This is the first March for Choice since Ireland enacted abortion legislation.
The first March for Choice since Ireland enacted abortion legislation in January is set to take place this Saturday 28 in Dublin's city centre.
The march will aim to bring attention to those who – despite State-approved abortion legislation – still suffer at the hand of Catholic-run agencies and the Health Service Executive.
The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) claims that access to safe, legal and local medical termination services in Ireland remains out of reach for many.
“We hear from people in dire straits,” says Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network, “people who have just missed the 12 week-cut off, including people who couldn’t get a scanning appointment in time, who were led astray by rogue agencies, or whose medication abortion failed.
"We hear from people heartbroken by a diagnosis of catastrophic foetal abnormality, turned away by the Irish medical system. And we move heaven and earth to cater to migrants who need to travel to the UK or the Netherlands to access care.”
The growing number of migrants and refugees in Ireland also feel the limits of the law, the ARC claims.
“When migrants and refugees arrive in Ireland, they may be too scared or disorientated to ask right away for an abortion,” says Bulelani Mfaco, spokesperson for the Migrants and Asylum Seekers Association of Ireland.
“Once they pass the time limit, even if they have been raped, they have no legal access in Ireland, and face the daunting challenge of getting permission to travel for essential medical care.”
For people in Northern Ireland, change is on the horizon. If Stormont does not resume before 21 October, the Victorian law that governed abortion services will be decriminalised.
“Within weeks we are hoping to see abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland thanks to decades of campaigning and lobbying. We are currently the only part of these islands without free, safe and legal abortion access but that is going to change very soon,” said Danielle Roberts of Alliance for Choice Belfast.
“For these reasons and more, we march on Saturday the 28th September,” says Linda Kavanagh of the ARC.
“We call on the Government to end the mandatory three-day waiting period, to increase provision in every county, to end the unethical practice of refusal of care by healthcare providers, to stop rogue agencies, and to enact safe access zones around medical facilities as matters of urgency.”
“On Saturday 28 September, we will take to the streets once again to demand better, because the system created by our legislators is not what we voted for. Join us to ensure that no one is left behind.”
The Dublin International Safe Abortion Day march is scheduled to go ahead on 28 September, from the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm.