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Free, Safe, Legal
to be Theme of the 7th Annual March for Choice.

ARC Launch 7th annual March for Choice.

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) have announced that the theme for the 7th Annual March for Choice, taking place on Saturday 29th September in Dublin, is ‘Free Safe Legal’.

The March will be the first since Ireland voted by a 66.4% majority to repeal the 8th Amendment.

At a press conference today in Dublin, speakers from a range of backgrounds discussed the significance of the ‘free safe legal’ theme, as the Dáil prepares to pass legislation to ensure abortion care is finally available in Ireland.

Dr Mary Favier, co-founder of Doctors for Choice, spoke on the need to focus on getting medical services in place for those who need them:

‘I am marching for choice because while we have achieved a lot we have much more to do to ensure the implementation of a safe and legal abortion service In Ireland. We must all remain active and vocal to ensure that we never go back’.

Speaking on the personal resonance of the Yes vote, Clare Daly TD said:

“The significant and overwhelming vote of the Irish people to rid our country of the restrictions of the 8th amendment should now be followed through with visionary human rights-centred legislation to provide access to a high standard abortion service for women who need it.”

Paola Rivetti, a member of MERJ (Migrants and Ethnic Minorities for Reproductive Justice) drew attention to the troubling implications of the practice by some doctors of refusing abortion care on grounds of conscience, and to the disproportionate effects this could have on the most marginalised in society:

“The repealing of the 8th Amendment was a huge victory and we owe it to all those women, trans and non binary people, Irish and non-Irish, settled and non-settled, who have mobilised for decades. However, the struggle is not over. We will march for a law that guarantees access to abortion and pregnant people-friendly health services – and neither of the two are compatible with conscientious objection.

“The existence of conscientious objection carries on the legacy of shaming women and it is a move against the result of the referendum in May: the people did not vote for restricting access to abortion but the opposite. Conscientious objection puts the life of pregnant people in danger. It obliges them to extensive waiting periods and unnecessary travels, by bus or car this time rather than plane or boat, affecting those in more vulnerable conditions, such as people living in Direct Provision or other forms of institutionalisation and those with precarious visa status. “

Gearóidín McEvoy, a member of Lawyers for Choice, commented on the significance of bodily autonomy as a result of the referendum:

“To me Repeal means granting women control over their own bodies and access to basic reproductive rights. It means putting the power in the hands of women, who for so long in Ireland, were disenfranchised, demonised and shamed. It allows us as a country to vindicate the human rights of all pregnant people and welcome home those countless women who we shunned across the sea”

Reflecting on the theme of the March, ARC spokesperson Cathie Shiels said:

“The March will see see thousands take to the street to celebrate our recent victories and to ensure that no one is left behind as we move forward with legislation and services. It will be a chance to honour those whose lives have been lost to the 8th Amendment and to make a promise that we will continue to fight until abortion is available across the Island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, and to those whose circumstances will fall outside the remit of the proposed legislation.

“This year’s March will be a chance to celebrate the successes of the pro-choice, pro-change movement in Ireland. However, it is also a time to acknowledge that on a practical level, nothing has changed since the 25th May. Every day, 10 people still travel for abortion care, while at least 3 more take pills at home that are safe but remain illegal under Irish law.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that we as a nation come together to call for stigma-free access to abortion for anyone who wants or needs one, regardless of their financial or legal status.”

ENDS

For more information contact:

Cathie Shiels: 0873398233
media@abortionrights.ie
facebook.com/freesafelegal
twitter.com/freesafelegal

Notes for Editors

The annual March for Choice, organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC), has taken place every September over the last seven years in Dublin. Each year has seen the march more than double in size, with 40,000 taking part in last year’s ‘Time to Act’ event. This will be the first march since the repeal of the 8th Amendment, and the theme ‘Free Safe Legal’, ARC’s long-time slogan,  emphasises the need for abortion care in Ireland post-repeal, available to all who need it. The March will start at 1:30pm Saturday 29 September at the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin 1. More details at www.abortionrightscampaign.ie

Speaker bios

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly has campaigned for many decades for the liberalisation of abortion in Ireland.  As a student leader in USI she was an integral part of the campaign for the right to access abortion information.  As a TD she was the first member of Parliament to table pro-choice legislation in 2011. She is a fervent campaigner for equality and social justice.

Dr Mary Favier is a general practitioner in Cork and cofounder of Doctors For Choice (https://doctorsforchoiceireland.com/).

Paola Rivetti is an Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations at Dublin City University. Originally from Italy, she is a member of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ). (https://www.facebook.com/MERJIreland/)

Gearóidín McEvoy is a PhD candidate in Dublin City University at the School of Law and Government. Gearóidín was one of the founding members of Laois For Choice (a regional ARC group in Laois) and has been part of the Lawyers For Choice steering committee since 2017 (https://lawyers4choice.ie/).

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Dáil Debates, Health, Human Rights, Justice, Women's Rights

Children and Youth Affairs, Dáil Issues, Human Rights

Children and Youth Affairs, Human Rights, Justice

SURVIVORS ANGRY AT LATEST ZAPPONE STUNT

SAMPLING HALF THE FILES AND IGNORING THE OTHER HALF IS SHAMEFUL

The latest press release and unilateral action taken by Minister Zappone once again utterly fails the adoption and survivor communities.

The so called ‘sampling’ of a handful of Tusla and Adoption Authority files is a shameful cop out and a full and through investigation needs to take place immediately. This is simply too little, too late for survivors. Sampling a handful of Tusla records willfully ignores the fact that many of the adoption records are still in the hands of private adoption agencies and societies who are being given the time and space to ‘audit’ their own files and ‘correct’ so called wrongful registrations; ‘wrongful’ meaning criminal in this instance. The Minister needs to prioritise the immediate confiscation of all adoption records held in private hands by old school agencies such as Cunamh and the Protestant agency, P.A.C.T., etc.

Once again, with Minister Zappone’s latest stunt, she has continued her policy of completely ignoring the survivor and adoption communities and taken a solo run behind our backs with only a few hours notice. Will Minister Zappone never learn?

CMABS notes there are two separate issues here. One was the religiously driven side of the adoption machine and the other was around 300 private nursing homes dotted around the state and driven not by religious ideology but by greed and avarice. Many of the private nursing homes were little more than ‘baby farms’ and centers of criminal baby trafficking: fake and forged documentation was a common method of hiding their crimes. CMABS notes that not only has the Minister refused to undertake a proper audit of the adoption societies and agencies themselves but, Minister Zappone has deliberately ignored the other half of this wide ranging scandal. Once again, the survivors of past crimes against pregnant single women and girls, and their innocent babies, have been ignored and thrown to the wolves by an uncaring Minister and Government.

CMABS once again reiterates it’s long held belief that all of these issues are interlinked and were part of a system. A full system-wide approach needs to be taken. Realistically, the only correct road forward is to expand the Terms of Reference of the current Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes and after it’s final Report on the matters currently under investigation is completed next February 2019, the Inquiry should continue and complete a through investigation into ALL of these issues. The Mother and Baby home Inquiry should be the last Inquiry into these issues and it should have a wide ranging Terms of Reference to fully complete it’s work. Anything less is an inhuman and cold blooded slap in the face to an elderly and dying survivor community…

CMABS notes that Minister Zappone has been in possession of the facts about Saint Patrick’s Guild for a number of months while she ‘decided’ whether or not to inform the victims of crime of their illegal adoptions. This is an absolute disgrace and a resigning matter. Minister Zappone has no right to play God with peoples’ lives or the truth. The health and well being of survivors, their medical histories, their inheritance rights and their constitutional right to their identity, is non negotiable and not a matter for cheap political decisions.