In this series of blogposts, pro-choice people recount their first or favourite Abortion Rights March in order to encourage those who may be thinking about coming to their first March on September 27th
I remember vividly the day I found out that abortions were illegal in Ireland. I was 11 years old, huddled in a hallway with some other girls around the same age, and we were whispering so the 9-year-old in the next room wouldn’t hear us. Something something, somebody’s big sister. Trip to England with friends. Dad didn’t, couldn’t know. As someone who had grown up in London with staunchly pro-choice parents, who gave me ‘the talk’ when I was probably 7, the experience was surreal. But the sense of secrecy and shame with which abortion – and, let’s face it, sex – was discussed soon became all too familiar.
Ten years later, and once again I found myself huddled down in whispered conversation with some female contemporaries – only this time it was different. We were in my kitchen, whispering because it was 4am and the rest of the house had gone to bed. It was nobody’s sister (nobody in Ireland anyway) – it was a woman in the news and it was anyone else too, it was us, it was only a matter of time. We weren’t ashamed, and we weren’t going anywhere – we were angry, and we were going to do something about it. Here.
A few weeks later myself and a friend walked into a national meeting and offered our skills in graphic design to a fledgling campaign. We weren’t sure we’d be wanted since we were still in college, but here’s a little secret about activism – everyone’s welcome. A few of the people there had heard of our correspondence campaign ‘X-Case Xmas Cards’ which urged TDs to legislate for X within the year with sarcastic seasonal slogans. Some hadn’t. It didn’t matter much to me – it was just so powerful to be in a room full of people who GOT IT. Who knew what I had known since that hallway when I was 11, and had known it for longer, since 1992, since 1983 and before – that the way things are is not okay, and nothing will get better if we keep quiet.
Since that day I’ve attended countless meetings and marches, and I don’t get tired of trying. Because I’m not alone. And together, we can makes lots of noise.
Join the March for Choice, starting at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin 27 September 2014