March for Choice 2015

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Human Rights, Women's Rights

by Jamison Maeda, 12068572_1205963929419538_2926153841962050896_o

On Saturday, 26 September, thousands of spirited men and women again passionately took to the streets of Dublin for the fourth time with a clear message:  Repeal the 8th Amendment.

More than 170,000 women have travelled overseas to receive a medical procedure that they should have received safely at home in Ireland.

As we can clearly see, laws banning abortion have failed to eliminate abortion. Women still require and receive abortions today. This has not changed.

What these laws have instead done was send more than 30,000 women to the Magdalena Laundries. What they have instead done is take over 60,000 children from their mother to sell abroad.  And now we know that what they have also done was send hundreds of babies to mass graves in mother and baby homes in Tuam and elsewhere around the country.

Saturday’s protest was an audible and unified message to the government of Ireland that the time to revoke these abortion laws is not today – It was a long time ago. The time to revoke these laws was in 2012 when a woman trained in medicine advised her doctors that she required an abortion because her life was at risk but was told “This is a Catholic country.” It was in 1992 when a suicidal 14 year old victim of rape was denied an abortion. And it was when tens of thousands of unwed mothers were forced to work in the laundries.

Irish people are demanding a referendum where the people can vote on the repeal the 8th Amendment. The myth of a conservative Ireland has been dispelled, and it is clear that on this issue  the government is not representing the will of the people. The small minority of anti-choice, anti-women’s rights voters have continued to shrink in number as attitudes change. Anti-choice groups such as Youth Defence are only able to continue their campaigns because of American funding. More than 70% of Youth Defence’s Twitter followers are American accounts. Conservative, anti-choice Americans turn a blind eye to school shootings and the drone strikes of civilians in the Middle East. They are silent about the already born children in immigration detention facilities in their own country, yet send hundreds of thousands of dollars to support anti-choice groups in Ireland. This hypocrisy is not representative of pro-choice Americans and American women’s rights advocates, and it is certainly not representative of the vast majority of the people of Ireland.

Irish people have a long memory. The abuses of the past as well as the abusers are well known. Change is coming. A referendum is coming. But you must be sure to contact your TDs, your elected officials, and your political parties to demand that Ireland repeal the 8th Amendment.