“No one left behind” is the Abortion Rights Campaign’s (ARC) message as the grassroots movement for choice and change prepares to march on International Safe Abortion Day, 28th September, from the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm.
This is the first March for Choice since Ireland enacted abortion legislation. More than a year after 66.4 percent of people voted Yes to allow for abortion care in Ireland, abortion remains out of reach for too many people. ARC fights on for truly free, safe, legal and local abortion access for everyone on the island of Ireland.
“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 for migrants who need to travel to the UK or the Netherlands to access care.”
“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 21st October, abortion 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. “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 28th 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.”
Notes to editor:
Speakers at today’s press conference and photocall were:
Danielle Roberts from Alliance for Choice Belfast
Mara Clarke from Abortion Support Network (ASN)
Bulelani Mfaco from Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI)
Steph Hanlon from Carlow Choice and Equality Network
Linda Kavanagh from Abortion Rights Campaign
The March for Choice takes place at 2pm on Saturday 28th September. Gathering at 1:45pm for photos and leaving at 2pm