Dublin demands abortion rights in huge 'Repeal the 8th' march

September 26, 2016

Tens of thousands marched through Dublin on September 24 calling for abortion rights, Morning Star reported the next day. Marchers carried banners calling on the Irish government to “repeal the 8th,” the amendment to the Irish constitution which gives foetuses a “right to life” deemed equal with that of pregnant women, rendering almost all abortions illegal.

The Abortion Rights Campaign said it the march, named "Rise and Repeal", was about demanding “free, safe and legal” abortion rights in Ireland.Morning Star reported that spokeswoman Linda Kavanagh said: “100 years on from the Easter Rising [for Irish idependence from British rule], the equality promised in the 1916 proclamation hasn’t been realised.” Her colleague Janet O’Sullivan accused governments of “burying their heads in the sand, ignoring the urgent need and desire for change.”

Solidarity marches by pro-choice campaigners also took place across the world, including in Berlin, London and New York.

Health spokesperson for Irish republican party Sinn Fein, Louise O'Reilly said: “Tens of thousands of people have flooded Dublin in support of the Rise and Repeal campaign; a campaign of various parties, groups and organisations, including Sinn Féin, united in their call for the repeal of the 8th amendment. What is striking is that women and men of all ages have turned out -- from those who have been marching since the early 80s to those who have never had their chance to have a say on this important issue.

“There is no doubt that the 8th amendment was not fit for purpose when it was inserted into the constitution, and it is long past it sell by date today. It is unacceptable that despite instances of grave, deep personal suffering, tragedy and even fatality, that this flawed amendment remains.

"Even more saddening is the reluctance by the government to take decisive steps to give the people of this state a say on its future ... Failure to give people a say on the 8th amendment and to leave it there indefinitely is an abdiacation of responsibility for womens' health and blatant disregard for their welfare.

“It is very clear that action on the eighth amendment cannot wait any longer. There is a groundswell of support for its repeal and the actions of the public- from public murals, clothing lines and today's march- indicate that they want a say on this issue."

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