Merrion Street in Dublin on Saturday evening as the Unite for Life Vigil took place nearby. They carried placards which read “Protesting Legislation to Stop Pregnant Women Dying is not Pro-Life”, “Politicians and Priests Make Crappy Doctors” and “Pro-Life, Anti-Women”.
Sarah Malone of the Abortion Rights Campaign, which was set up in Dublin earlier that day, said that they were outraged and offended that anti-abortion groups should protest at proposals for “legislation to ensure women do not die because they are pregnant”. It was “unbelievable”, she added.
Their silent protest was in “solidarity with one another and with the 150,000 women our country has exported to England to get the medical care they needed since the 1980s”.
She also said that the group was silent so as to be “just like the women who have been silenced by the pro-life movement for years”.
They “had no wish to be adversarial, no wish for the debate to be portrayed as two extremes roaring at each other. Also a lot of our members are uncomfortable with the idea of a counter-demonstration. Everyone is entitled to protest, it is a democratic right.”
Earlier on Saturday pro-choice campaigners from across the State had come together at a meeting in Dublin to form the Abortion Rights Campaign. Speaking at the event, Independent TD Clare Daly said, “We want the immediate introduction of legislation for the right to safe, legal abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, including from suicide.
“We also want the simplest, broadest legislation that includes the right to abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality. We will keep the pressure on until we get this.”