March demanding abortion legislation planned in Dublin

Event to act as ‘reminder’ to Government that ‘nothing on the ground has changed’

Last year’s March for Choice, from Parnell Square to Merrion Square in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Last year’s March for Choice, from Parnell Square to Merrion Square in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The degree to which legislation guaranteeing free, safe and legal abortion services is successfully enacted and implemented in coming months, will decide whether a “March for Choice” is needed next year, the Abortion Rights Campaign has said.

Sarah Monaghan, spokeswoman for the campaign, was speaking in advance of Saturday’s march in Dublin – the first since the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution was passed in May.

“The march has two purposes . It is a reminder that there is still a lot to be done. Nothing on the ground has changed. We still have 10 women a day travelling for abortion and three a day importing abortion medication online.

“We still don’t have the legislation and this will be a reminder to Government that we are still demanding legislation in line with the changes we voted for, so resoundingly.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris, has committed to enacting legislation to give effect to the referendum result by January 2019.

Ms Monaghan said there were, however, “still aspects of the legislation we are concerned about and whether these will act as barriers to some women accessing abortion services – such as conscientious objection, like the provision requiring women to wait 72 hours between asking for an abortion and getting the medication, the lack of clear guidelines, the lack of inclusive language . . . There are definitely still a lot of questions.”

She said the march would “be a bit of a celebration too, of all that we have achieved and worked so hard for over the past years and decades. It will be a coming back together of the various campaigns.”

Among those who will be speaking will be Kelly O’Dowd and Emma Campbell of the Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland where abortion remains illegal except where there is a threat to the life of the woman.

The march has been held annually since 2011 to coincide with the International Day for Safe Abortion, which falls on September 28th and is marked in almost 50 countries. The first was in Latin America in 1990.

Asked whether there would be a March for Choice in 2019 she said: “That is very possible. We will be watching the legislation and a lot will depend on that.”

The Dublin event begins at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square and before making its way to Merrion Square.