As we do every year, we’ve been asking you to tell us why you are marching in this year’s March for Choice. Thanks to all who have sent us your thoughts. Here’s a moving account by an anonymous contributor. If you would like to tell us why you’re marching this year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time to acknowledge our autonomy and human rights
“Why am I marching for choice? Where do I start?
In August of last year I joined the ranks of the tens of thousands of women from Ireland who have travelled to access an abortion.
My anger at being forced to travel, to endure that trauma was strong. Strong is an understatement; I was brimming with an intense rage, directed towards the disaster that is our law in Ireland and the effect that it had had on me and on my family. I was also struggling with the isolation and the weight of the stigma I felt, as a person who was already a mother, and had had an abortion.
I didn’t realise how much of a weight that was until the day of the march last year. We packed the car with ourselves (partner, kids and I!) and posters that I had made. It was a miserable day, the rain just kept on coming. We parked and made our way to the Customs House, to join other people with children. We waited in the lashing rain, handing out snacks liberally to head off the onslaught of ‘I’m tired, I’m hungry’ etc from the kids. They will forever associate the March for Choice with an endless supply of treats!
As we waited, I was anxious, nervous, excited, and unsure all at once. We kept watching up the quays for a sign of the march. We heard it before we saw it – drums beating, megaphones leading the chants and people, thousands and thousands of people, all shouting for me and for my right to choose.
The ARC banner was at the front, stretching the width of the road, holding behind it a wave of sound, support, solidarity, empathy and righteous, righteous anger. It came towards me and the impact of seeing that many people, all gathered together, all marching towards me, felt like the biggest, most meaningful embrace I could ever have wished for. I don’t have the words to describe how incredibly overwhelming that moment was. I cannot find a way to do justice to the profound impact it had on me. The tears came and I wept with the emotion of it. To hear and see that many people coming towards you, in support of you and your rights, validating your choices and acknowledging the injustices that you have suffered is a wonderfully empowering and affirming thing. No stigma. No shame.
Over 3,000 more women have travelled for abortions since I made my own journey. I’m marching this year for every one of them, for my children, and for the many who have yet to travel as we wait for a referendum. It’s time to repeal the 8th. It’s time to acknowledge our autonomy and human rights. Join me?!”
Image: March for Choice 2016. Credit: Renee Summers